After taking a quick break in December 2009, Glee returned to the air four months later with a new character (played by Jonathan Groff, Lea Michele’s co-star in Spring Awakening) and a new soundtrack. The Power of Madonna features seven of the Material Girl’s tunes, all of them taken from the same episode. It’s a short release, but it also holds its ground against the two albums that preceded it, namely because the material is so compatible with the show itself. Madonna’s music has always thrived on drama, and it lends itself well to Glee’s theater-pop approach, which tends to bring out the cheese in even the most serious of songs. There’s nothing serious about “Vogue” and “Like a Virgin,” though, and the cast tackles both tunes with a mixture of camp and confidence. Chalk it up to increased experience or improved song selection, but everyone simply sounds better on these songs -- particularly Cory Monteith, who relies less on Auto-Tune and more on his gauzy tenor vocals during “Borderline/Open Your Heart.” Elsewhere, Jane Lynch and Jayma Mays both make their vocal debuts, and the boys (minus Matthew Morrison) team up for a harmonized, *NSync-ish version of “What It Feels Like for a Girl,” a premise that may sound dreadful on paper but actually works quite well on the record. At times, Glee still feels like a showcase for Lea Michele’s vocals, and she sings lead on half of these songs. But Michele is no longer the only heavy hitter on the show, and The Power of Madonna allows more singers to step up to the plate.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey