The second Glee soundtrack feels a bit rushed, arriving no less than four weeks after Vol. 1’s release and featuring songs from half as many episodes. Returning fans will still find a lot to enjoy here, though, as Jenna Ushkowitz (the faux-stuttering Tina) gets her first solo and supporting characters Amber Riley (Mercedes) and Kevin McHale (Artie) enjoy a healthier chunk of airtime. Nevertheless, Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison continue to steal the show, with Morrison delivering one of the album’s most inventive songs -- a mash-up of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and “Young Girl” -- and Michele singing the absolute pants off of “My Life Would Suck Without You.” As before, this album sometimes strays away from choral arrangements and sounds more like a collection of karaoke recordings, and the use of Auto-Tune (most noticeably during Lily Allen’s “Smile,” where Cory Monteith sounds like an R&B robot) proves that nothing -- not even music ostensibly performed in a classroom by high-school students -- is holy in today’s music biz. When the cast rearranges “Jump” by replacing Eddie Van Halen’s keyboard riff with sprightly harmonies, though, it’s hard not to throw up your jazz hands and sing along.
AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey