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Songs and singers of Glee


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#901
Glorfindel

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I know you have a lot of stuff going on now but is it time for the Glee songs distribution chart ? :P

Calculated it 2 days ago (up till episode 15), but my husband is helping me putting it in more appealing graphics via Excell, a programm I don't understand, and let's just say that working on those graphics together is a nice test in how to be patient with your spouse (from both sides). :lol:
So I will have to postpone posting it till my hubby and I are on speaking terms again, and he helps me finish it. ;) (Just kidding)
The things I do for this thread. :rolleyes:

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No promises, but I hope to have a Saturday Nigh Glee-ver song review finished in a day or 2 too.
And inbetween lessons and life I am listening to Rachel's songs for her review, of course.

So many good things to look forward to. ^_^

#902
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I know you're working on reviews, Marie, but i have a really quick question: who would have have picked from New Directions to play Tony and Maria in West Side Story? Would you have gone with some combination of Rachel/Mercedes and Kurt/Blaine or someone else entirely?

#903
brisallie

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I read some of you can't stand Sarah Britghman and I'm agree. Actually the only song I like of her is this one with an argentinian singer:



and for those people who're from Latinamerica or Spain Do you remember when she sang "Hijo de la luna"? I totally rather Mecano's version, Ana's voice sound amazing there :D

#904
Glorfindel

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I know you're working on reviews, Marie, but i have a really quick question: who would have have picked from New Directions to play Tony and Maria in West Side Story? Would you have gone with some combination of Rachel/Mercedes and Kurt/Blaine or someone else entirely?

Since Tina is an alto/mezzo, and not a soprano (though she would fit the role of Maria very good in voice timbre) I'd go for Rachel as Maria. And Lea proved she can do more than belt, and sing very lyric and sweet in her high register.

And not even because I'm a Kurtsie, but I would have picked Kurt as Tony.
Chris has the right voice for Tony. And I'm ignoring that whole 'Kurt cannot pass for straight' crap.

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And yay, I will have new purpose to write some reviews here again real soon !!! :)
It's been too long.

#905
Emmett Bledsoe

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MARIIIIE hello :)

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#906
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^HIIIIIIiiiiii Harmony,

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Oh, I'm really excited about this..... :)

#907
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REVIEW: Saturday Night FeGlee-ver songs :

The second tribute episode of season 3 is dedicated to the album Saturday Night Fever.
I'm not old enough to have gone dancing in the 70's, but by the time I hit the dancefloor our local village's dance club still had a disco lighted floor and plenty of mirror balls, and it was awesome. Disco sucks but it is also a lot of fun. Glee flew in the original dance floor of the movie from New York. And it still works! That must have been quite a thrill for the cast, dancing on that floor.
They have the best job perks. ^_^
The 70’s and Saturday Night Fever: this means a lot of BeeGees songs. And BeeGees means….. guys singing in falsetto. Uh oh, poor cast. Between recording the songs of this episode and the next I bet some of them had quite a few anxiety attacks. They have to deliver what other people promise. And it's amazing how well they usually do deliver.

First Listen Friday this time around was quite a trip. Everyone was asking everyone who was singing in which BeeGees song. :blink:
It was so funny that it was almost impossible to recognize any one of them. I had to listen to enounciations and little trademarks of the singers and such, that didn't involve the normal recognizable giveaways in their voices, like timbre and vocal techniques. But eventually I got all the male singers right (yay for me!). I only messed up with Naya and Amber in 'Staying Alive', and that should tell you something about the studio tweeking required to recreate the BeeGees sound.

Of the 5 solo songs in this episode 4 of them were, how surprising, for the 4 most featured singers of Glee in this season. One of them knocked her solo out of the park, the other 3 were okay, but nothing special, imo, and it's no surprise that 2 of the songs I'm not enthusiastic about are BeeGees songs.


