You’re no one in TV these days, it seems, without your own soundtrack — and a little boldfaced bait, whether it be a folk-rock icon or the umpteenth revival of a deathless ’80s power ballad. NCIS: The Official TV Soundtrack, Vol. 2 begins, wisely, with its big get: Bob Dylan’s previously unreleased ”California,” a wry vagabond lament dating from his 1965 Bringing It All Back Home sessions.
Like the High School Musical franchise, Glee became more than a TV show when several of its songs cracked the Hot 100, including the number four hit "Don't Stop Believing. " That song kicks off this soundtrack, the first in a series of albums cataloging the music performed by the show's cast. Not all Glee members are created equal -- Cory Monteith (the show's hunky football captain) and Dianna Agron (the alternately caustic and vulnerable head cheerleader) can't sing nearly as well as their co-stars -- but this soundtrack has enough star power to keep things trucking along, especially when powerhouse alto Lea Michele takes the wheel.
The list of awards and nominations handed out to US comedy-drama series Glee in recent months makes for startling reading: it's won just about every gong going except employee of the month at the Hickstead services branch of Burger King. Its greatest impact, however, may be on the charts. Weeks after it began in the US, Reuters was claiming it might single-handedly save the music industry, and you could see why: in 2009, its cast had 25 hit singles in America, the most anyone has achieved in a year since the Beatles.
The soundtrack to Glee—and the cast members themselves, so it appears—are all about one thing: volume. These kids aren’t here to milk emotion or find a new nuance within classics and contemporary pop songs; they are here to sing the living shit out of them. Not that this should come as any surprise. Hell, the title of the album gives away the melismatic vocal style and bombastic production that hams up the song cycle.
Much like that proverbial pot of yeast extract sitting around in the kitchen cupboard, you’ll either love or hate E4’s latest US import Glee. Sure, it’s wildly successful over in the US – but then so is Pop Idol, and by today’s throwaway standards popularity and quality have become increasingly distant cousins. Coming off like a High School Musical with teeth (adult, not milk), there’s a tangibly sharp wit and biting satire beneath the show’s surface sheen, and the season thus far has contained some genuinely hilarious moments.
The bigger the song, the brasher the treatment, the better for everyone concerned. Fraser McAlpine 2010 In the past, the only correct response to a soundtrack album from a hit TV show based in a high school performing arts society would have been to hide in a box and wait for the fever to pass. However, ever since the idea of ‘guilty pleasures’ was rightly run out of town on a rail, there’s been a slackening of the rules about music and what it is allowed to do.