I must admit that the second season of Glee held some ups and downs for me, and there was even a time when I temporarily quit watching the show after the alcohol episode, which I thought did not demonstrate values that should be present in a show marketed for teens. But I quickly got over that and caught up with the episodes, and while some did not appeal to my particular tastes (The Britney tribute was a bit forced in my opinion but well deserved, and the Bieber segment was kinda blah), the show still maintained its standards of awesomeness by going one level higher and producing original songs. But more than that, the writers successfully retained their consistency in crafting a solid storyline that addresses issues affecting teens of today — peer pressure, bullying, sexuality, love, loss and family, and how the characters deal with these challenges in different ways. I also appreciated the fact that more focus has been directed to New Directions’ other members (Santana, Mike, Britney) who were pretty much glorified back up dancers in the first season.
Enough about that, Glee is first and foremost about the music. Here is, in my opinion, the best songs performed this season on this top rated show.
1. Born This Way: From the episode with the same title, New Directions paid homage to eccentric music genius Lady Gaga in this performance of her hit which carries the message of accepting who you are, faults and all. In this number, members of the Glee Club wear white shirts that reflect the character that best identifies them, and sets them apart from most people.
2. Get Happy; For Good: I placed these two songs in a single category because they were both duets performed by Rachel Berry with Kurt Hummel. The first was performed in episode 4 (Duets) wherein Kurt finds it difficult to find a duet partner for their Glee Club assignment, and in the end Rachel volunteers to sing the Barbra Streisand classic with him because they have so much diva qualities in common. The second song, which was from the musical Wicked, was performed by the duo to an empty theater in New York as Kurt helped Rachel figure out her priorities. This was the second duet the two performed from the songbook of the same musical. The first one was from their diva off in the first season where they sang Defying Gravity, originally performed by Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth.
3. I Wanna Hold Your Hand: In the third episode of the season entitled Grilled Cheesus, Kurt’s dad Burt Hummel suffers a heart attack and the Glee Club tries its hardest to support Kurt in his hour of need. Kurt performs this Beatles original to depict his feelings for his father in his touching rendition of the song, coupled with flashbacks of a young Kurt and his dad during his growing up years.
4. Pure Imagination: The New Directions perform this poignant and whimsical number during the funeral of Sue Sylvester’s sister Jean, the only person whom the Cheerios coach loves unconditionally. The Glee Club chose the song to honor Jean, who suffered from down syndrome, but lived a life full of positivity and hope. She also loved the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, in which the song was originally performed.
5. Marry You: After his recovery from his heart attack, Burt proposes to Finn’s mom and Kurt volunteers to plan the wedding. This upbeat song by Bruno Mars sees The New Direction performing this hit, which added to merriment of an unconventional wedding that inspired viewers to have song and dance productions in their own wedding days as well.
6. River Deep, Mountain High: In the Duets episode of Glee, where the winning team will get a free dinner at Breadsticks, divas Mercdes and Santana do this powerhouse number originally popularized by Ike and Tina Turner and had the entire room on their feet. With enough energy that made the room sizzle, both girls proved in this episode that they both had the pipes and the adrenaline to do solos as well as the next girl.
7. As Long As You’re There: During the Nationals, Sunshine Corazon (Charice Pempengco) of Vocal Adrenaline, performs this gripping original song which showcased her singing ability and her range as a singer, which brought their showchoir to the Top 10, ahead of New Directions.
8. Telephone: In the Auditions episode, which opened the first season, Rachel Berry and Sunshine Corazon perform this showdown of Lady Gaga and Beyonce Knowles’ collaboration in a girl’s bathroom, no less. The number grew in popularity as youtube excerpts were uploaded, as well as parodies of the cover.
9. Hey, Soul Sister: The first performance of the Dalton Academy Warblers led by Blaine (Kurt’s boyfriend) was a hit mostly due to the song’s original upbeat melody coupled with the Warblers’ impeccable all-male harmonizations and arrangement.
10. Sing: Who can forget the first time anybody ever heard Mike Chang sing? This number made it to my top 10 precisely for the novelty of the experience and because the performance of The Chorus Line original was so much fun. Go Asians!
So there you have it. My top 10 songs for the season. Proud Gleek signing off until Season 3.