Monday, June 9, 2014

A Definitive Ranking of the Glee Mash-Ups



I remember when Glee first began because I remember watching the pilot after it aired on FOX. My immediate thoughts were this: “This show will either be a colossal hit or a huge flop, cancelled after thirteen episodes.” I suppose that it’s evident, what happened to Glee, but know this: even when the writing failed (and boy did it take a nose dive right after the first season’s end), the music was always the unofficial star of this series. The music was what captivated us in the first place. We all hummed “Don’t Stop Believing” for weeks after the pilot aired and we became enamored with the covers of classic pop, rock, country, and Broadway hits that the cast performed. I don’t like Glee now, mainly because I don’t respect the writing at all or accept how they blatantly assassinated perfectly lovely characters, but I do still enjoy its music. And quite frankly, one of the greatest assets this show still has in its chamber is its mash-ups.

So I decided to make a definitive ranking of all of the Glee mash-ups on the series to date (hopefully I got them all but feel free to let me know if I missed one or two). Will you agree? Will you vehemently protest some of my decisions? Click below the cut to find out what I’ve ranked from worst to best!

39. Let's Have A Kiki/Turkey Lurkey Time

Between Sarah Jessica Parker singing and the absurdity that was this performance, I just had to rank it last. I wish I could say that I enjoy the mash-up or at least one of the songs within it, but I don’t. #sorrynotsorry

38. Nasty/Rhythm Nation

Glee 2.0 tackled Janet Jackson in a trippy, not-super-great mash-up. The dancing was pretty good but the performance was lacking and was very “Nasty”-heavy with “Rhythm Nation” kind of thrown in towards the end.

37. Americano/Dance Again

Kate Hudson is singing in this song and that is why it is ranked as low as it is. The dancing, once again, is pretty great and she’s super talented but I just can’t get aboard Hudson’s nasal and breathy voice.

36. I Still Believe/Super Bass

This wasn’t even a mash-up so much as Blaine singing and then getting interrupted by Sue and then KIND OF mashing it together at the end for about ten seconds. So there’s that.

35. Old Time Rock & Roll/Danger Zone

In and of themselves, these songs are pretty good. The reason that this particular mash-up (and a lot of these you’ll soon discover) is ranked as low as it is on the list is because it doesn’t FLOW as well as it could. The goal of a mash-up is to forget that there are two separate songs being spliced together. I was just really aware that there were two different songs being sung during this performance.

34. Centerfold/Hot in Here

Again: it’s not that this mash-up is BAD it’s just that it doesn’t flow well enough. But there is a lot of Sam in this song and performance so I guess that’s an upside.

33. Bye Bye Bye/I Want it That Way

Let’s not even discuss the absurdity that was the central conflict of “The Feud,” and instead discuss the mash-up of two of the greatest boy bands of all time. In all honesty, it was okay but not stellar. “Bye Bye Bye” and “I Want it That Way” didn’t necessarily flow as well as they could together (there’s an awkward transition between the first and second songs), this wasn’t a mash-up necessarily meant to BE a mash-up but rather a duel. And I guess that it worked.

32. Moves Like Jagger/Jumpin’ Jack Flash

The flow of “Moves Like Jagger” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great. The problem that I had with this song and with a lot of the mash-ups is that so many of them devote 90% of the song time to one song and then a few lines to the other. That’s what happened within this mash-up, making it very “Moves Like Jagger”-heavy (which is a song I like, but still).

31. The Bitch Is Back/Dress You Up

Now, this song was more balanced than most of the other Glee mash-ups I have mentioned thus far, but there wasn’t a huge “wow” factor within it, which is why it’s ranked so low. Don’t get me wrong – the vocals are good, but they’re not great.

30. Boys/Boyfriend

Blaine and Artie sing to Brittany and it’s fine and all, but it’s not the best mash-up the world has ever seen. (We’re moving into the “okay” territory of this list, if you couldn’t tell.)

