So the Season 1 finale of Glee finished ten minutes ago and I am very sad that I’ll have to find a new show to talk about for the next few months. I already wrote a blog about Glee here, but I am just bursting with things to say about why I love the show and I feel an unshakable need to share them with you, because the music of Glee is essentially all I listen to these days.
My fiancée, despite my numerous attempts to persuade her, absolutely refuses to watch Glee, saying that she doesn’t like musicals. In the immortal words of Aaron Weiss, “I half-heartedly explained, but gave up peacefully ashamed.” It irks me that she makes fun of the show and says she hates it without ever having seen an episode, but ultimately I don’t care whether or not she likes it, and secretly I’m even sort of glad that she doesn’t. I hate when people get pissed off that their favorite band is starting to gain popularity, even though we’ve all had that feeling, even me. You overhear someone talking about a band you like, calling them “French screamo,” (as an acquaintance of mine once called The Mars Volta), and your blood boils, wishing that you were the only one in the world with knowledge of that band, that their name wasn’t being tainted by half-wits. But Glee is a national phenomenon, one of the biggest shows on television, and it’s nice to be able to have that to myself to some degree.
Besides, you know all those social networking surveys where you put your media player on shuffle to come up with the soundtrack to your life? Glee is basically the embodiment of that. You could call it a musical, sure, but you’d be missing the point and also you’d be an idiot. A musical is when you feel compelled to break out in a song about the joys of flossing your teeth, when every inane, boring thing in your life is set to an insipid jingle. And when the people in musicals aren’t singing about how useful an umbrella is when it’s raining outside, they’re singing about love almost exclusively. It’s boring. You can’t relate. But Glee knows you. Glee knows all about the dead-end job you have, where you barely make more than minimum wage, which is why Puck and Finn sing Beck’s “Loser” during their first day at Sheets ‘N’ Things. So it’s a modernized musical, yes, but in modernizing the musical they created something entirely new. When you were in elementary school, did you ever have to go on a field trip to see a musical? I know I did. I rolled my eyes and asked my parents if I could stay home that day because musicals suck.
The polarizing reaction to Glee is amusing to me. The go-to comeback for anyone who hates something seems to be, “I bet you haven’t even watched/heard it.” It’s almost never true, especially in reference to popular music (“I bet you’ve never really listened to Ke$ha”) but with Glee, in my experience, it’s almost universally true, as my aforementioned fiancée has shown. But I guess it isn’t so surprising, considering how easy it is to avoid the television and the radio these days. Technology has made it so we can listen and watch whatever we want, whenever we want.
So on one side we have the “Gleeks,” the people who watch and love the show. On the other side, we have the people who hate the show but have never watched it. In the middle are people who think the show has flaws but they watch it every week because they fucking love it anyway. Just read the critics’ responses to each episode. The ones who give an episode a mixed review seem honestly disappointed because they love the show. It’s never, “Man this show is so consistently bad.” Anyway, it’s hard to explain the intoxicating nature of Glee. I’m not sure if I can come up with an explanation as to why I listen to the songs so often and with such fervor, but I can at least explain why I listen to them in the first place.
First of all, Glee takes songs that I would otherwise never ever listen to and turns them into something that I want to listen to all of the time on my laptop and in my car and on my iPod. The best example is the Madonna tribute episode. Fuck Madonna. I would never listen to Madonna. It’s not even that I don’t like her as a person. Madonna is highly influential. I would never say a bad word about Madonna herself because I respect her. But her music is dated now. It’s all got that 80s production that hits about as hard as a gnat. Any poignancy in the songs is lost in the ether of reverb and quiet production. Glee re-imagines these songs in the present day, with modern day production so that you can actually hear the intricacies, you can start to respect the songs themselves. “What It Feels Like For A Girl”? Fuck, that song is so fucking good on Glee. Same with “Borderline/Open Your Heart” and “Like A Virgin.” Interestingly, one of her new millennium singles, “4 Minutes,” sounds lackluster because it didn’t bring anything new to the table. I still enjoyed it, but I find myself coming back to the songs that have become something new because of Glee.
There’s an episode where the students’ assignment is to take notoriously bad songs and make them good. It was one of my favorites because that’s what I love about Glee. Jane Lynch sings “Physical” with Olivia Newton-John, and that was when I noticed the tension in the line “Let me hear your body talk, your body talk,” and I realized that “Physical” is a fine representation of its subject matter. And “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”? Hands down my favorite song from the show. Would I ever listen to the original song? Nope. But the Glee version is some entirely different entity. It’s powerful, it’s heart-wrenching. It’s a good example of what Glee has done in general. It took something awful – the musical – and made it something great.
On a semi-related note: fucking Lea Michele.
But the first season has ended, so I’ll have to find something else to write about in Chan’s Plans. Any suggestions or requests? And here is an AIM excerpt!
|JesusDeEspana (11:35:09 PM):||met a girl yesterday|
|JesusDeEspana (11:35:10 PM):||her name is|
|JesusDeEspana (11:35:12 PM):||get ready|
|JesusDeEspana (11:35:14 PM):||you ready?|
|GDandBlinkfan76 (11:35:20 PM):||i suppose|
|JesusDeEspana (11:35:24 PM):||moogen|
|GDandBlinkfan76 (11:35:40 PM):||whenever i rock my synthesizer|
|GDandBlinkfan76 (11:35:42 PM):||thast what im doin|
|GDandBlinkfan76 (11:35:44 PM):||im moogin’|
|JesusDeEspana (11:35:48 PM):||lol|