The Music: The Power of Madonna
For anyone who hasn’t yet been sucked in by hit US show Glee, allow us to fill you in. The drama follows a glee club (aka American school choir) at the fictional William McKinley High. The show’s all-singing, all-dancing stars have impressed audiences and critics alike with their portrayal of the trials of teenage life, embodied by a motley crew of social rejects united by a passion for the performing arts.
The Power of Madonna is the cast’s third album since the show debuted just over a year ago. While the first two soundtracks each covered a portion of the first season, this compilation focuses on one episode (season one, episode 15, to be precise). Die-hard fans will argue that this is the greatest episode of Glee so far. Perhaps the greatest thing yet seen on TV. The best (possibly only) serial drama of the past few years brave enough to devote an entire episode to Madge’s most anthemic pop tunes.
It’s probably obvious by now that the show evokes fawning admiration in its devoted followers. But can an album of cover versions really recreate this joy? Surely even super-fans can’t quite convince themselves of that.
That’s not to say the songs are second-rate; if anything, they sound better than on the show. There are certain musical nuances that are easily missed when there are visuals to distract you: the chilling vocals from Amber Riley on ‘Like a Prayer’ being a wonderful example. But the overall effect just cannot be replicated. Watching ‘Express Yourself’ being sung by Quinn, Santana and co dressed in power suits and finger curls is enough to raise a smile in even the most cynical viewer. Without the visuals, it becomes little more than a camp karaoke singalong.
If you consider yourself a Gleek, this album is probably everything you’ve ever hoped for in your wildest Sue Sylvester-fuelled dreams. If you have no idea what a ‘Gleek’ is, count yourself lucky: there’s hope for you yet.
Available now online.