Don't click away just looking at the title! PLEASE! This cast is actually incredible, and they have put a spin on so many hits in ways that I adore. Seriously, the arrangers are wonderful. The show has its hits and misses, but I love their treatment of the music, and the music really just makes me happy and want to sing more than usual. The mashups... oh goodness!!!
For those of you living under a rock, the show this cast is from is in its third season, and the character list keeps growing, giving us an even wider variety of personalities, story lines, and most importantly voices to the music. I was a little let down by the first few episodes from this season, but from #4 on, they have been absolutely wonderful. The show deals with issues that some people are still afraid to talk about out loud, and in some really tasteful ways.
And oi, the music.
This was their second Christmas episode, and it was adorable. Cheesy as all get out, but so cute. I enjoyed that there was a lot of focus on music performance because they just wanted to get people in the spirit, but they still managed to get a great, sweet message of goodwill to the world in there.
Let's take a look at the track-by-track while we work on decorating the tree and I make some cocoa.
Good news: We actually have two trees here, so, though lacking for decorations, I will actually be kind of working on decorating and Christmas cards while writing. Bad news: no cocoa. -_-
Amber Riley/Mercedes gets us kicked off with "All I Want For Christmas Is You," originally performed by Mariah Carey. I absolutely love the treatment of this song. She takes it a little lower toned than Mariah, making it more comfortable for those with sensitive eardrums. This is also how the episode opened up, with the club singing and decorating the classroom even nicer than I think I've ever seen one fo my houses. Plus she flirts with Sam a little (sorry non-Gleeks, but thanks to y'all reading that understand) that makes this extra adorable.
Darren Criss/Blaine gets the next song going, which you know makes me smile immediately. Lea Michele/Rachel is in there as the primary female voice as well. This song is by no means going to be a classic anytime soon, if ever, but it's a good Glee song. It's upbeat and fun, and I really like it as a pop song with a purpose (of being a Christmas tune). Although, the line "gonna party until Santa grants my wishes" throws me off a little, as I consider partying a good thing. Oh well, it's still a fun track.
Unfortunately, "Santa Baby" is one of my least favorite Christmas tunes ever, mostly to the slight creepiness of it. Naya/Santana does a nice job, and it's really wonderfully suited for her voice. I just... don't enjoy the song itself. Never really have, other than for a laugh. It wasn't in the episode though, whew.
"Christmas Eve With You" is next with Jalma/Emma Pillsbury and Matthew Morrison/Will Shuester, and it's another cute one, and another Glee original. It's always fun to me to hear Emma sing a little, because she's the one character on the show I'm really okay with not hearing sing, but it's cute when she does. They didn't air this one either I believe, unless I missed something. It's got a very bop-your-head-to-and-fro feel to it though. Again, not a classic, but it's nice to hear happiness.
Kevin McHale/Artie comes up next to sing another that wasn't on the show itself, "Little Drummer Boy." Can't lie, this was also never one of my favorite Christmas songs. I like the gentle feel to this one though. I've heard this incredibly overdone with way too much instrumentation, but this one maintains power without being over-powerful. Yeah, how's that for a statement?
"River" is next, with Lea Michele/Rachel taking lead. I honestly had never heard this song before I listened to this soundtrack! Apparently it's been around for a long time. Either way, I love it. It captures everything I'm feeling right now musically somehow (having a little trouble with the Christmas cheer thing tonight, hence this blog), with lyrics that are gentle and hopeful. It doesn't strike me as a holiday song at all, but I love it as a winter song. It encompasses everything. And Lea isn't driving me nuts with her over-belting. I actually can feel what she's singing for a change. Ahhh.
"Do You Hear What I Hear?" sounds like it features new voices, and it's beautiful. This is a wonderful old school song that allows this cast to display how magnificently it can handle majestic and choral numbers. This is a song that has always been about hope in the season for me every single time I've heard it, and these guys and girls really do it all the justice it deserves. Bravo.
We step it back up with the "Glee Christmas Special" (show within a show) number, "Let It Snow," with Darren Chris/Blain and Chris Colfer/Kurt taking on the song. Now look, I love these two, and this song doesn't both me. However, the cheesy nature of that special had me rolling my eyes more than a few times. This number definitely set the tone for that.
Anyone notice "My Favorite Things" is NOT on this album, but it was performed in the show? Dang it... that means I have to find it in iTunes to purchase separately.
Oh man... please tell me... YES! Cory Monteith/Finn and Mark Salling/Puck are giving "Santa Clause Is Coming To Town" the Bruce Springsteen treatment! Hush, I'm a Jersey girl. :) Seriously though, this is fun, fresh, and awesome. They did a great job at making a song that can get a little annoying from time to time into something I could probably listen to a few more times.
"Christmas Wrapping" has also never been a big one for me in the season, but I don't hate it. They had the cheerleaders take this number, with Heather Morris/Brittany S. Pears taking lead. It was fun, and that's about all I have on this one.
Okay, cue the waterworks. "Blue Christmas" is hitting me hard this year because of some stuff... And that adorable little crooning leprechaun Rory isn't helping the tears dry much quicker. He's got such a wonderful voice that breaks your heart every time in the best way possible a voice can. This is gorgeous, not countrified like I usually hear it as, and just.. *sigh*
We wrap up the album, as well as the episode, with "Do They Know It's Christmas," and the whole cast is in on this one. A little thing here - they sang it to the homeless and it's about realizing the sadness in the world when we have so much. Just needed to point out that little rough flaw in logic there. However, the song, and the passion in the voices that you don't always hear in the regular versions (probably because we've become immune to the same voices again and again each year) did actually move me to do something more. I wanted to go make a positive world impact.
Let's see here... what would I listen to again...
- "All I Want For Christmas Is You" - http://open.spotify.com/track/0sjqNUo0kCODcRZ0BIGUti
- "Extraordinary Merry Christmas" - http://open.spotify.com/track/0e0lzf4PcSBAA96xSC6Yzi
- "River" - http://open.spotify.com/track/4nYyiky0yi8swKJdle6GcC
- "Do You Hear What I Hear" - http://open.spotify.com/track/3lRLQLkWtd0gaqwE6CktjE
- "Blue Christmas" - http://open.spotify.com/track/5ZJ0rtmWHNhTNkwQHXWE1E
- "Do They Know It's Christmas?" - http://open.spotify.com/track/2wolVp6ZmJjHGwUaFm99Hz
Sad thing though, they don't come back until January 17th!! Boo hiss. But it'll be worth the wait I'm sure.
"Glee" definitely helped tonight in regaining some of my holiday spirit. I actually may go back and watch the episode again for kicks. Really, a well done show. Oh, btw, Matthew Morrison (Mr. Shuester) directed this one!!!! How awesome is that???
Go on. Comment. Leave a holiday greeting. Tell me there's a better album for me to review out there. You know you want to say something. =)