Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Glee Songs (So far...)

I am not the biggest Glee fan in the world but I do enjoy the show for the characters and the music. Glee is about as close to Bollywood as I feel that America will ever be comfortable with.

With Season 2 off to a good start, I thought I would run down my top 10 favorite
Glee songs so far - these are the ones that keep cycling up on my iPod. I chose them for a variety of reasons - plot, choreography, musical talents on display... but I hope you enjoy them, too!

#10 "Don't Stop Believing" (originally by Journey)

Why I chose it: This is the song that started it all. True story - last winter, I went out for drinks with a couple of friends of mine to a local sports bar. It was late on a blustery cold Saturday evening and we were all moping into our beers when this Journey song came on the radio. The entire bar spontaneously burst into song, singing along with the entire song. It was one of the most magical experiences of my life.

The reason I put it at number 10 is that while I love the arrangement and the energy, this Rachel and Finn duet sets a bad precedent for the show and is the reason we have to sit through many (many) other mediocre renditions of 70s rock songs.

"Don't Stop Believing" is still excellent, however.

#9 "Toxic" (originally by Britney Spears)

Why I chose it: While neither the song nor the video is an all-time great, there is something really catchy about both the vocal arrangement of the song and the picutrization. I love the black-and-white costumes and the sparse stage set. And I love the addition of Matthew Morris to the ensemble. He makes the whole thing just sleazy enough to give the arrangement a bit of a bite.

The spotlight was on Heather Morris for this episode and while I love her dancing, I think she is better served as part of the ensemble.

#8 "Last Name" (originally by Carrie Underwood)

Why I chose it: This is the only special guest appearance on my list but I thought that Kristen Chenowith deserved some recognition. Her character is a boozy, washed-up former Glee club member and Kristen played her with aplomb! The episode has some great one liners but the highlight is this ridiculous cowgirl number where Kristen works the stage like nobody's business and sells the
heck out of what is (admittedly) a very silly song.

Plus, the boys all get some great interactions with her. Kristen brings out the sparkle in everybody.

#7 "I Wanna Sex You Up" (originally by Color Me Badd)

Why I chose it: First of all, this was the episode that Puck (played by Mark Salling) really came into his own and this song is the source of many an excellent animated gif... the arrangement hilariously earnest while the choreography adds a nice level of sleaze. There isn't much else to say except... "I wanna sex you up!"

#6 "Hate on Me" (originally by Jill Scott)

Why I chose it: This song was supposed to be the answer to all the horrendously white and boring Rachel and Finn duets we'd be subjected to throughout season one and it totally works. The choreography is free and easy with some popping and locking from Mike Chang (Harry Shum Jr.) and those delicious scissor kicks from standout Chris Colfer. Of course the real star of this song are those pipes on Amber Riley aka Mercedes. The girl can SING! While she is a competent enough actress on the show, her real talent is emoting through song and she knocks it out of the park here.

#5 "It's My Life/Confessions" (mashup of songs from Bon Jovi and Usher, respectively)

Why I chose it: This is the song that got Harry Shum Jr. aka Mike Chang first notice - how does he do that thing?! You'll know what I'm talking about when you watch it. Besides that, the arrangement is flawless, the choreography is hilarious, and the editing is really good too. Basically, this song is near perfect.

#4 "4 Mintues" (originally by Justin Timberlake and Madonna)

Why I chose it: This is what
Glee is supposed to be - big production values, campy high school setting, theatrical versions of contemporary pop songs, and most importantly: ENERGY! This still cycles through my iPod and I still repeat it a couple of times every time it comes up.


#3 "Defying Gravity" (originally from

Why I chose it: I'll be honest - I hate contemporary show tunes. I mean, I really hate them. Not only do they tend to be fairly tuneless but the people that sing them tend to have more technical ability than soul. What this picturization shows is the dichotomy between that soulless modern Broadway voice (Rachel Berry aka Lea Michelle) and what those songs could be... thanks to the beautiful counter tenor from Chris Colfer. I adore his voice and you can hear the difference between her brash and trite version compared to Chris's very soulful rendition of the song.

You can also see the differences in their facial expressions - Chris emotes while Lea grimaces. The difference in quality is pretty clear. Plus, the switch from chest to head voice in the male version hits that sweet Beach Boys spot that gave Brian Wilson his career.

That final flubbed note is not present in the version you can buy from iTunes and I highly recommend downloading it. It still gives me chills.

#2 "Safety Dance" (originally by Men at Work)

Why I chose it: This one stands out for two reason - the director Joss Whedon and former boy bander Kevin McHale. It kind of says something about
Glee that they stuck one of their best dancers in a wheel chair but in this dream sequence song song Kevin breaks free and gets to dancing. He moves well and while the arrangement isn't spectacular, the energy from the direction along with Kevin's dancing feet keep me watching. I love this one.

#1 "Kurts Turn" (originally "Rose's Turn" from

Why I chose it: Oh, the episode leading up to this contributes to some of the pathos but needless to say, Chris Colfer is the most talented performer on
Glee and he nails this one. "Everything's coming up Hummel" has become something of a catchphrase around my house.

Everything about this works from the transition from "real time" song to dream sequence to back to real time to the stage setting to Chris's magnetic performance.

He has one of my favorite voices. I would seriously buy a CD of this kid reading the phone book but I fear that contemporary American culture has little idea of what to do with a counter tenor.


Anishok said...

I love some of your choices, but I would add Kurt's "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" from this episode - such an unexpected choice, but he sang and emoted the hell out of it. And while Sue's "Vogue" was more of a rap number (lol), I think it should be mentioned too :)

Shell said...

I agree with Ani. "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" was so beautiful and heartfelt I had to get a kleenex after.

I might also add Bad Romance just for the funky outfits and Kurt saying "I'm a free bitch baby"!

As for Don't Stop Believing, the show has made that song more popular then it ever was I think. Even at a club in Vegas, in the midst of all the urban house rap, Don't Stop came on and the dance floor roared. I doubt it would have had the same effect pre-Glee. Pop culture is so fascinating!

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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