Sidenote:
There is confusion about the use of the term falsetto. I've come across this before in my reviews and while discussing music on this forum and elsewhere. There are 2 ways to produce the higher tones above the break point of the low register (chest voice), both of them are sometimes referred to as falsetto. Since this has been an ongoing discussion between vocal experts for decades, I'm not even going to try to explain the technical differences to you.
For this review a simple 'falsetto' it is, or sometimes 'high register'.
The low register is also called the chest voice. Sometimes the high register/falsetto gets called the head voice (especially for females), but since there is confusion about this term also (it could also mean the highest part of the chest voice of a man) I will not use that term either.
So:
- low register = chest voice.
- high register = falsetto. ;)


Non BeeGees songs:

Fortunately SNF also had some songs that were not sung by the BeeGees, and that made the task for the cast and music arrangers a lot easier. Of the 8 songs in this episode 3 of them were not BeeGees songs. The Trammps, Yvonne Elliman and KC and the Sunshine Band were all on the SNF album too. I will review these songs first.


Disco Inferno (DI) – Mercedes :

the Trammps:


Glee version:


Key change: + 3 semitones

Amber knocked this song out of the park. She gets the energy and the style of the song, and of course she has the voice.
Part of the purpose of the disco songs in their time was to keep the people on the dance floor and therefore inside the disco club, spending their money. That’s why there are all these repeats in these disco songs: they are recognizable and allows for the dancers to sing along and have fun. Another way to keep the dancers happy on the dance floor is make the songs long. The original Disco Inferno is 10 minutes long!

The Glee version is faster than the original, giving it more spice and energy. In a way it also reflects on how faster our pace of life has become since the 70’s.
Since the original is sung by a man ‘Disco Inferno’ was transposed upwards with 3 semitones, to accommodate Amber's higher voice, but it does not change the 'sound' of the song. I like how ‘gritty’ Amber sounds at some points, trying to come close to the original. And she belts really high without losing any power. Her interpretation and energy keeps the songs from becoming repetitive and boring.
Excellent job. :)

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If I Can’t Have You (IICHY) – Santana :

Yvonne Elliman:


Glee version:


Key change: 0

Yvonne Elliman is mostly known for her portrayal of Mary Magdalena in the Jesus Christ Superstar movie of 1973 (SNF was in 1977).
Naya did not do a bad job with IICHY, but I couldn't help but zone out everytime I tried to listen to the entire song. Part of that can be blamed on the repeating melody and lyrics (it's disco after all), but this entire episode had more songs with a lot of repeating in it, and bar one other song I could stay focused till the end of all of them.
'If I Can't Have You' is a bit dull, and besides the repetitive song itself, that's also to blame on Naya's singing: she sings all the notes just fine, but it doesn't spark (while the original does). There's not enough energy in her voice and I got distracted. Granted, during the scene in Glee I had the excuse of getting distracted by the gorgeous outfit Santana had on, but I couldn't even finish listening to the song on my earphones for this review without letting my mind drift off. Imo this was not one of Naya’s best songs.



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Boogie Shoes (BS) - Wade (Alex of TGP) :

KC and the Sunshine Band:


Glee version:


Key change: +2

This was one of the best performances of this episode.
I have not watched the Glee Project, but I did see 2 videos of Alex singing before his arrival on Glee. I was flabbergasted when I heard him sing, and puzzled, because his voice is just like his character, quite 'Unique'. Alex gets compared with Chris because he also has a high voice and likes to sing female songs. But that's where the comparison stops, imo.
Chris has an unusual high male voice, but it's still well within the male perimeters of vocal range. He uses countertenor techniques to reach the higher notes, meaning singing above his low register break point, in his high register, and by doing so he can sing female songs, but he still keeps a male timbre in his voice, especially in his low register. Alex’s timbre sounds like a woman and he can belt really, really high. He doesn’t have to go to his high register to ‘sound like a woman’.
One of the best methods to decide a voice type is the speaking voice (mind you: not always). Alex' speaking voice is much higher than Chris': he truly has a female vocal range. And when he sings he sounds very feminine in his total vocal range: his timbre is already that way, and it has soul to boot. Even when he's singing in low register you would not think that this is a man singing. Whether Alex' female timbre is a coincidence of nature, or something he wanted himself and carefully developed and nurtured throughout puberty is an interesting question.
And Alex can belt! In 'Boogie Shoes' he belts up to an Eflat (E5flat), which is very impressive (the famous belted tenor C is 3 semitones lower) not only for a man but for a woman too.
There's more: in 'Boogie Shoes' Alex sings an improvisation in high register that goes up to a Bflat, which is only 2 semitones lower than the soprano high C! And he does that with ease and power.

