Guaranteed to Raise a Smile
3 Out Of 5 Stars
Glee hasn't shied away from The Beatles before, including some very deft covers, like Chris/Kurt doing "Blackbird." This time, though, for "Glee Sings The Beatles." they are tackling the Fab Four across two of the TV episodes and one full CD. Much like the attempts to do Madonna, Rocky Horror, or Grease, they're going all in. If you're a true purist who couldn't even tolerate the soundtrack to "I Am Sam" or "Across The Universe," you might have issues. Surprisingly, however, Glee takes on a handful of fairly obvious Beatles classics and treats them with respect.
I can't imagine what was going through the hearts and minds of the cast as they were taking on some of the more emotional heft of some of the songs here, so close to the passing of Cory Montieth/Finn. But when Lea Michelle opens up on "Yesterday," you can hear the emotion pouring out. Easily the best performance of the album, even if any other circumstances surrounded it. For the most part, the arrangements are kept close to the originals, with the exception of "Got To Get You Into My Life," where 'Klaine' mix it up with a marching band. On the TV episode, they even went as far as making a mock-up of the Ed Sullivan set for "When I Saw Her Standing There."
The CD does do a split between early and later Beatles, saving the music from the older period for the second episode. "Get Back" is stripped to just a piano version, and frankly, it's almost impossible to screw up "Let It Be," hay Jude" or "Here Comes The Sun" while you're staying faithful to the arrangements. With "Something" being one of my top ten personal favorite Beatles songs, I'd take it as blasphemy to try and mess with the original. In fact, the only stumble on this disc is performing "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and then NOT following through with "A Little Help From My Friends."
When Glee started, this was the kind of music I was expecting from the show. The first two seasons did a lot to mix in classic pop, modern songs abd show tunes in equal measure, to the point where I thought the "Presents The Warblers" was one of the best of the batch. For "Glee Sings The Beatles," the do a service to some of these records that inching towards their 60th Birthday, and that is bringing them to a whole new group of listeners. That's something I'm all for happening.