168 of 187 people found the following review helpful
It's probably better to fully review this CD after seeing some of these songs in their visual context in the Christmas episode, because very often, that is what actually makes you appreciate Glee renditions of songs more. But since it is a Christmas album, you should be able to listen to it for the appreciation of the holiday.
Which is why it's easy to see how this album doesn't really serve as an outstanding Christmas listening experience, for many of the renditions here are rather generic. There are very few glee-tastic arrangements, but the CD does combine a notable mix of classics and more contemporary Christmas hits. This is my take on these tracks:
1. We Need A Little Christmas: Tina, Mercedes and Kurt take the lead on this contemporary classic. A nice upbeat start--definitely sounds like the standard showtune rendition of this song.
2. Deck the Rooftop: This is a mashup of Deck the Halls and Up on the Rooftop. One of the best tracks on here. A very pop/upbeat version that is modeled to replicate the arrangement of the Beyonce track "Single Ladies". The whole cast sings this one, with solos throughout.
3. Merry Christmas Darling: What can I say? There are very few songs out there that simply can't be touched by anyone other than the original artist, and this is one of them. It just isn't the same song without Karen Carpenter's voice. Naturally, Lea Michele is a phenomenal singer and (smartly) plays it safe, sticking to the subtle, gentle delivery, but--I'll say it again. It's just not Karen Carpenter. The tone of Karen's voice did all the emoting for her no matter what she sang.
4. Baby It's Cold Outside: gaying it up a bit, this song is a duet between Kurt and his new love interest Blaine. Ironically, it's a real...um...limp rendition of this playful song. They simply sing it straight, lacking all the flirtation that makes this such a romantic little number. Check out the duet versions between either Barry Manilow and KT Oslin (my favorite) or the more recent version by Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton to see how it should be done.
5. The Most Wonderful Day of the Year: Fun fun fun--this is a simple homage to the original Misfit Toys from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. If this isn't presented on the show as a stop motion version of the Glee cast then they will have missed a huge opportunity.
6. Last Christmas: A pretty straightforward take on the Wham hit from the 80s, with Rachel and Finn taking the lead.
7. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: This one's for the girls. A nice, mellow version of this traditional carol, sung by Rachel, Mercedes, Santana, and Tina.
8. O Christmas Tree: Mr. Schu gets a solo cut. A pretty standard take on this one, with a bit of unique approaches on the second half, including a bit of choral background.
9. Jingle Bells: This one's for the boys. Finn, Puck and Artie share lead on this swinging big band version.
10. You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch: Is k.d. Lang going to guest star on the Christmas episode? Mr. Schu narrates this one with words directly from the Dr. Seuss classic, with k.d. Lang handling the vocals of the song. Finally, at the end, the two duet on the remainder of the song. Personally, I feel k.d.'s amazing vocals are wasted on this song.
11. Angels We Have Heard On High: Merecedes takes lead on this one and is surprisingly reserved in her delivery--at first. The belting comes later in the song. The arrangement is kind of Contemporary/Christian/Gospel/Jazzy (reminds me of something you'd hear on the Mariah Carey Christmas album). Best part is the second half with Amber Riley ad libbing and the chorus taking liberties with the original melody.
12. O Holy Night: 5 whopping minutes of Rachel taking on this larger than life Christmas classic. This is a pretty traditional arrangement, with the chorus coming in strong at the end. It's really nothing you haven't heard before. Lea Michele handles it nicely though.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2010
If you're a fan of the Glee cast, you'll enjoy the performances and arrangements on this fun holiday album.
However, you might want to avoid the MP3 download version and order the CD so that you can rip it yourself.
Regrettably, these tracks are encoded at 128 KB and they sound shrill and tinny. I am surprised because Amazon MP3's are usually vastly better in quality than those available on iTunes. Their quality control broke down on this album, I am afraid.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2010
I bought this CD when it first came out and have loved it. Last night, the Glee Christmas episode aired, and I was disappointed to learn that one of the songs from the show is not on the CD - Welcome Christmas (from the Grinch). It was one of the most meaningful songs on the show and they left it off the CD.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2010
I really enjoyed the album. It was very festive and really put me in the Christmas spirit. My only complaint is the WELCOME CHRISTMAS is not on the album. Why couldn't it have been included as a bonus track? This was very GRINCHY of them!
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Christmas is still weeks away but Glee's gotten an early start on the holiday gift-giving season by delivering to its fans a special Christmas-themed album. These 12 tracks are some of the music to be featured in the Christmas episode "Sue The Grinch."
The album starts off with "We Need A Little Christmas" and features the underdogs of the show - Tina, Kurt and Mercedes. Really, this is a straight interpretation of the song equipped with the signature Glee harmonizing and Kurt's high alto vocals. It's a decent track but pretty forgettable since it doesn't stray far from the original we're all familiar with. Then comes perhaps the best track on the entire album, "Deck the Rooftop" which is an upbeat mash-up of "Deck the Halls" and "Up on the Rooftop". This is Glee at its best - taking two familiar songs and combining them to make something fresh and new. The beat behind the song isn't very holiday or what you'd expect but rather sounds a lot like the beat from Beyonce's "Single Ladies" (though it may not be). Amongst all the covers that adhere to the original versions, this particular song was a much welcomed departure from the well-beaten path. "Merry Christmas Darling" is a Lea Michele/Rachel track and is just okay. There's no real surprise with the track and what you'd expect from a typical Lea Michele performance.
