Revue de Glee: ‘Glee’ célèbre la musique de Madonna.
By Rito Asilo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 16:28:00 05/21/2010
REMAKES ARE ALWAYS A TRICKY business, especially if the artist being covered is as iconic as Madonna. For instance, just how do you put a different spin on “Vogue,” “Material Girl” and “Like A Virgin” without sounding cheesy or tawdry?
But, “Glee” does just that—and more. In the eight-track EP, “Glee, The Music: The Power of Madonna,” from the acclaimed TV series’ 15th episode, the multitalented cast takes gleeful turns at breathing new life into the Material Girl’s musical oeuvre:
The degree of difficulty lies in the fact that, while Madonna doesn’t possess the best pipes in the music biz, she more than makes up for them with her winking playfulness and her take-no-prisoners penchant for questioning the status quo (remember “Justify My Love,” “Like A Prayer” and “Papa, Don’t Preach”?) with hooks and beats that are hard to resist.
To this day, you can still groove to “Burning Up,” “Don’t Tell Me” and “Lucky Star” sans the bygone-era feel of, say, The Thompson Twins’ “Lies,” The Go-Gos’ “Head Over Heels” or Devo’s “Whip It.”
“Glee” has another advantage: Youthful, strong singers with considerable musical-theater chops who can support one another when the musical going gets tough. This asset enables them to perform tunes with confidence and flair, and inject some fresh harmonies when necessary.
Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Jonathan Groff—who play Rachel, Finn and Jesse, respectively—are always at center stage, but their numbers (“Express Yourself”) wouldn’t be as buoyantly infectious without the tricky vocal improvisations of the glorious Amber Riley aka Mercedes and Chris Colfer aka Kurt in the background. So, it doesn’t matter if you watch the show or not, there’s a lot of fun to be had in this unique recording.
Moreover, the cast gets to sing Madonna’s well-loved dance classics in the context of a story. So, when Will Shuester (Matthew Morrison) ridicules Sue Sylvester’s (Jane Lynch) fashion sense, the lady coach gets to sing Madonna’s “Vogue,” in a scene where she gets a makeover from Kurt and Mercedes. You’ll also enjoy Rachel and Finn’s mashup of “Borderline” and “Open Your Heart,” which shows off the magical sparks their bell-like voices conjure up when they sing together.
Tired of playing second fiddle to Rachel and Finn, Kurt and Mercedes tell Will that, to get their fair share of the musical spotlight, they have also decided to moonlight with Coach Sylvester’s cheerleading squad, the Cheerios, with whom they perform Madonna and Justin Timberlake’s “4 Minutes” in all its heady, drum-and-bugle-inspired glory.
With adrenaline pumping hard and fast in the midst of their busy activities, the contentious issue of sex finally comes up when three couples—Emma (Jayma Mays) and Will, Santana (Naya Rivera) and Finn, and Rachel and Jesse—bring it to the thematic fore via the sizzling “Like A Virgin.”
Then, the boys tackle the dynamics of gender politics and their sins of misogyny in “What It Feels Like for a Girl,” which starts with an intriguing prologue: “Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots/ Coz it’s OK to be a boy/ But, for a boy to look like a girl is degrading/ Coz you think that being a girl is degrading/ But, secretly, you’d love to know what it’s like, wouldn’t you?”
When the entire cast sings and sashays to the beat of the triumphant “Like A Prayer,” with sublime choral voices floating dreamily in the background, you can’t help but be grateful for an exhilarating tune that plays out like an answered musical prayer!