Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album [Soundtrack]

Glee: The Music, The Christmas AlbumBiography

GLEE, which features a soundtrack of hit music from past to present, follows an optimistic high school teacher, WILL SCHUESTER (Matthew Morrison), as he tries to refuel his own passion while reinventing the high school's glee club and challenge a group of outcasts to realize their star potential. It’s not an easy task when the pitch-imperfect club includes MERCEDES (Amber Riley)

Review From Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album (Audio CD)

It's probably better to fully review this CD after seeing some of these songs in their visual context in the Christmas episode, because very often, that is what actually makes you appreciate Glee renditions of songs more. But since it is a Christmas album, you should be able to listen to it for the appreciation of the holiday.

Which is why it's easy to see how this album doesn't really serve as an outstanding Christmas listening experience, for many of the renditions here are rather generic. There are very few glee-tastic arrangements, but the CD does combine a notable mix of classics and more contemporary Christmas hits. This is my take on these tracks:

1. We Need A Little Christmas: Tina, Mercedes and Kurt take the lead on this contemporary classic. A nice upbeat start--definitely sounds like the standard showtune rendition of this song.

2. Deck the Rooftop: This is a mashup of Deck the Halls and Up on the Rooftop. One of the best tracks on here. A very pop/upbeat version that is modeled to replicate the arrangement of the Beyonce track "Single Ladies". The whole cast sings this one, with solos throughout.

3. Merry Christmas Darling: What can I say? There are very few songs out there that simply can't be touched by anyone other than the original artist, and this is one of them. It just isn't the same song without Karen Carpenter's voice. Naturally, Lea Michele is a phenomenal singer and (smartly) plays it safe, sticking to the subtle, gentle delivery, but--I'll say it again. It's just not Karen Carpenter. The tone of Karen's voice did all the emoting for her no matter what she sang.

4. Baby It's Cold Outside: gaying it up a bit, this song is a duet between Kurt and his new love interest Blaine. Ironically, it's a real...um...limp rendition of this playful song. They simply sing it straight, lacking all the flirtation that makes this such a romantic little number. Check out the duet versions between either Barry Manilow and KT Oslin (my favorite) or the more recent version by Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton to see how it should be done.

5. The Most Wonderful Day of the Year: Fun fun fun--this is a simple homage to the original Misfit Toys from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. If this isn't presented on the show as a stop motion version of the Glee cast then they will have missed a huge opportunity.

6. Last Christmas: A pretty straightforward take on the Wham hit from the 80s, with Rachel and Finn taking the lead.

7. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: This one's for the girls. A nice, mellow version of this traditional carol, sung by Rachel, Mercedes, Santana, and Tina.

8. O Christmas Tree: Mr. Schu gets a solo cut. A pretty standard take on this one, with a bit of unique approaches on the second half, including a bit of choral background.

9. Jingle Bells: This one's for the boys. Finn, Puck and Artie share lead on this swinging big band version.

10. You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch: Is k.d. Lang going to guest star on the Christmas episode? Mr. Schu narrates this one with words directly from the Dr. Seuss classic, with k.d. Lang handling the vocals of the song. Finally, at the end, the two duet on the remainder of the song. Personally, I feel k.d.'s amazing vocals are wasted on this song.

11. Angels We Have Heard On High: Merecedes takes lead on this one and is surprisingly reserved in her delivery--at first. The belting comes later in the song. The arrangement is kind of Contemporary/Christian/Gospel/Jazzy (reminds me of something you'd hear on the Mariah Carey Christmas album). Best part is the second half with Amber Riley ad libbing and the chorus taking liberties with the original melody.

12. O Holy Night: 5 whopping minutes of Rachel taking on this larger than life Christmas classic. This is a pretty traditional arrangement, with the chorus coming in strong at the end. It's really nothing you haven't heard before. Lea Michele handles it nicely though.

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