"Baby, It's Cold Outside" may be the head-turning track as it's a duet between Chris Colfer (Kurt) and Darren Criss (Blaine). I actually applaud the producers of Glee of featuring a duet between these two and pretty much making the track a bit gay without making a big deal about it. Their two voices go well together and the performance of this well-known track is good. "The Most Wonderful Day of the Year" features Artie, Rachel, Kurt, Sam, Tina & Brittany all singing this song about the toys from the island of misfit toys. Again, another straight interpretation of the original track which makes it feel a bit too dated and old for such a young group of people. Things get back on track with "Last Christmas", that has a more modern-beat and production and fits the young cast well. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is another of the album's better tracks as it features the women of Glee (Mercedes, Rachel, Santana and Tina) and most of the song is performed a capella but once the music kicks in, the beat is more R&B and fresh than what you'd expect.
Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester) takes on "O Christmas Tree" and does well with it. He tries to insert a little of that awkward Will Schuester soul-singing into it and shows off his vocals a bit. "Jingle Bells" is the guy's number and is a bit of a big band/swing/jive interpretation of the song. I'm not sure why every time Puck is involved in a song it suddenly has to be swing and a styled like a Rat Pack song. "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch" is probably the track that annoys me because I'm sure it plays well within the actual Glee Christmas episode coming, "Sue The Grinch". But the song itself, with Matthew Morrison/Will narrating the classic tale is just annoying and not something I can sit through. Things get back on track with Amber Riley's (Mercedes) gospel-take on "Angels We Have Heard On High". I liked this track because the gospel style hasn't been used much on Glee and Mercedes is given a track to be in the spotlight without having Rachel (Lea Michele) to contend with. This to me is some of the best vocals on the album to the point that you forget this is Glee you're listening to. As with most episodes of Glee, Rachel gets the last word (or song) and takes on "O Holy Night." Her vocals on this track are probably the best of Rachel on this particular album and is everything fans of the show would expect or want from a Lea Michele performance.
Overall, Glee's Christmas album is okay. My complaint is that too many of the songs are just too safe and too close to the original versions we're all used to. I'd have liked to have heard a bit more originality come into play as with the "Deck the Rooftop" mash-up. I know, it's Christmas music but some of the arrangements of the songs feel too old and dated for this group of young singers. I'd think they'd insert a bit more personality, modernity and originality into the music to make it more of their own but it feels like we're just getting some Christmas songs for the sake of selling an album and making a profit. Probably my least favorite music release from Glee so far.
Listen to These: "Deck the Rooftop", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "O Holy Night"
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2011
For me, it's very hard to find a really great holiday album. Oh, there is no shortage of them, that much is sure. But rarely ever does a great selection of songs come together with great vocal performances. This album is one such album. Christmas and holiday music given the 'Glee Treatment' never sounded so good. The cast really out does themselves, on both traditional and modern holiday songs, and gives us that rare holiday album that is A grade on nearly every song. And so, without further ado, my two cents on Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album...
1). A- - Amber Riley (Mercedes), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina) - We Need A Little Christmas - One of the most upbeat Christmas songs ever written, the Glee Cast does an incredible job.
2). A+ - Lea Michele (Rachel Berry), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Cory Monteith (Finn) - Deck The Rooftop - Think Christmas music meets Beyonce! Actually reminds me of Single Ladies quite a bit. This is a FANTASTIC spin on a song that actually survives a change into a Christmas dance jam really well. LOL
3). A- - Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) - Merry Christmas Darling - Lea Michele makes this ethereally beautiful. Her soft, sure vocals make this possibly the best version of this song that I've ever heard. Amazing...
4). A - Chris Colfer (Kurt) and Darren Criss (Blaine) - Baby, It's Cold Outside - Glee may be the very first to take a romantic Christmas song and have it sung by two guys. Even if they're not first, they sure as heck are the group who got the least resistance for it. And why? Because Glee is pushing boundries and sparking a wave of acceptance and tolerance across the nation, and even the world. The song sounds good enough, but the performance on the show was much better. Either way, a fresh spin on a Christmas classic.
5). A- - Chris Colfer (Kurt), Kevin McHale (Artie), Chord Overstreet (Sam) - The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year - A fresh, fun energy that makes for one of the best songs on the album. This would make great tree decorating music. Which is, ironically, what they were doing on the show when this song was performed. LOL
6). A+ - Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) and Cory Monteith (Finn) - Last Christmas - This is one of the better modern Christmas songs to come out in recent years, and Glee does the best version of it, IMHO. A LOT of fun, and great vocals by Lea.