29. I Can’t Go For That/You Make My Dreams

The “You Make My Dreams” portion of this song is more prevalent (the more catchy tune in the mash-up, arguably) and the mash-up itself is weighted more in that part than anything else. It’s not bad, by any means, but it’s also not anything to write home about.

28. Bamboleo/Hero

With half of the song being a Spanish one that I didn’t know, it makes sense that the second half would be an English song done by a Spanish singer (and the fact that the episode was titled “The Spanish Teacher” aided that). Again – this isn’t a BAD mash-up but it’s rather dull in comparison to a lot of the more risky/inventive mash-ups we’ll see listed.

27. Cherish/Cherish

The “Cherish/Cherish” mash-up isn’t bad at all. It’s a cutesy little song featuring Quinn, Blaine, Mercedes, etc. But it’s not the most exciting or inventive mash-up that has ever existed on Glee. It’s saccharine, but ultimately rather forgettable.

26. Hungry Like the Wolf/Rio

Look, this is a performance that contains Matt Bomer so I wish I could have placed it higher, but as a mash-up, the duet between Blaine and his brother is good but it’s nothing special. The transition between “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Rio” is a bit clunky, and though both are energetic songs, they just don’t seem like they fit together. But hey, Matt Bomer and Darren Criss, so.

25. Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend/Material Girl

The mash-up pulled straight from the pages of Moulin Rouge! was a great way to showcase some of the new Glee ladies. And why it’s technically not a Glee-created mash-up, it’s a great mash-up no less. The girls got a chance to showcase their personalities and vocal ranges in this fun tune. Though it’s not the best thing the show has ever done, it certainly is energetic and delectably fun to listen to.

24. The Way You Look Tonight/You’re Never Fully Dressed

It’s a tad cheesy in a makeover sequence, but the mash-up of “The Way You Look Tonight/You’re Never Fully Dressed” is also kind of endearing. Featuring SJP as Isabelle with Rachel and Kurt, this is a cutesy number that focuses on changing Rachel’s wardrobe and making her over. It’s a rather simple but playful mash-up and I think that it works because it’s not trying to be something that it isn’t.

23. Hair/Crazy In Love

The wildest and craziest foray into mash-up territory is brought to you by the episode “Hairography,” in which the glee club is trying to be something that they are not. They do this insane, hair-flipping mash-up that doesn’t remotely work when they perform it (everyone is rightfully horrified at their song choice) but is actually a really fun mash-up musically. (As an aside, “Imagine” is one of the best things this show has ever done and it’s also in this episode.)

22. Crazy/U Drive Me Crazy

I liked Jake and Marley from Glee 2.0, and I loved their duet mash-up of “Crazy/U Drive Me Crazy.” The emotion of the song was there, and it was simplistic in how it was mainly driven by an acoustic guitar. It’s sweet and simple but works because the songs fit well thematically and also that Jake and Marley swap songs at one point in the mash-up.

21. Don’t Stand So Close To Me/Young Girl

What’s better than the awkward forced mash-up sung to Rachel Berry by Will because of her crush on him? Nothing! Honestly, it’s a really good mash-up because it drives home the message that Will was intending to send, and also because the songs flow well together. And the fact that Emma begins to grow infatuated with Will as he continues to sing is just icing on the cake.

20. Borderline/Open Your Heart

A Finn/Rachel duet is the perfect way to kick off a mash-up, right? “Borderline/Open Your Heart” was a part of the big Glee Madonna episode and it was a sweet way to showcase both their emotions and vocals (Cory did a really good job on this one). It was a balanced duet and also a good mash-up.

19. Mr. Roboto/Counting Stars

I threw Skylar Astin’s guest stint as a rival glee club member onto this list not necessarily because the mash-up was flawless (it wasn’t) but because the transition between “Mr. Roboto” and “Counting Stars” was so flawless, it lands on my list. Also: Skylar Astin, y’all.

