NOTE: Wrote this one ages ago, and apparently never posted it. Get your flashback on!
This episode brought us our first round of Mash-Ups, a trend that’s continued to inspire the show and divide the fans. Either way, this was a fun one to watch. It only had two numbers, but they’re some of the show’s most memorable. Let’s take a look.
“It’s My Life” / “Confessions Part II”
Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Max Martin / Usher Raymond, Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox
Performed Most Notably by Bon Jovi / Usher
Performed on GLEE by New Directions’ Boys
“It’s My Life” was Bon Jovi’s first single off of the album Crush, from 2000. It’s, arguably, their most successful single, post their 1980’s hair-metal roots, and features several of the band’s trademarks: an anthemic chorus, Sambora’s talk box and the mention of Tommy and Gina from Livin’ on a Prayer.
“Confessions Part II” tells the heart-warming story of a man confessing to his girl that he’s impregnated his mistress. It’s a continuation of “Confessions Part I” where the guy talks about the hook-up, itself. Usher insists the lyrics aren’t based on real events, but the single did reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in 2004.
Josh Note: I’ve never been totally sold on mash-ups as anything more than a novelty. I mean, it’s one thing to sample a song (or lots of songs), deconstructing them and creating something new and (hopefully) greater than the sum of its parts. But, a mash-up is really just taking two recognizable things and sandwiching them together. The best ones are like Peanut Butter & Jelly, two great tastes and combine to create depth and dynamics, but the worst are like Peanut Butter and Pickles. You taste the Peanut Butter and you taste the Pickles, but, mostly, you taste crap.
“Halo” / “Walking on Sunshine”
Written by Evan Bogart, Beyonce Knowles and Ryan Tedder / Kimberley Rew
Performed Most Notably by Beyonce / Katrina and the Waves
Performed on GLEE by New Directions’ Girls
“Halo” was released to mainstream radio (as a grown, white male from Southern California, I am legally restricted from saying “it dropped”) in 2009, the fourth single from Beyonce’s third album, “I Am… Sasha Fierce.” With melancholy lyrics and moderate tempo, co-writer Evan Bogart said it was inspired by Ray LaMontagne’s Shelter.
Kimberley Rew isn’t the Katrina of Katrina and the Waves, though he was in the band (that’s right, he) and he wrote this song for the band’s debut full-length album from 1983. It only reached #9 in the U.S., but would go on to appear in countless movies and TV shows, with royalties estimated at “$1-million per year for the ten years ending in 2010.” It’s been called “the crown jewel of EMI’s catalog.”
Josh Note: I can smell a Ryan Tedder song from a mile away. Personally, I think they all sound the same, but the biggest dust-up was in 2009, when people complained that Halo sounded too much like Kelly Clarkson’s Already Gone, also written by Tedder. The former was a much bigger hit (and, arguably, a better song), but you can’t deny the similarity. I mean, it’s not Tik Tok / California Gurls, but far too close for comfort.
Other Josh Note: I was in a movie theatre the opening night of American Psycho (yeah, I’m an old-school Bale fan; straight up Newsies, yo). The reviews had said that the movie swung for the fences to re-create the 1980’s. And, on the drive to the theatre, I said “If they’re doing the ’80’s, they have to play ‘Walking on Sunshine.'” You can bet they did, while scrolling the Manhattan skyline and wearing a piano-key necktie. (I made up the last one.)