Glee: The Music, Showstoppers [plus The Power of Madonna] (Columbia)
There's a little something for everyone on this third installment of music from the hit FOX show. Music spanning nearly eight decades from Broadway is represented. Among the contemporary tunes are "Home" (from The Wiz), which Kristin Chenoweth delivers to maximum effect and "I Dreamed a Dream" (from Les Mis) which Idina Menzel and Lea Michele deliver with clarion intensity. In the more classical vein are such standards as "Lady Is a Tramp" (performed in a swell contemporary jazz arrangement by Mark Salling and Amber Riley) and "Rose's Turn" (from Gypsy), which, thanks to Chris Colfer's sure vocals, sears and soars.
The selections from the world of pop music are equally diverse. Michele and Jonathan Groff are particularly effective with Lionel Richie's hit ballad "Hello," while series regular Jane Lynch, paired with guest star Olivia Newton-John, bring new life to the latter's disco era hit "Physical." There are also two terrific dance tracks on the disc: Men Without Hat's "Safety Dance" (featruring great lead vocals from Kevin McHale) and Parliament's "Give Up the Funk" (which is led by Colfer and Riley).
Groff, Michele, Salling, and Cory Monteith bring Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (which became part of the score of Broadway's Dance of the Vampires) vividly to life. Similarly, the Burt Bacharach-Hal David standard "A House is Not a Home" (now interpolated into Promises, Promises) can be found on the disc - as both a duet for Monteith and Colfer and in a haunting medley performed by Chenoweth and Matthew Morrison, where the tune is paired with another Bacharach-David standard, "One Less Bell to Answer."
This third volume of music from the series has been released in standard (14 track) and deluxe (20 track) editions, and the additional cost for the latter release is certainly worth it. The abbreviated release doesn't contain either "Home" or "Rose's Turn" Also unique to the deluxe version are "Loser," "Give Up the Funk," "Beth" and "Poker Face."
In addition to these discs, Columbia also recently released The Power of Madonna, a seven-track disc that highlights the music which was part of the show's all-Madonna episode on April 20. Some of the superstar's best-known songs are represented here, and whether it's Michele and Monteith's exceptional work on a medley of "Borderline" and "Open Your Heart" or Lynch, Riley and Colfer's electrifying "Vogue," this disc thoroughly satisfies.