18. I Love New York/New York, New York

This New York-centric mash-up can be summed up in one word: fun. It’s not a stunning vocal performance that’ll earn any of the cast members recognition or awards but it is a great ensemble mash-up piece, which is something I enjoy.

17. Hit Me With Your Best Shot/One Way Or Another

Pit the brilliant Santana against Finn in a dodge ball match and you’ve got one of Glee’s most lively mash-ups to date. They really went on the nose with the “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” portion of the song, but it works – there’s a lot of energy and a lot of determination in the song that mirrors the characters’ emotions so it works as a mash-up.

16/15. Start Me Up/Livin’ On a Prayer & Stop! In the Name of Love/Free Your Mind

Back-to-back girl-driven New Direction mash-ups grace this list, but I called it a tie between the “Never Been Kissed” boys vs. girls mash-off.

First up: “Start Me Up/Livin’ On a Prayer” which is one of the greatest mash-ups the girls have done because… I mean, you’re combining Bon Jovi with The Rolling Stones so how could it be anything but amazing? The girls are utterly astounding and powerful in this mash-up which is why I like it so much. They’re tough and awesome.

The boys have an equally powerful mash-up in “Stop! In the Name of Love/Free Your Mind” and it’s also nice that this was their apology to Coach Beiste. The boys are nothing if not passionate and driven and it showed in this mash-up of songs.

14. Halo/Walking on Sunshine

What do you get when you have the girls of the glee club hopped up on pills? A mash-up of “Halo” and “Walking on Sunshine,” of course! This is a crazy, fun, upbeat, lively mash-up and really if you don’t dance in your seat along with it, something is wrong with you.

13. It’s My Life/Confessions Part II

“It’s My Life/Confessions Part II” was one of our first forays into mash-ups in the episode “Vitamin D” (remind me to re-watch season one of Glee soon because it had some gems). It featured the glee club boys performing a mash-up of two pretty great songs. The combination of these two high-energy pieces made for a pretty great mash-up.

12. One Less Bell to Answer/A House is Not a Home

I loved Kristin Chenoweth’s guest stint on Glee. I truly did. And the combination of “A House Is Not a Home” (the song Kurt sung earlier in the episode) and “One Less Bell to Answer” is beautiful. (As an aside, Chenoweth’s performance of “Home” in this episode one of my favorite songs this series has ever done, but that could be because I just love her and her insane soprano range a lot.) This is one of the best Glee mash-ups not because it’s particularly earth-shattering but because the performance of it is real and raw and honest and beautiful.

11. Anything Goes/Anything You Can Do

I remember watching The Glee Project and loving the real-life Rachel Berry, Lindsay Pearce. So naturally her mash-up of “Anything Goes/Anything You Can Do” lands itself near the top of my list. First of all, the mash-up is actually quite good. These are two songs that you wouldn’t expect to work as well as they do together, but they do. In a song all about proving yourself, the mash-up drives the point home that Harmony – Lindsay’s character – is a take-no-prisoners sort of performer and this genuinely intimidated Kurt and Rachel. Lindsay’s vocals shine and she proves that she can belt it out with the best of them. It’s a great mash-up and definitely one worth listening to.

10. You and I/You and I

I really loved this Will and Shelby duet because it was simple, powerful, and equally balanced both versions of the song “You and I.” With Will on the guitar and Shelby on the piano, how can you really go wrong, after all? The answer is that you cannot and this mash-up is vocally powerful and thematically powerful as the two glee club leaders try to direct their respective members to a peaceful (albeit fun and competitive) resolution in “Mash Off.”

9. Survivor/I Will Survive

The Troubletones should have performed “Rumour Has It/Someone Like You” and they would have won. Regardless, “Survivor/I Will Survive” is great, even if it isn’t as great or flawless as the other mash-ups. It’s energetic and really picks up when the ladies begin to tango that transitions into “Survivor.” Basically, I just miss the Troubletones because they were the best.

