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Music Review: Glee Cast – “Mash Off”

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Among my favorite moments in each season of Glee have been the episodes that highlight song mash-ups. This season’s mash-ups for the most part lived up to their predecessors and one particular track stood out as probably the best mash-up Glee has ever done.

GLEE: Santana (Naya Rivera) performs the 300th musical performance of GLEE in the "Mash Off" episode airing Tuesday, Nov. 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT on FOX. © Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Frank Micelotta/FOXIn an episode chock full of medleys, Mark Salling’s (Puck) take on Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” was the only solo track. I don’t think Salling gets enough credit for his vocal versatility. He showed a more vulnerable side of his voice earlier this season on a Foreigner track and, this week, we got to hear more depth and fullness in his singing. I think this was one of the better vocal performances we’ve gotten from him, actually. Cory Monteith (Finn) could also be heard on the track, and his voice pairs nicely with Salling’s.

On to the mash-ups, Idina Menzel (Shelby) and Matthew Morrison (Will) sang a medley Lady Gaga’s “You And I” and the Eddie Rabbitt/Crystal Gayle duet “You And I.” On paper, one wouldn’t think this could work, but surprisingly it does. I’m not sure that I’m quite sold on the pairing of Menzel and Morrison as duet partners, however. That said, I liked that Menzel had the bulk of the mash-up, because she really redeemed herself from season one’s recording of Gaga’s “Poker Face,” of which I was never a huge fan. Overall, I found the double dose of “You And I” to be a success.

Monteith and Naya Rivera (Santana) squared off on a mash-up of Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and Blondie’s “One Way or Another.” I think these two songs worked really well together, and I love how Glee chose to intertwine them. Also, the right singers were chosen for the lead vocals. Rivera, when given suitable material, has really been able to assert her character into each song and really own it. And I liked Monteith’s vocal performance on this track. We don’t always hear him sing songs with bigger, drawn-out notes, and I thought he pulled them off nicely.

Monteith and Damian McGinty (Rory) took the lead on the Hall & Oates mash-up of “I Can’t Go For That” and “You Make My Dreams.” Both Monteith and McGinty, along with supporting vocals from Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina) and Dianna Agron (Quinn) sounded pretty good. Personally, I think that tone of Monteith’s voice is good match for these songs. It’s a fun, upbeat, sing-a-long kind of mash-up. Was it on par with the mash-ups from previous seasons? Eh, that’s debatable. 

The star of the show, though, was the Adele mash-up of “Rumour Has It” and “Someone Like You.” Amber Riley (Mercedes) and Rivera did an absolutely fabulous job with the lead vocals on this one. With performances like this, Rivera is easily ruling the vocal roost this season. The emotion in this particular vocal performance was unparalleled. And Glee’s fans definitely responded in kind: it hit number one on the iTunes chart.

Music from Glee’s “Mash Off” is available on iTunes.

 

Photo credit: Frank Micelotta/FOX

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About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is an Entertainment Writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has interviewed a variety of people from across the entertainment spectrum, including singer-songwriter/Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas, Andrew Dost from the Grammy Award-winning band fun., singer-songwriter Christina Perri, and acclaimed writer-director Derek Cianfrance.