Apart from Alex's special voice there is also his stage presence. 'Boogie Shoes' was dynamic and entertaining, with energetic dancing and good facial expressions.
Jesse should be proud of him. If he lets Wade perform at Nationals the ND better step up their game. ^_^



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The BeeGees:

When I heard that Glee would do the BeeGees I frowned, because I'm a big BeeGees fan. Their music is quite unique and their sound is hard to cover.
I love the brothers Gibb's falsetto voices, and their 'normal' low register voices are very nice too. They actually sing a lot more in their low register than you might expect (especially before the disco 70's), but because their lower registers voices also have that 'sharper' timbre, sometimes the register switches they make during songs don't get noticed by laymen.
Being 3 brothers singing together the BeeGees were able to create a unique and very homogeneous sound in their harmonies. Sometimes on Glee we hear a duet and comment on how well the singers sound together: the blending of their voices is what makes that combination special. Siblings oftentimes have that special magic of blending voices: their voices are physically a lot alike, because they share the same genes, but they are still also physically somewhat different from one another, unless they are identical twins (and Maurice and Robin were not identical twins), creating some variety in tone and color alongside the many similarities.
No wonder this sound is difficult to imitate, and tbh: I had my doubts about this Glee tribute. :unsure:

But another trademark of the BeeGees offered some compensation and solace for the Glee remakes. Besides using their falsettos a lot, the BeeGees layered harmonies are a big part of their 'sound'. Usually they are simple harmonies in thirds and sixths, with just their 3 voices. Oftentimes one of them sings in low register, one in falsetto, and one mixing it up. But they also had harmonies when all of them sing in either low register or falsetto.
Thanks to these harmonies and some 70's sound effects (echo) Glee could use a trick to enhance the sound and to give the less trained falsetto singers of Glee a boost and more backup: dubbing. By dubbing the vocals, and layering the lead voice with multiple harmonies, and by making the voices 'broader' with echo effects they could create a 'full' sound, masking the voices of the untrained falsetto singers of the cast.
Not to say that the cast did bad with their falsettos. On contrary: they did surprisingly well, under the circumstances. :)

You Should Be Dancing (YSBD) - Blaine (Mike+Brittany):

BeeGees:


Glee version:


Key change: -1

Of all the BeeGees songs I know I think I dislike this one the most, and of course Glee had to cover it. :lol:
Darren's falsetto is a bit hazy, and he can't put much power behind it, but he gets the style and the 'groove' of the 70's. Fortunately the BeeGees style-like dubbing and echoing help to give the higher parts of his vocals more power and substance.
When Darren switches back to his low register (on "My woman keeps me warm.") his voice gets stronger and more gritty, and I like his voice like that.
I can't tell if it's really Harry singing on the "What you're doing on your back?" parts. I think I can definitely hear Heather, but with all the dubbing and echoing it's hard to tell, and I don't know Harry's voice that well. (I think I can maybe hear Chris too, but I'm not sure.)
There's not much more to tell, because the song is so repetitive I can't listen to the entire thing without losing some braincells along the way. :blink:

I do wonder who Blaine's "woman" is, though? :huh:



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Night Fever (NF) - Will (+Joe) :

BeeGees:


Glee version:


Key change: 0

Matt’s falsetto in ‘Kiss’ (in season 2) didn’t impress me. But when he sang ‘Fix You’ early season 3 he had improved his falsetto a lot. In ‘Night Fever’ I was pleasantly surprised at how clear and solid it has now become. Training and improving your vocal techniques, and Matt as a Broadway singer will make sure that he keeps training his voice, does pay off. -_-
Well done Matt, and I hope they will give you a Broadway song soon on Glee (and not more rapping!).
The low register parts of NF are done by new guy Joe (TGP’s Samuel), and even though Blaine was asked to dance along, I cannot hear Darren on the track, although he could be part of the backup vocals. I can hear Chris singing the falsetto lines that Joe lipsynchs on the show. Untill someone in the production of Glee tells me otherwise, I will stay convinced that this is Chris.



