'Glee' Premiere Music Recap: We Rank The Songs
For its first two episodes back, Glee took on Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, and even 'Frozen.'
It's the beginning of the end.
The first two episodes of Glee's final season premiered last night, and -- as has become the standard over the last few years -- the two hours were a bit of a mixed bag, with WTF plot points galore combined with some truly stellar music moments. Glee's standard operating procedure is a real enigma, so fans watched as Rachel's television show got canceled and she returned to Lima to head up the Glee club. Sure. Additionally, Blaine is now dating Kurt's former bully Dave Karofsky (#Nope) so that spells difficult, uncomfortable times ahead for both Kurt and fans.
Several of the original cast regulars briefly returning in episode two -- including Dianna Agron, Amber Riley, Mark Salling, and more -- certainly helped to brighten things up. There is no joy like watching Heather Morris (Brittany) and Naya Rivera (Santana) singing and dancing together, in this case on a football field in cheerleader uniforms. Of course in this case, the singing and dancing was to "Problem," the Ariana Grande hit featuring Big Sean, who is also Rivera's real-life recent ex-fiancee. So that must have been a weird day on set.
A quick catch up: Everything has gone to ish for all our favorite Lima stars. Rachel is the laughing stock of Hollywood, and returns with her head hung in shame to Lima; Blaine is now coaching the Warblers; Mr. Schuester is coaching Vocal Adreniline, and Kurt -- as a very convenient part of NYADA -- is helping Rachel co-direct New Directions. They also all promise each other that though they all want to win regionals (Drink!), they won't let their competition get in the way of their friendships.
By the end of the episode, of course, it has!
Some caveats about the below song rankings: These opinions are my own and quite biased. An incomplete list of criteria I thought about: Was I charmed? Did it make any sense for said song to be happening at said point? Did I feel any emotion whatsoever behind the performance? Do I simply like this song? Would I download said song in iTunes if I already had the original?
10. "Dance The Night Away" by Van Halen
Vocal Adrenaline -- the New Directions' biggest competion both back in the day and now, apparently -- are currently being coached by one Will Schuester, but he's changed up his directing game, and VA still looks and sounds like VA with high-energy, expertly choreographed numbers. It would be a much more realistic show if these kids won more competitions.
9. "Mustang Sally," originally by Wilson Pickett
Meet one of the new New Directioners, Roderick. A quiet, overweight kid who just wants to disappear, he's got a backstory ready-made to be blown out in various Glee plots. Will he wind up dating fellow new member Jane (she of failed Warbler dreams?) Stay tuned. If past Glee hookups are any indication, I say two weeks until a choir room duet and four weeks until a musical misunderstanding prompts a breakup.
8. "Problem," originally by Ariana Grande
Besides the aforementioned real-life drah-mah, this performance was one of the most straight-up fun of the evening. Besides the reunion of the Unholy Trinity and mostly thanks to Grande's infectious summer hit, it was a total blast. The performance didn't deviate much from the original, but if beautiful high school alumnae came back and performed this on my high school football field, I'd join whatever club they wanted, so this recuriting plan was actually somehow the most realistic part of the whole two hours.
7. "Uninvited," originally by Alanis Morrissette
"I feel like I died and now I'm in hell" is how Rachel chose to convey her mental state early in the hour. There is not a ballad Lea Michele can't nail, so this certainly wasn't bad. But the first number of Glee's return didn't pack quite the emotional punch I wanted it to, and among all the great Rachel Berry Power Ballad moments, this isn't at the top of the list.
Side note: Michele's hair game was on point the entire evening.
6. "Suddenly Seymour," originally from Little Shop of Horrors
Blaine welcomes Rachel back into the friendship circle with this touching, powerful duet. Plot-wise these days, the two are rival coaches, but hopefully we can continue to get fun duets from two of Glee's most enthusiastic, emotional belters.
5. "Take On Me," originally by A-ha
Welcome to the weirdest part of last night. For pure entertainment purposes, sure, let's have the kids come to life from a comic book while dressed in neon colors. It's the '80s? This is your future, current McKinley High students.
4. "Home," originally by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Full disclosure: I live for a good ending musical group number. So I probably loved this a lot more than was fair solely because it was the first time since about March where we got to see a lot of these people singing together, each getting their moment -- and verse -- in front of the cameras. Who knows what the future holds, but I hope it involves a lot of graduates continuing to hang around a local high school.
3. "Sing," originally by Ed Sheeran
Warbler numbers are always highlights and this one was no exception. While other aspects of the show regularly veer into insane melodrama, anything Dalton Academy performances can reliably counted on to just be fun (except until they got weirdly judge-y about a girl joining the group). Is it any wonder the guys instantly pulled in Blaine (with Warbler jacket!) to lead them in the impromptu performance? Breaking into spontaneous choregraphed movement is such a better look for them than discriminating against a girl joining the team. Starting a petition right now to get the Warblers to perform "Don't" by season's end.
2. "Let It Go," originally by a little film called Frozen/Idina Menzel
Everyone knew a "Let It Go" cover was inevitable, right? Particularly because of Menzel's own history with the show, this was always going to happen. And honestly, despite the fact that I'm sure many fans are suffering from Frozen overload, this cover was pretty perfect. Sure, it was vocally quite similar to Menzel's original, but, as stated above, Michele has no problem belting. The charming "The cold never bothered me anyway" at the end is worthy of its own gold star.
1. "Tightrope," originally by Janelle Monae
Jane is the kind of addition this show needs. This high-energy performance reminded me of the early days of the show, where I just wanted to get up and dance along. (Monae's killer track deserves some credit here as well, obviously).
Did you watch? What was your favorite performance?