Follow Us on Twitter

Glee The Music Presents The Warblers (Review)

Glee: The Music Presents The Warblers

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

I GUESS it was kind of inevitable that Glee would eventually put out a whole album from The Warblers, the season 2 rivals to the principal New Directions cast members. And it’s kind of inevitable, too, that it’s just as high quality… if not necessarily as eclectic or fun.

Comprised of 13 tracks featuring The Dalton Academy Warblers, a male a capella group starring Darren Criss, Chris Colfer and the Tufts University Beelzebubs, the collection features hits such as Destiny Child’s Bills, Bills, Bills, Pink’s Raise Your Glass and Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know.

Following their Glee debut earlier in the season, with a cover of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, the Dalton Academy Warblers enjoyed the best first week sales of any Glee track to date.

Since then, songs from the Warblers have sold 1.3 million tracks to add to the over 26 million singles and 10 million Glee albums sold world-wide.

So, like we said… inevitable.

But this is a slick package and one that demonstrates both the vocal versatility of the a capella act, as well as their limitations. It also features two album exclusives – the much talked about opening performance of Barbra Streisand’s What Kind of Fool from the 2011 MusiCares Person of the Year gala and a never before heard rendition of Rod Stewart’s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?.

So, what are the successes? Teenage Dream, the track that kick-started the new Glee music phenomenon, is certainly up there (a lively interpretation of a fun pop track), as is their equally inspired cover of Pink’s Raise Your Glass.

An emotional take on The Beatles’ Blackbird, featuring Colfer on lead vocals, is also brilliant, as is their theatrical take on Wings’ Silly Love Songs and a breezy duet between Colfer and Criss on Amimal.

Criss, whose vocal prowess takes centre stage throughout, also shines on Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know, which is suitably subtle, and he also does justice to Streisand’s What Kind of Fool.

But if there are criticisms, they probably stem from two things: firstly, the fact that, in many cases, The Warblers are used as the crux for a lot of the show’s more emotional moments involving Kurt’s sexuality. Hence, there’s less breeziness to be found, making it more of a mood record and, therefore, less diversity of tone.

The a capella nature of the delivery also finds them somewhat restricted and you can have too much of a good thing across a lengthy album. They do well to mix it up where possible and every song has merit in some way (not least in Criss’s vocals).

But where New Directions compilations benefit from a much broader mix of styles, songs and vocals, The Warblers have much less diversity and you really, really have to like the format. It’s still good but just not as great as the New Directions.

Download picks: Raise Your Glass, Teenage Dream, Blackbird, Animal, What Kind of Fool

Track listing:

  1. Teenage Dream
  2. Hey, Soul Sister
  3. Bills, Bills, Bills
  4. Silly Love Songs
  5. When I Get You Alone
  6. Animal
  7. Misery
  8. Blackbird
  9. Candles
  10. Raise Your Glass
  11. Somewhere Only We Know
  12. What Kind of Fool
  13. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?