Glee Christmas Album
“Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album” is the first “Glee” album that doesn’t need the television show to make it enjoyable. Oftentimes “Glee”’s songs sound great in the context of the episodes, but once you listen to the tracks without the visual aspect they’re just glorified karaoke sung by your favorite characters. This isn’t the case with “The Christmas Album.”
What makes “The Christmas Album” stand on its own is that “Glee” tried to put their own twist on Christmas classics. It’s exactly what “Glee” needs — their other themed albums, like “The Rocky Horror Glee Show,” regurgitate what the original artists did rather than re-imagine songs and make them their own. As a Christmas album, however, it’s just alright.
“Deck the Rooftop,” a mash-up of “Deck the Halls” and “Up on the Rooftop,” is easily the best song on the album. Sung by Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Naya Rivera, Kevin McHale, Heather Morris and Jenna Ushkowitz, “Deck the Rooftop” starts off with an energetic beat that sounds like the singers had one candy cane too many, but turns into a genius pop version that mimics the arrangement of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.”
“Glee” tried to push boundaries with “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Instead of the obvious choice of glee club’s golden couple, Finn (Monteith) and Rachel (Michele), Kurt (Chris Colfer) and his new love interest, Blaine (Darren Criss), tackle Frank Loesser’s warm tune. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” had potential — Colfer’s dramatic show tunes and Criss’ rendition of “Teenage Dream” prove they can sing — but it falls flat. The two are going through the motions rather than actually performing.
Other surprises include “The Most Wonderful Day of the Year,” K.D. Lang performing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” while Matthew Morrison reads from the classic Dr. Seuss story, and a big band version of “Jingle Bells.” “Last Christmas” is oddly reminiscent of “Don’t Stop Believin’” at the beginning.
The other tracks stick to traditional arrangements. “O Holy Night” and “Merry Christmas Darling” highlight Michele’s talent, but become exhausting to listen to. “O Christmas Tree” is an unoriginal rendition, but the mental image of Mr. Schue (Morrison) serenading a tree (or better yet, Ms. Pillsbury) in a reindeer sweater makes it worth enduring.
Although “The Christmas Album” isn’t the greatest Christmas album, you have to give the “Glee” kids an “A” for effort. Plus, just think of how adorable they’re going to look bopping around McKinley High to the festive tunes in the Christmas episode.