Dec 142011
 

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.

In “Extraordinary Merry Christmas,” Artie (Kevin McHale) is offered the chance to direct McKinley’s glee club in a televised Christmas special. Little do the other club members know he takes his Christmas inspiration from some bizarre sources.

“Extraordinary Merry Christmas” is not the first Christmas special to air on television this year. It’s not even the first Glee Christmas special to air, thanks to the irreverent, genius and criminally unpopular NBC sitcom Community, which last Thursday dedicated its entire Christmas episode (entitled “Regional Holiday Music”) to spoofing the Fox musical juggernaut. The staff behind Community probably couldn’t have predicted that they’d get payback for spending a half hour in Glee‘s shoes; this week, Glee decided to live in Community‘s world with an episode you’d expect to see on that show or, really, anywhere but Glee. The Christmas special Artie ends up producing is a (directly referred-to) mash-up of the much-maligned 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special, Judy Garland’s classic 1963 Christmas special, and at the end some Charlie Brown Christmas for good measure. The result basically ends up a cover of a TV show. Though Glee certainly likes to allude to existing pop culture, even going so far as to recreate certain music videos shot-for-shot, it has never lived in another universe for two acts before. That’s Community territory, but Glee pulls it off marvelously. Continue reading »

Dec 012010
 

In Defense takes a second look at a much maligned cover artist or album and asks, “was it really as bad as all that?”

In the world of rock & roll, few two-word phrases signal a stagnant career quite like “Christmas album.” Everyone from Twisted Sister to Bob Dylan has claimed a piece of the holiday record pie (check out our massive list of this year’s releases), much to the chagrin of music lovers everywhere. Critics almost universally loathe these seasonal releases; Jim DeRogatis decried Dylan’s Christmas in the Heart as “holiday torture,” while allmusic.com’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine harshly dubbed Sting’s recent festive effort If On a Winter’s Night… “a holiday album for people who have never wanted to hear a holiday album, let alone own one.” But have these musicians really sinned so badly? Continue reading »