Glee

Glee: The Music, Vol. 1

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Like the High School Musical franchise, Glee became more than a TV show when several of its songs cracked the Hot 100, including the number four hit "Don't Stop Believing." That song kicks off this soundtrack, the first in a series of albums cataloging the music performed by the show's cast. Not all Glee members are created equal -- Cory Monteith (the show's hunky football captain) and Dianna Agron (the alternately caustic and vulnerable head cheerleader) can't sing nearly as well as their co-stars -- but this soundtrack has enough star power to keep things trucking along, especially when powerhouse alto Lea Michele takes the wheel. She sounds fantastic throughout, whether she's holding her own during a duet with Broadway queen Kristin Chenoweth or covering the likes of Jordin Sparks, Avril Lavigne, and Queen. The soundtrack is mostly a vehicle for her voice, yet it also gives ample stage time to Matthew Morrison, who downplays his own Broadway career by rapping on two different tracks. Tuneful performances by Mark Salling (the Neil Diamond-loving jock) and former boy band member Kevin McHale (the wheelchair-bound Artie) make a good argument for Glee being an ensemble production in disguise, but Lea Michele still receives top billing, and she sings circles around most of the pop stars whose music is featured here.

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