8. Thriller/Heads Will Roll

This Michael Jackson/Yeah Yeah Yeahs mash-up is one of the greatest of the show, mostly because of the showmanship in the performance on the football field during half-time. This is probably the most energetic out of all of the Glee mash-ups and one of the most energetic performances ever. Each person gives everything they have and the mash-up works well because the songs are incorporated without one trying to overshadow the other.

7. Singing In the Rain/Umbrella

I love that this mash-up had the thematic element of rain in common in both of its songs and though I’m not a huge fan of Gwyneth Paltrow, her vocals in this song weren’t actually terrible. And I love that Will got a chance to actually perform in a mash-up, which rarely happens. The entire glee club may act as background vocals but they are extremely integral to this awesome song and dance number. The mash-up is tight, harmony-wise and weaves both songs together quite nicely.

6. Fly/I Believe I Can Fly

This Glee performance was pretty flawless (in spite of the awkward censoring of part of “Fly”), as Blaine/Santana/Artie took the lead on the mash-up. This is a song that is on my running playlist because it’s a feel-good anthem and it’s also just a really FUN mash-up. The songs work seamlessly well together both tonally and also musically, which is why it makes it as high as it does on the list.

5. Homeward Bound/Home

This mash-up is Glee at its finest – the original cast (sans Rachel and Kurt) singing a mash-up together about being home and being with one another was utterly beautiful. The incorporation of “Home” into “Homeward Bound” was utterly flawless and it’s one of the few times in Glee history that a mash-up has made me feel nostalgic. It was a beautiful moment between the core cast and deserves to be ranked high on this list.

4. Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy

I’ll always love Rachel/Kurt duets and I love this one. It’s absolutely beautiful and slightly sad and slow and perfect. Rachel and Kurt’s voices have always complimented each other and this mash-up is no exception. But what I think makes this mash-up so fantastic is that for the majority of the song, Rachel is singing “Happy Days Are Here Again” and Kurt is singing “Get Happy.” Rather than trying to overlap the two, they simply use the mash-up to showcase each song and to show how well the two tracks complement each other. This results, as you have likely gathered, is one of my favorite Glee mash-ups.

3. Any Way You Want It/Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’

A good mash-up, as I’ve said before, will make you forget that you’re actually listening to a mash-up. When Glee mashed “Any Way You Want It” with “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’” for a Journey medley, I was thrilled. This is such a fun and upbeat mash-up that it may or may not be on my running playlist. The bridge between the first and second song in the mash-up is pretty flawless. Overall, this is just a wonderful example of how when Glee does something right, it can shine.

2. I Feel Pretty/Unpretty

This is a duet between Rachel and Quinn and though the message is a bit heavy-handed (it’s Glee, remember), the flow of the mash-up is so utterly beautiful that I forgive any message-related flaws. This is one of the only songs where I genuinely love Quinn’s voice and Rachel’s quiet intensity compliments the blonde’s breathy tone quite well. It’s one of the simplest but most lovely songs this show has ever done and it’s definitely one of the best mash-ups.

1. Rumour Has It/Someone Like You

This is, quite frankly, the best and strongest Glee mash-up. It combines two stellar Adele songs into one brilliant performance. Santana’s vocals during the “Don’t forget me, I’ll beg” lines in “Someone Like You” were wonderful. And the best part of this mash-up is the fact that you forget it’s actually a mash-up. Truthfully, whenever I heard “Someone Like You” or “Rumour Has It” on the radio after listening to this mash-up, I forgot that they were two separate songs. This mash-up is my favorite and I doubt anything will top it.

Okay, now that I’ve officially ranked the Glee mash-ups, take to the comments and let me know what you think. Do you agree or disagree? What would you rank as your favorite mash-up on the series to date? Let me know what you think. Until then, folks! :)

1 comment:

  1. Out of the ones that you put here which is most of the mash-ups my favorites which i could never choose between are Rumor Has It/Someone Like You, Start Me Up/Livin' On A Prayer, and Hit Me With Your Best Shot/One Way Or Another. but i enjoy listening to others more than these but while watching the show i was most invested and entertained with these.

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