Explain Glee to me.

From Wikipedia:

In 2009, the Glee cast had 25 singles chart on the Billboard Hot 100, the most by any artist since The Beatles had 31 songs in the chart in 1964.  In February 2011, Glee surpassed Elvis as the artist with the most songs placed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, though fewer than one-fourth have charted for more than one week. The cast performance of “Don’t Stop Believin'” was certified gold in November 2009, achieving over 500,000 digital sales  The series’ cover versions have also had a positive effect on the original recording artists, with sales of Rihanna’s “Take a Bow” increasing by 189 percent after the song was covered in the Glee episode “Showmance”.  Their cover of “Forget You” was also credited for making the original song reach a new peak on the Billboard Hot 100  on the same week the Glee cover reached the chart.

I watched this show once or twice recently to give it a chance. Explain it to me. As I see it, there’s kids saying lines about how great it would be to sing this song or that one, or sing songs by this or that artist, and then they…sing it, fully produced, no mics, without even the pretense of a plausible talent show or glee club recital. Everything immaculately choreographed, and sometimes there’s an awkward, ill-fitting mash-up, like someone took a bunch of scrap paper, wrote down some popular song from the past (good or bad, deserving or not) and glued them together in a Frankensteinian amalgam of attempted irony and high calorie, low nutrition treacle. With an occasional poorly rendered human emotion thrown in here and there. And an effeminate fellow who wants to use some hunk as a woodwind instrument. Right? What am I missing?

Seriously. Help me understand.


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3 thoughts on “Explain Glee to me.

  1. […] See the article here: Explain Glee to me. « Porcine Drone […]

  2. Duncan Walls says:

    Yeah, I didn’t get the same thing. I guess the rules have all changed…or maybe Don Kirshner was THAT prescient? I won’t slag The Monkees because they were musicians put into an acting vehicle that snowballed until they got out, but certainly this qualifies as an Archies styled bubblegum concoction.

    I think that those of us who have seen quite a bit of the music biz happen (for me at least since the early 50s personally and farther back through musicology, sociologically and academically as a collector, retail salesman and performer) have seen this before. Remember Fabian and all the post-Elvis wanna-bes, all the Buddah bubblegum and such, Milli Vanilli, Stars on 45, any number of disco track act constructs and the advent of Karoake and Guitar Hero and American Idol…
    It’s all the same thing only updated, repackaged and reframed for a new audience. Don’t forget that the music publishers have GOT to find some way to use their catalogs…licensing is a must for them and has been for 100 years. Really.

    Read ‘Pennies From Heaven: The American Popular Music Business in the 20th Century’ by Russell & David Sanjek for a blow by blow account of the rise of the music business literally from post-Civil War Minstrel Shows up to 1996 (the latest edition I own). After a while reading this, I got numb, which is what I’m hearing you say is happening to you right now. Check this book out; if you’re a music lover it will stun you how predatory the biz is…or maybe not!

  3. I will absolutely check out that book (used copies are around on Amazon for 5 dolla)

    You make the point that this phenom has been around for a long time but the problem I have with Glee (I went back and watched a few from the first season) is that it seems to have totally sold out to these publishers at the cost of the show’s integrity and now it seems like a money making machine and nothing more. Sexy magazine covers and the fact that Jane lynch left “Party Down” for THAT. And the fact that not only is my music career going nowhere, but I literally don’t know what the hell to do with it. There’s not an avenue within my grasp that I haven;t tried. And warmed over versions of Madonna (which was kinda warmed over in the first place) is the zeitgeist merely because it…exists.

    I love me some Buddah tho. The one with the wheel album cover.

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