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How Deep Is Your Love (HDIYL) - Rachel :

BeeGees:


Glee version:


Key change: -3 (+9)

Another solution to the BeeGees falsetto problem would be to let the female singers sing their songs, since they are more used to singing this high. They did that in 'Staying Alive' with Mercedes and Santana, and that worked out well. However, unfortunately the only solo BeeGees song they had a woman sing was absolutely not suitable for a girl's voice: Rachel's 'How Deep Is Your Love'.
Lea sings HDIYL almost an octave higher than the BeeGees version. They transposed 'How Deep Is Your Love' down with 3 semitones, but in fact it is not lower, since Lea octavates the song (singing it one octave higher). Lea is actually singing HDIYL 9 (!) semitones higher than the original.
Because of the key change Lea has to partly sing in low register and partly in high register, whereas the BeeGees keep in low register till "And it's me you need to show: how deep is your love?". Lea’s rendition therefore sounds very different from the original, changing its style, but it's not unpleasant. I actually like it a lot. :)

However: after the key change Lea still has to sing a high E5. Singing a number of notes on the same tone at that height is difficult for a woman, it could become shrill easily. The BeeGees can pull it off because of the lower key (not so much strain on the voice), and the surprising falsetto effect they are famous for (they jump to falsetto on "show"), but Lea has to sing in a high part of her vocal range (more strain), and she can't use the surprise effect of falsetto because women are supposed to mask the break point and not use the switching of registers as an audible effect. She has to balance between making those notes homogeneous and fitting in her overall timbre, and giving it the special effect and power that is in the original.
As a singer myself I wanted to point this out because whatever sounds a bit 'off' in HDIYL (I’ve seen it described as Lea straining on the high notes, when it’s just different vocal techniques) is not Lea's fault. This is bad music arranging. If Lea or any other female cast member had to sing this song the key should be set lower, so those high notes wouldn't stand out so much. Or the BeeGees-like backup vocals had to be left out, because the backup singers have to sing really high now, making it sound shrill, on top of Lea's beautiful softer vocals.



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More Than a Woman (MTAW) - Finn (Kurt+Santana+Blaine) :

BeeGees:


Glee version:


Key change: 0

For me the biggest surprise of the episode was Cory's falsetto. I think Cory is a better singer than he gets credit for in the fandom (and on Glee lately), but even I was surprised with his falsetto in his BeeGees songs, singing them in the original key (as a baritone)! His falsetto is better in 'Staying Alive', but I really enjoyed it in 'More Than a Woman' too.
It's almost clear, and quite 'sharp', with good articulation and 'bounce'. He's straining a bit in the highest notes (singing up to a F5sharp!), but I cannot stress enough how hard this was for the guys. So well done, Cory. ^_^
Naya's, Chris' and Darren's chorus backup is beautiful. I like the harmonies of this song, they are very warm. They are multi layered and sung in both high register (Naya and Chris) and low register (Darren and Chris), which gives it a little more depth than just falsetto voices. And I still can't get over the fact that they have Chris Colfer at their disposal and all he gets to be seen singing in a BeeGees heavy episode is the line "More than a woman to me" to his boyfriend a dozen times.



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Staying Alive (SA) - Finn, Mercedes and Santana :

BeeGees:


Glee version:


Key change: 0

Besides ‘Boogie Shoes’ of TGP’s Alex I think ‘Staying Alive’ is the best song of this episode. All 3 lead singers were used very well and the song is lively and energetic, even though it’s slower (!) than the original.
Cory’s falsetto is strong and its timbre blends really good with Amber’s and Naya’s voices. Who would have thought that? We already knew that Naya and Amber sound well together, but I really like this ‘Staying Alive’ combination of them and Cory. Their harmonizing is great.
At first (before I saw ‘Staying Alive’ in the show) I mixed the voices of Amber and Naya up in the first verse. There was definitely some tweeking done in the studio, and the dubbing is confusing. But both Amber and Naya were able to put that BeeGees ‘sharpness’ into their voices, and I really love their vocals. ND singing the lower parts completes the whole.
This is a very good cover.

