Glee music covers Madonna and lets new singers shine
BY FRED TOPEL
The only thing more popular than the Glee show on Fox may be the Glee music. Ever since the premiere episode, glee club versions of his songs have dominated the music charts. “Don’t Stop Believin’” led to “Somebody to Love” led to “Jump.” My personal favorite was the mash-up of “It’s My Life” and “Confessions.”
So when “Glee” returns, get your credit cards ready to download more cool music on iTunes. Show producers Brad Falchuck and Ian Brennan spoke to the media in a conference call and previewed some of the upcoming music.
“It has always been relatively easy,” Falchuck said. “P.J. Bloom, our music supervisor, does a very good job in clearing songs. When we premiered in the U.K. ‘Don’t Stop Believing,’ the original version suddenly started climbing up the charts again. That’s a 30-year-old song. So I think artists appreciate that, whatever they think of our particular versions of the songs, we’re introducing their songs to a whole new generation of people that might not have heard them before. That works both ways. There are people that people in their 40s aren’t that familiar with, and so they hear a Beyonce song and they’re like, ‘Hmm, Beyonce, she’s kind of interesting.’ Suddenly they’re downloading her music, too. So it works both ways, both with the younger and the older audience on our show.”
All the Glee performances so far were leading up to sectionals. The glee club’s triumph in that contest was only the beginning of their performances. “Regionals are sort of coming up, and regionals are against much tougher competition and vocal adrenaline,” Falchuck said. “We had to reset a little bit and let people know really where they still stand. I think that was the right thing to do, and I think we can then build to another really striking conclusion at the end of the nine.”
An upcoming episode even has the glee club’s nemesis, Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), perform a number. Madonna may not have chosen Lynch to cover her hit “Vogue,” but it certainly sounds like a must see musical number, and a must download. “It was in the Madonna episode, which is truly, I think, probably our most spectacular episode to date,” Falchuck said. “It is truly a spectacular that you watch and you can’t believe you’re watching a television show. When you see her do this ‘Vogue’ it is awesome. It’s incredible.”
Also joining the chorus are Sylvester’s Cheerio cheerleaders, actors getting their first chance to sing on upcoming episodes. “I know Naya [Rivera] gets to sing in the back nine,” Falchuck revealed.
There’s plenty of room for more songs in each subsequent episode of Glee. That means there will be plenty of iTunes downloads too. “All of the ancillary things, like the downloads and the albums and all of that stuff, is secondary to the storytelling,” Falchuck said. “We’re always focused on the storytelling first and the fans’ reaction to the storytelling. The reality is from the first 13, we didn’t know, because we hadn’t aired them yet, people love seeing the songs in the show. So we said, ‘Well, this also kind of works for the show when we have more music.’ So we decided to put more music in there. It really was to enhance the experience of that hour of watching television. It really wasn’t about what was going to happen after that.”
Glee music is so popular, the speculation now is that they might start performing original songs exclusively for the show. “We plan on it,” Falchuck confirmed. “I think maybe in season two there’s a thought about doing some of that. The key with us is what’s the story right now and what do we want to say right now and what’s going on with these characters right now. There was thought about doing that in the back nine, but then it sort of didn’t fit in. So there’s certainly thought of doing that in season two.”
The Glee kids are everywhere. In addition to soundtracks and downloads, they perform at the White House, they’ve been on Oprah and other publicity opportunities. Could there possibly be too much Glee?
“Our marketing department at Fox is really actually quite amazing what they’re able to do,” Falchuck said. “You can see a clip and see a song that might be in the show. It’s not the same as when you’ve been on that ride of the episode and what’s the emotional moment, the emotional impact of that song at that minute thirty-one as opposed to just seeing a little bit of the clip of it. Also nowadays everything is everywhere, and you sort of need to sort of feed that beast. So we don’t get too concerned about that.”
Glee returns April 13 on Fox.
View the photo gallery below of the cast of “Glee” in New York: