Glee is back on our TV screens with its fourth season which has seen the show receive quite the shake-up. Many of the characters we’ve come to know and love since the show began have graduated from McKinley High and moved on to new things. Rachel (Lea Michele) now lives in New York with Kurt (Chris Colfer) whilst Finn (Cory Monteith) is back from the army and not sure what to do with his life. At McKinley there’s a host of new students including Puck’s (Mark Salling) younger brother Jake (Jacob Artist), beautiful but troubled Marley (Melissa Benoist), bitchy cheerleader Kitty (Becca Tobin) and cute student Ryder (Blake Jenner).
Already this season there’s been the release of Glease, the soundtrack to the Grease-inspired episode, but the first proper highlights release is Glee: The Music, Season 4 Volume 1. The soundtrack contains 13 new songs spanning the first 8 episodes of the fourth season. The album opens with Darren Criss’ (Blaine) version of Imagine Dragons’ hit It’s Time.
As always with Glee releases there’s a variety of musical styles on the album exploring the best in current chart songs and classic songs that still live on today. Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out for a Hero gets a reworking courtesy of new cast members Melissa Benoist and Becca Tobin whilst Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina) leads a fun version of Psy’s global smash Gangnam Style. The Warblers pop up for two tracks – a cover of One Direction’s Live While We’re Young and Kelly Clarkson’s Dark Side – and the show’s main couples (Will & Emma, Santana and Brittany, Rachel and Finn, Blaine and Kurt) come together on the emotive cover of Coldplay’s The Scientist.
Our favourite moments on the album come on Naya Rivera’s (Santana) simple but beautiful cover of Taylor Swift’s Mine and Lea Michele and Dean Geyer’s (Brody) duet of Demi Lovato’s hit Give Your Heart a Break. Both moments are two of the most emotional so far on the new series. The first sees Santana admitting to Brittany that she thinks they should break up whilst the latter is the moment Finn realises he may have lost Rachel to another man.
We think that Glee Season 4 has been the strongest season of the show since its first. The music is as varied and enjoyable as ever and now the characters have been mixed up a bit the dynamic has changed. There are plenty of songs that could have made it onto this release and thankfully they are available on iTunes. The most glaring omission is Darren Criss’ emotional performance of Teenage Dream which he sings for Kurt once again but this time it has a deeper meaning behind it. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the next instalment.