We talk a lot on the podcast about the music, in context with the show, but let’s take a look at where that music came from and what makes it so special (or not so special, when the case may be).
Jar of Hearts
Written by Christian Perri, Drew Lawrence, Barrett Yeretsian
Most Notably Performed by Christina Perri
Performed on GLEE by Lea Michelle
This was one originally on Perri’s The Ocean Way Sessions EP, and it eventually appeared on her debut album, Lovestrong, back in 2010. Perri says it’s about an ex-boyfriend who’s trying to reconnect.
Josh Note: Way too many songs ask “Who do you think you are?” It’s a cliched question that’s lost all meaning. “Who you think you are?!” “Obviously, I’m the triumphant Jar King Collector of Hearts!” And, that video is hilarious. It’s a ghosty-lusty-zombie-post-apocalyptic ballet.
Rolling In the Deep
Written by Adele, Paul Epworth
Most Notably Performed by Adele
Performed on GLEE by Lea Michelle and Jonathan Groff
If you haven’t heard this in the last six months, you’ve been living under a rock, beneath a house, on the moon. Twice Platinum in the US, Platinum all over Europe (oddly enough, not in the UK, where Adele is from). The song is about scorned love and a couple unable to reconcile. So, it’s about the same thing as every other Adele song.
Josh Note: I’d’ve enjoyed this much more before if Haley Reinhart hadn’t crushed it on American Idol a couple weeks ago. But, doing it as a duet was pretty cool.
Written by Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Stig Anderson
Most Notably Performed by ABBA
Performed on GLEE by Amber Riley and Naya Rivera
Whether you went to prom in 1981 or 2011, they played this song. It’s safe to say that every moment of every day, some where there is a prom or wedding or reunion or drag show that is performing this song. It’s gone to #1 in just about every country on the planet and it’s been covered a hundred times. But, it’s still catchy. Benny said it was “one of those songs where you know during the sessions that it’s going to be a smash hit.” Apparently, he knew right.
Josh Note: My favorite cover is a B-side by Alt-Country performer Robbie Fulks. And, if you lived in San Luis Obispo around 2000, you probably heard me play this in innumerable coffee shops.
Written by Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson
Most “Notably” Performed by Rebecca Black
Performed on GLEE by Kevin McHale, Chord Overstreet and Mark Salling
Heavily auto-tuned and lightly written, “Friday” made Rebecca Black a YouTube superstar in three days and an internet punchline on the fourth. 135-million views, millions of iTunes sales and covers by everyone from Nick Jonas to Katy Perry is nothing to shake a stick at, especially considering the song didn’t have the help of a major label or big-money maketing machine. Black’s mother paid $4,000 to ARK Music Factory in return for the recording and the video and even kept part of the rights!
Josh Note: The lyrics barely make any sense. She spends half of it just explaining the Gregorian calendar. Am I really spending the moments before I die listening to her debate which seat to sit in? My favorite cover is this one by Matt Mulholland.
Isn’t She Lovely
Written by Stevie Wonder
Most Notably Performed by Stevie Wonder
Performed on GLEE by Kevin McHale
So, yeah, he wrote it about his daughter, Aisha, and you can even hear her playing on the original recording. But, it’s still a great love song from one of the greatest records ever recorded, “Songs in the Key of Life.”
Josh Note: If you don’t like this song, I will fight you.
I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You
Written by Reggie Youngblood, Owen Holmes, Kevin Snow, Dawn Watley, Ali Youngblood
Most Notably Performed by The Black Kids
Performed on GLEE by Darren Criss
A band more noted for being noted than being good, they really get the deep catalog bump from this cover. You can find it on their 2008 album Partie Traumatic. Lead singer, Reggie Youngblood told Vice Magazine about the song: “Jacksonville is a sort of anomaly, in that despite being a somewhat culturally bereft city, we have amazing dance parties at which we dance like motherf*ckers. So, in this environment, I’ve repeatedly found myself in situations where girls love to dance with me (cos I can move, baby) but usually go home with someone else, who can’t dance for sh*t.”
Josh Note: I’m a sucker for dance punk. That is all.