I was obsessed with Glee when it was on, and though it’s been over for many years now, it’ll always have a special place in my heart. It changed my life in many ways, even if it was a flawed show. As the seasons went on, it got more and more flawed, but the one thing that remained solid throughout was the music. Glee made its mark by being able to take old music and new music and present it in new ways to new audiences on a scripted TV show through very talented people. I respect that. On my phone I have several hundred Glee songs, and though I don’t listen to them all that often and there are some I could probably delete, there are a lot that I still don’t skip over and ones that I think I’ll have on my phone forever.
Today is May 19th, and ten years ago today, Glee aired for the first time. For some reason, Fox decided to air the pilot after American Idol in May and then wait until normal Fall TV to air the second episode. Though I didn’t start the show until halfway through the first season, I thought it’d be fun to use this day as a chance to gleek out about some of the amazing music Glee served to us over the six years it ran. So here are 10 songs (in no particular order) that I think were better than the originals.
- ‘Blackbird’ sung by Kurt and the Warblers (Season 2)
Kurt’s sweet voice with that glorious Warbler harmony that is light but adds an extra element to the song? Iconic. Not to mention that this song was a pretty important moment for Kurt and Blaine.
- ‘Tongue Tied’ sung by the New Directions (Season 3)
This song has so much energy and such spunk, and I think the Glee cast was able to bring new life into it. The original is still fun, but the voices are kind of drier and raspier, which I don’t like as much.
- ‘Wide Awake’ sung by Jake, Kitty, Tina, and Unique (Season 5)
The original version of this song is upbeat but forgettable. Glee’s version is memorable. I adore this slowed down version. It’s deep and sweet and they harmonize so well.
- ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ sung by New Directions (Season 1)
This is one of the Rolling Stones’ more laid back songs, and Glee took its funky beat and elevated it. It’s got a more rock base and it shows off the talent of many in the group. Of course they won sectionals with this.
- ‘We’ve Got Tonight’ sung by various members of New Directions (Season 4)
Bob Seger’s original song is nice, but having the mix of voices here brings a lot to the song. It’s more powerful and romantic, I think.
- ‘I Can’t Go For That/You Make My Dreams’ sung by New Directions (Season 3)
Both of these are great songs on their own, but in true Glee fashion, putting them together in a mashup created something so fresh and fun. They work together so perfectly.
- ‘What Kind Of Fool’ sung by the Warblers (cut from season 2)
Darren Criss and those perfect Warbler harmonies never went wrong. They were able to put so much passion into this song. It was never in the show but made it onto the Warbler album. The original is sung by Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibbs, and while she has a nice voice, his is kind of nasally, and the song is really too slow and breathy at the start, while the Warblers’ is just so nice throughout.
- ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ sung by Rachel (season 3)
I may be a bit biased here because I can’t handle the Bee Gees for more than a song at a time, so I like that Rachel didn’t need to do any forced high parts and this song could thrive. Plus, this one has more emotion behind it, I think.
- ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ sung by Mercedes (season 2)
The original song is rather slow until the end, but Mercedes managed to spice it up and bring so much soul to it. She always stood out in Glee songs because her voice was so powerful and this was one solo where I think she really shone.
- ‘I Gotta Be Me’ sung by Finn (season 2)
I think this was one of Finn’s best. It was fun, didn’t force him out of his vocal range, and worked well for his character who really developed over the seasons.
Glee had over 600 songs, and coming up with this list was hard. Glee often had songs that were great, different, or on par with the original (as expected), but I really wanted songs that specifically stood out to me as especially better, and I think these 10 do a great job highlighting just how amazing this aspect of the show was.
I’ve been thinking about rewatching the show for a while now (I haven’t really seen it since it finished), and writing this post definitely made me want to even more. But I’m also worried that I’ll not like it or see its flaws more and end up souring the image of it that I have in my heart…
Anyway, if you were a Gleek like me, I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. Were there other songs you enjoyed more than the originals? Do you miss Glee too?