Back in the days when MTV was more than just the channel that turned knocked-up teen mothers into stars it served an altogether different purpose in this world. Not only did they place music videos but they also took what would have been mediocre (some say terrible) songs and turned them into the hottest hits of the day.
Does this sound like a formula we have seen somewhere else lately? Yes, the musical wizards on the hit TV show “Glee” have a knack for rescuing the most banal or trite pop confectionary from oblivion and turning it into something far more rewarding to the listener.
Sometimes they even turn these songs into pop culture landmarks as you will soon learn with this list of ten songs that were rescued by their inclusion on the hit Fox television show “Glee.” Can you guess which ones made the list? No, they can’t all be by Britney Spears.
Teenage Dream (Katy Perry)-Upon its initial release this song was notable for being the best track on Katy’s hugely disappointing second album but when “Glee’s” Darren Criss covered it this song became a pop culture landmark. Yes, dear readers, this is the first song to reach number one that is sung by a man and directed romantically at a man. Don’t you love how they just snuck that past viewers and listeners?
Toxic (Britney Spears)-Slow it down, jazz it up and add in a saucy hat/sweater vest combination and you have a totally “Glee” reimagining of this cheesy Britney Spears pop hit.
Hey Soul Sister (Train)-Further proof that Darren Criss can take the most banal pop or rock song and turn it into something special. “Glee” producers were smart to sign him (and his character Blaine) to a multi-season contract.
Just the Way You Are (Bruno Mars)-When Bruno sings this song it just sounds like a rehash of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight” but thanks to its clever inclusion in the “Furt” episode it has been reborn as an anthem of inclusion for everyone.
Taking Chances (Celine Dion)-When Celine recently recorded this song it sounded like the creepy one night stand confessions of a 40-something cougar. But with Lea Michelle’s pipes and more youthful energy she pulled this song out of Adult Contemporary and into the Top 40.
No Air (Jordin Sparks)-Just one in a long line of Finn/Rachel duets and they improve on this Jordin Sparks song just by not singing it with Chris Brown.
Gives You Hell (All American Rejects)-The original is yet another whiny emo/rock band ode to a girl who has done a man wrong. Lea Michele (Rachel) deftly turned the song into a female self-empowerment anthem that proved to be one of the TV show’s biggest hits.
Physical (Olivia Newton John)-The old version was a camp classic with a video so homoerotic that it was rather scandalous for its era. But turning it into an Olivia Newton John/Sue Sylvester duet the song played perfectly as the anthem for the over the top Cheerleading coach with the acerbic wit.
Hate on Me (Jill Scott)-Now, I am in no way saying that this is a horrible song but I fear Jill Scott’s vocals were overwhelmed by the powerful sentiments expressed in her lyrics. Mercedes, however, had no problems bringing the vocal flavor and range that we have come to expect from her week after week.
Singin’ in the Rain/Umbrella (Gene Kelly/Rihanna)-Actually, I love both of these songs but the reason I included this track in the list is that they are both popular with very disparate age groups. Older people love “Singin’ in the Rain” while their grandkids love Rihanna. As people of all ages enjoy watching this TV show it miraculously got young and old Americans to agree on something.