And dahum, don’t they all look hot in those John Travolta suits? Maybe they should consider wearing them at Nationals. Anything is better than those golden bowties and suspenders. :P


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Final remark :

In my singing career I have had to sing songs that were not suited for my voice and/or in the wrong key. All I could do was give it all I got and hope for the best. In my teaching years I discovered that I can enjoy the effort and progress a student makes, and judge a performance very positively on those merits, even though the student’s rendition was not perfect.
What I’m trying to say is: it isn’t just the singer and the final result you can judge a performance on. The circumstances are important as well.
This episode, and the next episode too, have put the Glee cast members in very difficult positions. RIB can plan all the tribute episodes of iconic singers they want, but they have to understand that they are working with real people who have amazing voices but are still human and cannot sing every song on Ryan Murphy’s iPod just like that. With all the different styles they have to sing, the little preparation/practice and the limited amount of studio recording time the Glee cast gets it’s a small miracle what they are able to pull off, and RIB do not realize enough what an important part their talented cast members play in Glee’s success. :wub:

I can harshly judge the falsettos of the male singers, and there is certainly fault to find. But as a voice teacher I know how hard this was on them. Singing falsetto when you haven't trained to do so before is difficult. Singing a good falsetto when you're not trained is even harder. It's like taking all your vocal techniques up to another level through a very narrow and tight rabbit's hole. Once you're there you have to find a perfect balance between squeezing enough to make a sound, and relaxing enough to produce a sound. If you don't squeeze enough you get a haziness/wheeziness in your voice that will reduce the power in it.
Whoever thought of this SNF tribute on Glee had no idea what he was asking from his (male) cast members. Singing along with the BeeGees at a party is one thing. Covering their songs on a tv show with millions of viewers, getting judged by the media and a very vocal and demanding fandom is quite another.
And I simply cannot believe that they have 2 (3 counting Damian) male singers in their cast with very well developed falsettos, Chris and Kevin, and they hardly used Chris (only on harmonies) and Kevin not at all. What on earth were they thinking? <_< (And I'll ask myself a very similar question next episode.)

But in my opinion: Cory, Matt and Darren did a good job. ^_^



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As I said: I'm a BeeGees fan, but I think that the SNF album had some of their worst songs on it. I'll take I Started a Joke and You Win Again over any Saturday Night Fever BeeGees song. But the more I listened to the songs for this review the more I was reminded why I like the BeeGees so much (still don't like the SNF songs though :P ).
Somewhere in the early 90's I bought tickets to go see the BeeGees live when they came to my country. Unfortunately Barry Gibb had a heartatttack around that time and their tour got cancelled. How sad and ironic that he, the oldest of them all, may now be the last Gibb brother still standing. :(

This one is for Robin Gibb and his family, I wish them strength in the days to come:

Ordinary Lives:



#908
14istheluckynumber

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wonderful review, as always. glee forum is lucky to have you.

#909
Moni

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I think only Cory, Naya and Chris are singing "More Than A Woman". Blaine, Brittany, Tina and Mike may look like they are singing, but I don't think the actors are really singing part of the song.

#910
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Loved your review. Definitely agreed with you on IICHY, IMO it's probably Naya's worst song to date. LOVED Stayin Alive though. Disco Inferno was my favourite song of the episode.

#911
InigoMontoya

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As I said: I'm a BeeGees fan, but I think that the SNF album had some of their worst songs on it. I'll take I Started a Joke and You Win Again over any Saturday Night Fever BeeGees song. But the more I listened to the songs for this review the more I was reminded why I like the BeeGees so much (still don't like the SNF songs though :P ).


