‘Glee’ makes show choir cool

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By Stephanie Holland / Editor in Chief

The underdogs (Fox Television Network)

By Stephanie Holland / Editor in Chief

Having a bad day? Has the world gotcha down? Well the instant cure to any ailment is “Glee the Music, Vol. 1.” The soundtrack to the hit FOX show “Glee” features all the songs the fans have made iTunes hits in one convenient package.

With songs ranging from Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” to “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked,” the album has surprises for both the superfans known as “Gleeks” and for non-fans who will love glee club versions of their favorite songs.

The album opens with the show’s signature update of the Journey classic “Don’t Stop Believin’.” In recent years the song has become a karaoke staple and a road trip favorite, so putting a new spin on it wasn’t easy, however, lead singers Cory Monteith and Lea Michele remind listeners of the innocence in the lyrics with their fresh take.

The first of many fun, dance tracks is perhaps the catchiest version ever of “Gold Digger.” Show star Matthew Morrison doesn’t have Kanye’s edge, but he still manages to add a funkiness that wasn’t on the original. The backing harmonies highlight the previously unnoticed melodic portions of the song.

The album’s best gift may be that these new different versions are able to draw attention to parts of a song the listener probably overlooked the first thousand times.

Because this is a show about a high school glee club, there are a few classic Broadway showtunes. Guest star Kristin Chenowith offers the full range of her talent on “Maybe This Time” and the album’s last track “Defying Gravity” is slowed down from the original allowing listeners to appreciate the lyrics.

Though most songs feature performances by the whole cast, there are a few standouts. Amber Riley, who plays Mercedes, can hold her own with any current R&B diva on blazing versions of “Hate on Me” and “Bust Your Windows,” while Michele does her best Celine Dion on “Taking Chances” and “No Air.”

Broadway veteran Morrison is at his best on the Heart classic “Alone” where he duets with Chenowith. He also manages to make “Bust a Move” sound like an Act 1 show-stopper.

Despite all the fantastic solos, the album is at its best on the full cast anthems like Queen’s “Somebody to Love.” It is here that listeners are really treated to the astounding talent of the cast. It takes a special amount of talent to tackle the perfection of Freddie Mercury, but the “Glee” cast comes very close.

This group is so talented they are able to lift Avril Lavinge’s “Keep Holding On” from sugary pop ballad to orchestral and inspirational anthem.

From backing harmonies to solo standouts, every song is perfectly arranged to give the listener a new experience with songs they have heard dozens of times.

For fans of the show the soundtrack is everything they’ve been waiting for, and for non-fans they will appreciate hearing fantastic new takes on their favorite songs.

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