There are a multitude of songs from the ensemble cast’s more minor characters such as Santana and Mercedes (whose duet of Ike & Tina Turner’s ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ is an album highlight, bursting with attitude and personality), as well as a new voice in Sam (played by the unbelievably named Chord Overstreet). Sam leads the all-male group rendition of Travie McCoy’s ‘Billionaire’, as well as a duet of ‘Lucky’ with Quinn (Dianna Agron) that is genuinely both sweet and charming, without ever straying into the mawkish – territory a show like Glee must constantly fight not to enter.
The album does have its low points, especially where the songs are almost indiscernible from the original versions, such as Santana (Naya Rivera)’s Winehouse-inspired ‘Valerie’ or ‘Just The Way You Are’ from Finn (Cory Monteith), but on the whole we’re given a good representation of the high quality of the music so far this series.
Other highlights include a love-or-hate all-male show choir rendition of Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’ and the football team’s group performance of the Britney classic ‘Stronger’, both of which are perfect examples of Glee at its best: unafraid of rearranging popular songs into something a little more, upbeat, campy and utterly joyful.
Unashamedly embracing its cheesiness and all the better for it, Volume 4‘s strongest tracks are when it isn’t trying too hard to be cool.
Released on CD and download on Monday 21st February 2011 by Epic.