The third full-length collection of Glee songs feels like the one where everything comes together as solid entertainment for the listener. Showstoppers is an appropriate title since this album features contributions from stellar Broadway performers Kristin Chenoweth, Jonathan Groff, and Idina Menzel. However, there are also moments where the amateur-tinged group arrangements truly gel in ways that will make you smile. This album works as more than simply a show souvenir. You may find yourself turning back to a few of these performances for a smile and perhaps to sing along.
The most obvious ingredient to the success here is the song selection is outstanding. Whether it's the resurrection of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" as romantic entanglements in the round, Broadway showstoppers with true Broadway talent like "I Dreamed a Dream" and "Home," or thoroughly contemporary Glee versions of Lady Gaga hits, these sound like the songs we would like Glee to take on. The medley of "One Less Bell to Answer" and "A House Is Not a Home" resurrects songwriter Burt Bacharach for a new generation of listeners. The rock side is represented in sing along style with both Aerosmith's classic "Dream On" featuring Neil Patrick Harris and All-American Rejects' "Gives You Hell."
Best Glee Collection Yet
If you haven't bought a Glee collection so far, this is one to add to flesh out your contemporary pop listening. The pop culture moment includes a place for cover versions that are unabashedly corny at times. On Showstoppers this is balanced by the immaculate vocal performances from outside talent. Listening to this album it feels like the Glee approach has matured nicely.
Top Tracks on 'Glee - the Showstoppers'
- "One Less Bell to Answer / A House Is Not a Home"
- "Total Eclipse of the Heart"
- "Dream On"
- "Poker Face"
The Record and the Future
It isn't clear whether the sales of Volume 3, the Showstoppers will match previous collections. The EP, The Power of Madonna has already hit #1. If the commercial success of this collection marks a bit of a fade in the show's fortunes, it will be unfortunate as this is the album from the franchise most deserving of success. In the space of a year, Glee has placed over 40 performances on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It is difficult to imagine that blistering pace continuing for long, but if the synergy of top notch song selection and impressive guest performances continue, Glee may be selling big numbers of albums and singles for some time to come.
Released May 2010 by Columbia Records.