Thursday, September 8, 2011

New dressing to old songs

Glee, the TV series about a group of outcast teenagers that have to survive High School in a public school in Ohio, U.S., is more than just a TV series about teenage drama. It tells the story of 10 boys and girls that take part in the school Glee Club, a show choir club. Differently from other TV shows, the key element that is responsible for the great number of people watching it every week is... music.
In each episode, the characters have to sing famous and well-known songs. One of the best features of the series is the new arrangement given to these old songs. These new versions are often more modern, to make the songs more interesting to their young audience as they did with Dancing with myself. Originally sung by Generation X in 1980 and Billy Idol in 1981, the song was faster and more aggressive, which was the style in fashion at the time it was released. Glee changed it into a slower version, performed by Artie, a paraplegic who wishes he could be a dancer. It sounds great!

Another strategy used in this series is the merging of two different songs that have similarities in melody or lyrics into a new one. They call those songs mash ups. Some songs are easy to mash up such as Living on a Prayer and Start me up, sung by Bon Jovi and The Rolling Stones respectively, since it’s clear that two rock ‘n’ roll songs would go great together. When it comes to lyrics, it’s not as easy but they still manage to do a great job in Umbrella/Singing in the Rain, merging a recent pop hit by Rihanna and a classic tune performed by Gene Kelly in the 1952 musical.
Finally, the series also brings new life to popular songs by having new voices singing them. The version of Katy Perry’s pop hit Teenage Dream increased its sales on the Itunes store in more than 100%. If you’re not a fan of the series, but enjoy listening to good music, you should give it a try and listen to the songs;  they’re available on youtube. If you’re ‘Gleek’,  a fan of the Glee series, click on the comments button to tell us what your favourite Glee version/song is.