7). A - Lea Michele (Rachel Berry), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Naya Rivera (Santana), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina), Dianna Agron (Quinn) - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - A VERY classical Christmas carol, sung with haunting beauty by the Glee cast. The arrangement is simple and powerful, and probably the best version of this song that I've ever heard.
8). A- - Matthew Morrison (Mr. Shue) - O Christmas Tree - Not always my favorite song, but Matthew Morrison does an amazing job.
9). A- - Cory Monteith (Finn), Mark Salling (Puck), Kevin McHale (Artie) - The Glee guys deliver probably the most up and hip version of Jingle Bells that I've ever heard. Definitely had me tapping my toes.
10). B- - Matthew Morrison (Mr. Shue) with K.D. Lang - You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch - I love The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, but I can't STAND this song. Matthew Morrison does a solid job as the narrator, and K.D. Lang doesn't sound bad either. There's just something about it I don't like.
11). A+ - Amber Riley (Mercedes) - Angels We Have Heard On High - This is one of the best and most powerful songs on the album, IMHO. Amber Riley takes this song to church! She takes a classic, often done by some of the best in the business, and just sets the bar as high as her belt notes. LOL
12). A+ - Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) - O Holy Night - Lea Michele closes the album with one of her show stopping performances. This one of the most well known Christmas song, and she does it justice perfectly. Breathtakingly beautiful.
Okay, so there you have it folks, my two cents on Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album. The album had only one song that ranked below an A-. Every other song on this album is A grade material, and some of them considerably moreso. Because of some truly epic performances, even the B- doesn't bring this album below an A+ grade. As I said, this is one of the best Christmas and holiday albums to come out in recent years. If you're like me, every year I take a look at the new Christmas albums that come out, hoping to find that one rare gem that makes it a Christmas album for the ages. This is one such album. If you celebrate Christmas, or even just like Glee music, then give this album a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Thanks for your time folks.
Sincerely, R.A. McDowell
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2010
After seeing the Christmas episode of Glee, I thought I might buy the album. The main songs I really liked in the episode were "The Island of Misfit Toys", "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch", and the "Welcome Christmas" song from How the Grinch Stole Christmas that the people sing in the teacher's lounge. I was horribly disappointed to discover two of those three songs are not even on the album. Obviously, I will not be buying this now.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2010
As always, Glee puts out their versions and vocals for Christmas from the last weeks show. However the album did not have "Welcome Christmas", but by far was the best arranged and preformed song. You will have to buy it as a MP3. Not sure why it was not on the album... kind of a rip!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2010
Let me be clear: until an online friend pointed me (indirectly) at Glee's recent Christmas episode, I had never watched the series at all. But having seen the episode, I couldn't resist buying this album...and I can happily recommend that you do likewise.
Now in some respects, this is a very odd album. Not quite half of it is -- more or less -- the soundtrack album from the aforementioned Christmas episode. The album's version of "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch", with lead vocals by k.d. lang, isn't the one heard on the show as aired, and to my ear, "Most Wonderful Day of the Year" (deftly lifted from the classic TV special "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer") has been slightly remixed, especially where the spoken dialogue is concerned. In general, these songs likely play a little better for those who've seen the TV versions, which give a degree of context not always obvious from the recording. In particular, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" benefits from having seen the televised performance -- the vocals are lightly and smoothly executed, but the characters' choreography adds extra nuance.
The remaining songs are a mix of traditional carols ("O Christmas Tree", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen") and contemporary holiday favorites ("Jingle Bells", "We Need a Little Christmas"). As on the show, the arrangements divide the emphasis between skillful choral ensemble performances and lively lead vocals by various cast members. The effect is a little like a 21st-century spin on the old Lawrence Welk show, although the musical styles are livelier and more varied than that analogy might suggest.
For me, the album's wide-ranging song selection is a strength; few Christmas discs will give you this blend of kids'-TV classics, religious music, snowbound romance, and sheer wintertime fun. At the same time, I can see how many listeners might find the contrasts a little unsettling. Overall, though, it's both an agreeably cheerful Christmas collection and a solid, honest introduction to the Glee phenomenon, and it's definitely going on my list of holiday favorites.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2011
One of the reasons I like Glee is they take songs and make them more interesting. Which is why this album disappointed me. It's the same old, same old, for the most part, yet more versions of the same renditions of Christmas songs I've already got copies of. I did like some songs, like Amber's Angels We Have Heard on High, and am glad there's finally a gay version of "Baby It's Cold Outside" (though the rendition was a bit flat). Jingle Bells was fun, and I like the Island of Misfit toys mashup. But the rest of the album was kind of a yawn, and what's with not giving Dianna anything to sing? Not one song. I like her voice and am frankly tired of Leah's. She sings EVERYTHING on that show, and on the album. She has a nice voice but it's just one flavor. I prefer a bit more variety. And while I adore K D Lang, the Grinch song was exactly like the one from the kid's movie. Come on, Glee. You're more inventive than that.