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Glee Sings the Beatles Import
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GLEE Glee Sings The Beatles (2013 UK 14-track CD album featuring classic hits from The Beatles performed by the cast of Glee includes Yesterday Help Hard Days Night I Saw Her Standing There All You Need Is Love and Let It Be picture sleeve)
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I can't imagine what was going through the hearts and minds of the cast as they were taking on some of the more emotional heft of some of the songs here, so close to the passing of Cory Montieth/Finn. But when Lea Michelle opens up on "Yesterday," you can hear the emotion pouring out. Easily the best performance of the album, even if any other circumstances surrounded it. For the most part, the arrangements are kept close to the originals, with the exception of "Got To Get You Into My Life," where 'Klaine' mix it up with a marching band. On the TV episode, they even went as far as making a mock-up of the Ed Sullivan set for "When I Saw Her Standing There."
The CD does do a split between early and later Beatles, saving the music from the older period for the second episode. "Get Back" is stripped to just a piano version, and frankly, it's almost impossible to screw up "Let It Be," "Hey Jude" or "Here Comes The Sun" while you're staying faithful to the arrangements. With "Something" being one of my top ten personal favorite Beatles songs, I'd take it as blasphemy to try and mess with the original. In fact, the only stumble on this disc is performing "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and then NOT following through with "A Little Help From My Friends."
When Glee started, this was the kind of music I was expecting from the show. The first two seasons did a lot to mix in classic pop, modern songs and show tunes in equal measure, to the point where I thought the "Presents The Warblers" was one of the best of the batch. For "Glee Presents The Beatles," the do a service to some of these records that are inching towards their 50th Birthday, and that is bringing them to a whole new group of listeners. And that's something I'm all for happening.
The album is split between earlier era Beatles and later era Beatles. Episode one features the first half of those songs and Episode two features the last half.
The album kicks off with Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) singing a heartbreaking version of "Yesterday"..."Why he had to go, I don't know. He wouldn't say. I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday". Rachel's love Finn doesn't pass away until Episode three of this season but the fans know what happened in real life and you can't help but read the emotion and know Lea knew when she sung this song that Finn (Cory) was gone. The words are extra poignant.
"Drive My Car" by Kitty and Artie. Wow, how can you not enjoy this upbeat number? I love Kitty and she has a pleasant voice but Artie's voice is stronger and that stands out on this song especially. This is a very catchy song and it has been stuck in my head for DAYS. Beep, beep, beep, beep yea!
"Got to Get You Into My Life- I am a Klaine fan. I can't help it and I can't apologize for it. Darren Criss and Chris Colfer's voices are dramatically different but sound so well together. This song shows both voices off in the best possible way. Both singers are obviously thrilled to be performing the song and it shows. The marching bands work well with the song as well which I had really worried about when I heard they were doing a version of this song. This song works perfectly for their get back together theme.
"You've Got to Hide Your Love Away"- Another duet featuring Artie and Kitty (Kevin McHale and Becca Tobin) This one isn't as strong as "Drive My Car" but Becca's voice seems to shine stronger here. The song fits so perfectly with the plot line in the first episode that it makes me wonder if the plot was written around this song...instead of the other way around.
"Help!"- Darren Criss leads off on one of the Beatle's most iconic songs. Many others back up on this song including Sam (Chord Overstreet). The song is so much fun! Its pretty faithful to the original and is among my favorite on the album.
"Hard Days Night"- For the record I adore Lea Michele and Naya Rivera. Both are gorgeous women with gorgeous voices. Sadly, this is my least favorite song on the album. In theory it should have worked. But I don't think this song worked as sung by two women, even two awesome women. I can't put my finger on it other than that.
"I Saw Her Standing There"- Find the video for this song, even if you haven't seen the episode. This song is a joy from start to finish. The song is sung by Blaine (as Paul), Sam (as George), Jake (Jacob Artist, as the 'black' John Lennon) and Ryder (Blake Jenner as Ringo). In the video, the four recreate the fab four from their famous Ed Sullivan show appearance. The girls watch from the floor, screaming and fangirling, overcome with Beatlemania. Darren Criss, a huge Beatles fan, learned to play the bass left handed and has Paul's movements down perfectly. Jake has a great voice and we don't hear enough of it on Glee thus far. He did an amazing job on this song. Blaine and Jake are the standouts on this track which again stayed very true to the original.
"All You Need Is Love"- Also known as the Klaine proposal song. I love it in theory. The idea behind it is that Blaine sings lead but has asked four choirs to back him up. It is too overwhelming and his voice is drowned out by the background singers. And even the background singers don't get to shine because it just becomes too much. It is more palatable during the episode when we have the amazing visuals to balance it out but as an audio recording it doesn't work so well.
"Get Back" is a simply performed version by Kurt and Rachel. While the duo does a good job performing the song its not a standout.
"Here Comes the Sun"- Santana and Demi Lovato in their first duet together. This song is incredible. Unlike "Hard Day's Night", this song seems a natural choice for female singers. The voices compliment each other and the beauty of the lyrics and music are allowed to shine. This is another one of my favorite songs from this album.
"Something" performed as a solo by Sam (Chord Overstreet) is another highlight. Here is another character with a strong set of pipes who doesn't get nearly enough opportunity to show off. The song evokes all of the same passion and emotion as the original.
"Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is my least favorite of the second half of the album. I think there is a lack of energy and passion to it. It feels like just another Beatles cover. And Unique's (Alex Newell) just completely takes away from anything the song DID have going for it. I like Alex a lot but not this part of this song. It didn't work.
"Hey Jude" is the BEST song of the album. Every note is perfect, seriously. It gives me chills. This song has always been a personal favorite of mine and if they messed it up I would not have been a happy person. But it surpasses all of the other songs on this album and may be one of my top five Glee songs ever. I had this one on repeat for several days. The last part of the song especially stands out with Darren Criss going all out in a fitting tribute to the fab four. If you buy only one song, this is the one to get.
"Let It Be"- This song is so perfect anyway I don't think there could possibly be a bad version of it. I even remember adoring Sesame Street's parody "Letter B" as a child and thinking that was gorgeous. This one features Artie, Chris, Lea, Santana, and maybe Kitty. The voices merge beautifully and the far too brief solo by Chris Colfer is a standout. He was made to sing this song.
In order by favorite:
1) Hey Jude
2) Here Comes the Sun
3) I Saw Her Standing There
6) Got to Get You Into My Life
7) Let It Be
8) Drive My Car
10) All You Need Is Love
11) You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
12) Get Back
13) Sargent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
14) Hard Day's Night