Saturday, October 06, 2012

Review of the songs in “The Break Up” (S4E4) episode of Glee.

I’ve not blogged for a while, which is naughty, but I’m going to try my best to get back into it now! Despite telling myself I wouldn’t, I got into series 4 of Glee, and some of the songs have already been stellar, so I thought I’d resurrect that thing I do where I review each song as if I know anything about music. ☺️

Barely BreathingB-. This was a Blaine/Finn duet. I’ve never been particularly won over by Finn’s voice and he doesn’t do much to convince me here, but Blaine carries him well. The music video is good – and plays an important part to the ensuing drama in the episode.

Give Your Heart a BreakB+/A-. Lea Michele’s voice is incredible in this song and the high notes really get to show off her vocal range as well a bit of warbling towards the end. The guy she’s with (Dean Geyer) complements her voice much better than Finn’s, and they have genuine chemistry, which is, perversely, why I graded it lower than an A, as I love Finchel.

Teenage DreamA+. Oh my, one of the most powerful performances of a song I’ve seen for some time in Glee. Blaine sits by the piano and sings Katy Perry’s famous song of young love in a minor key. 

This was a song that he first sang to Kurt, so carries emotional weight, and the callback highlights how much things have changed since then.  Blaine’s facial expressions throughout it, though on the precipice of being laughable in how earnest they are, are also genuinely involving. His delivery of “I finally found you, my missing puzzle piece” is uncharacteristically sultry for Blaine, and the off-beat syncopation with the piano chords work a treat too. 

Simple, but very effective, and Darren Criss is such a natural at this song that it's easy to forget that this song was originally meant to be delivered from a girl to a boy (lines like "You think I'm pretty without any make up on" could easily sound ridiculous if it was, say, Mr Schue singing them).

Kurt's reaction to Blaine's performance, as he realises the song is being used to tell him that Blaine cheated, gives the performance extra emotional resonance.

Don’t Speak D. The vocals were alright, but the music video was pure cringe. I could not take it seriously, especially the way the two couples (Rachel/Finn and Blaine/Kurt) got into bed and faced opposition directions. I know Glee is meant to be cheesy, but this really jumped the shark.

This is a very good song and Gwen Stefani delivered it terrifically, but I bet she’ll grimace when she sees what Glee did to it.

Mine A+. Whilst I am a big fan of Taylor Swift (as unpopular an opinion that is), I don’t care much for the original version of this song, which sounds too much like her other’s (and not as good). But having Santana’s distinctive covering it means it doesn’t sound as sickly sweet as some of Swift’s more contrived songs. 

The sparse usage of guitar and piano works wonderfully and her vocals, and she hits those high notes with accuracy and emotion. I particularly like Santana’s way of singing “yes, yes, yes”. The facial emotions between Brittany and Santana give the song additional poignancy; we both know where this is going, and, like the two girls, don’t want this conclusion. I was a puddle of tears by the end. The coda, where they discuss the break-up verbally, was a surprisingly nuanced moment for Glee, and beautifully acted by Naya Rivera and Heather Morris.

The Scientist C. Oh lord, another cringe performance, as all the couples that have broken up (ish) in the episode come together on stage to collectively sing one of Coldplay’s most emotional songs. In terms of Coldplay bastardization, it’s not quite Fix You level (oh GOD), but it’s still somewhat of a car crash.


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