You're very scary the way you get in my head. "You Win Again" is up there with "The Winner Takes It All" as my definition of a perfect song and I love "I Started a Joke" although maybe I'm fonder of "First of May." I hated the Bee Gees disco stuff, even when it can be infuriatingly catchy.

Super review. Thanks Marie.

#912
fantastica

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thank you marie for the review. you never disappoint. ;)

#913
Glorfindel

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#914
bubblezzz

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Thanx for all of your reviews

#915
Emmett Bledsoe

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Marie, luffly as usual, I love it :)

Might I say I'm super glad you touched upon the technicalities of falsetto, as well as defended the cast with theirs? I'm definitely not a fan of falsettos (basses are hot) but at the same time I appreciate it so much given how difficult it is for many to be singing that high. I have to say, while Cory's definitely wasn't shockingly good, I was incredibly impressed with how pleasant and un-shrill it became, especially in the 5s. Never expected it of him, and Darren's as well was stronger than I had expected it to be.

On an off topic note, have you ever heard of Vitas? I can't decide if I like him or not but I always turn his videos on to be flabbergasted and slightly scared...I forced a few members of the forum to watch his Opera No. 2 and they hate me now :mellow:

And I'm glad you mentioned Lea's solo, normally I like them but this one I was cringing at the arrangements, though she did a fair job with the vocals. To me, that E5 sounded quite...difficult after how soft the rest of the song was, and I feel like if sung live it wouldn't be easy at all, especially to keep switching between head and chest. I didn't feel like there was really a grey area where she could be in mixed voice, and I'm sure that could've helped.

Spoiler


Love your reviews!!

#916
Glorfindel

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On an off topic note, have you ever heard of Vitas? I can't decide if I like him or not but I always turn his videos on to be flabbergasted and slightly scared...I forced a few members of the forum to watch his Opera No. 2 and they hate me now :mellow:

Yes, I've heard of Vitas. And he gives me the same feelings you have: he's awesome and scary at the same time. :P I can hear his skills, but I don't feel any emotion. But he's fascinating nonetheless.

Don't let Chris Colfer see this. :ph34r:

And I'm glad you mentioned Lea's solo, normally I like them but this one I was cringing at the arrangements, though she did a fair job with the vocals. To me, that E5 sounded quite...difficult after how soft the rest of the song was, and I feel like if sung live it wouldn't be easy at all, especially to keep switching between head and chest. I didn't feel like there was really a grey area where she could be in mixed voice, and I'm sure that could've helped.

I don't really get why she kept switching registers all the time. To me it felt that they wanted to imitate the 'breathiness' of the BeeGees, and Lea switching to head voice a lot was done for that purpose. If she had used mixed voice it would have been more solid, more 'Rachel'-like.
What she did was skillful, but it just didn't fit.

Spoiler

I hope so, but the song covers are still not confirmed on Amazon, are they? I find the new songslist.....confusing. :unsure:
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#917
Emmett Bledsoe

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also asdkjfhadsl Chris Colfer :P It's my greatest dream to see Kurt cover Wuthering Heights, complete with the red gown and dance, just because I can already see him making his intense face during it and just be sooooo hilarious with the dancing :D

#918
Glorfindel

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also asdkjfhadsl Chris Colfer :P It's my greatest dream to see Kurt cover Wuthering Heights, complete with the red gown and dance, just because I can already see him making his intense face during it and just be sooooo hilarious with the dancing :D

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:D

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Sara2009

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Was your question of Matt about the original 'Phantom of the Opera'?
If so, then yes, he could be Raoul, his vibrato and warmth would be lovely on the songs. Although he's getting a bit old for that part now, imo (sorry Matt).


Could he be the Phantom, or would his voice not be right for that?

On another note, I've always wanted to hear Matt sing one of the baker's songs from "Into the Woods." I have no idea how that might fit into a "Glee" story line, but I think his voice is perfect for it. I might be wrong about that, though.

#920
Phylos

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Wonderful review as always Marie, thanks for your hard work.

(basses are hot)


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