Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.
After its post-Super Bowl spectacular, Glee resumed its regular Tuesday-night schedule with this week’s “Silly Love Songs.” As you might expect, that’s a Valentine’s Day-themed episode in which Coach Schuester directs the members of his glee club to partner up and sing their favorite love songs to each other. Strange teaching methods aside, what results is, like “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle,” another solid set of covers that spans a number of popular genres.
All told, “Silly Love Songs” gives us a couple (very different) classic rock cuts, another hit from the King of Pop, a modern chart-topper and some newer R&B. As with Sunday night’s episode, I thought every one of these performances was fun and some were downright good. It helps that both episodes have been fairly light in tone, which makes the music selections seem less melodramatic and thus less forced. I’d love to see Glee continue their momentum of levity and great music selection, though I know next week’s episode contains at least one Justin Bieber song. You know what they say about all good things, right?
Note for those paying attention: This episode also featured a very brief cover of “My Funny Valentine” from the musical Babes in Arms. That scene was mostly played as a (kind of cruel) joke, and the song won’t be released on iTunes or on any soundtrack album. Also, no one seems to have uploaded it to the Internet yet. But don’t worry, you’re not missing anything.
Fat Bottomed Girls (Queen cover)
The music of Queen, with its harmonic intricacies and endless bombast, is uniquely suited to a show like Glee. Last season gave us covers of “Somebody to Love” (terrific) and “Bohemian Rhapsody” (cool but hard to like, since it was delivered by a rival glee club!). That most theatrical of rock bands makes its return to the show with “Fat Bottomed Girls,” their 1978 single off Jazz. Puck (Mark Salling) finds some usually-absent grit in his voice to rock this tune, and Glee gets bonus points for performing the album cut of this song, not the more-popular single edit. And if you’re wondering, the show does indeed address the inappropriateness of using this song as a love ballad.
BONUS COVER: Antigone Rising
P.Y.T (Michael Jackson cover)
Two episodes, two Michael Jackson Thriller covers? Even better, two songs that feature Artie (Kevin McHale) on lead vocals? Although “P.Y.T.” doesn’t exactly hold the same iconic status as “Thriller,” McHale turns in another solid performance here.
BONUS COVER: T-Pain and Robin Thicke
When I Get You Alone (Robin Thicke cover)
Speaking of Robin Thicke, he gets his first Glee-ification at the hands of rival glee club the Warblers, featuring Blaine (Darren Criss), who bring their signature a cappella style to this 2002 R&B tune. It’s kind of corny, sure, but I dig that this scene takes place in a Gap clothing store. I bet it was a lot of fun to film.
Firework (Katy Perry cover)
“Firework” is certainly one of the more ubiquitous songs of 2011, and I’m sure Glee‘s rendition will only add to its omnipresence. If anyone out there simply can’t stand Katy Perry, though (guilty as charged), they may be all too happy to embrace Lea Michele’s version. Like castmate Salling on “Fat Bottomed Girls,” Michele gets a little gritty in delivering the lines of this pop megahit; it’s nice to hear her get so into a song.
BONUS COVER: John Parr (the “St. Elmo’s Fire” guy)
Silly Love Songs (Wings cover)
This episode’s “title track,” and one of Wings’ biggest hits, goes to the Dalton Academy Warblers, giving them two a cappella tracks in one episode. I know this will sound sacrilegious, but as noted as Glee‘s musical production issues are, I feel that Wings didn’t fare much better in the ’70s. Post-Beatles, Paul McCartney seemed obsessed with obtrusive instrumentation; you can’t get away from the strings and horns on the original recording of this song. Add that to the fact that the Warblers’ arrangements come from a seriously talented group of guys, the Tufts University Beelzebubs, and I think this Glee cut holds its own with the original.
BONUS COVER: Shirley Bassey
Tune in next Wednesday for another set of all-new Glee covers.