Glee: The Music, Vol. 5

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Oh, Glee. If everyone knew how to turn a profit like you, poverty would be a thing of the past. Vol. 5 continues where the show’s previous soundtracks left off, featuring a familiar blend of pop-ified show tunes and show tune-ified pop songs. The cast continues to grow, with Chord Overstreet (Sam) singing two Justin Bieber tunes and Darren Criss (Blaine) steering the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” into Euro-dance territory. Gwyneth Paltrow (substitute teacher Hollie Holiday), who helped Glee score a Top 20 hit with Cee Lo’s “Forget You” in late 2010, makes three cameo appearances here, taking the lead on a solid version of Gary Glitter’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)” and adding some adult sex appeal to Prince’s “Kiss,” where she duets with onscreen love interest Matt Morrison (Mr. Schuester). Apart from the opening track, which smartly fuses the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll” with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Paltrow’s presence is the best thing about the album -- a sign that, after 13 releases over the course of 14 months, Glee’s formula is getting a bit stale. Vol. 5 attempts to shake things up with two original numbers, but “Loser Like Me” and “Get It Right” aren’t good enough to make much of a difference. Even so, kudos to Glee for taking steps in a new direction.

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