'Glee': Rating the iTunes downloads from episode 8, 'Mash Up'

glee-bust-a-move_lThere are advantages and disadvantages to being EW’s designated recapper for Modern Family and Cougar Town. On the down side, my duties force me to relegate Glee to my DVR, and watch it on Thursday evenings. But the good news is, I can listen to iTunes versions of the week’s musical performances on their own merits, without the overwhelming feeling of “that scene was so freakin’ awesome, I need to download the related music imm√©diatement!” It is in that spirit that I’m grading the three available tracks from last night’s eighth episode, “Mash Up”:

* “Bust a Move” (performed by Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester): Riddle me this: Seeing how Morrison does little more than offer a pale imitation of Young M.C.’s 1989 smash, why isn’t iTunes charging half-price for it compared to the original? From the unconvincing aggression on that opening “bust it!” to the neutered backing vocals to the sanitized lyric about our protagonist’s response to a hottie bridesmaid (Morrison spits “you’re feelin’ really fine” instead of “feelin’ really firm“), this performance has all the swagger and authority you’d expect from a high-school Spanish teacher. (And I don’t mean that in a good way.) Bottom line: No reason for this one to exist outside the Glee universe. C-

* “Thong Song” (performed by Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester): I’ll admit, I feel deeply uncomfortable every time I listen to Morrison’s spoken-word intro — “This thing right here, is lettin’ all the ladies know what guys talk about. You know, the finer things in life” — especially that lascivious little laugh at the end. But unlike Sisqo’s 2000 original, I can understand every single word of this ridiculous ode to beach-ready badonkadonks. Whether you consider that a plus or a minus, you’ve at least got to give Morrison credit for a slightly less overwrought vocal than Sisqo’s; after all, dude is singing about “dumps like a truck,” not life-altering instances of love and/or global politics. B

* “Sweet Caroline” (performed by Mark Salling as Puck): At an abbreviated 1:58, you’re not exactly getting the best bang for your buck on this one — hello, 1.09 cents per second? — but Salling does more than a serviceable job on Neil Diamond’s karaoke-bar favorite. You can feel some emotion stirring in Salling’s voice as the track crescendos, and though I’d have hoped for some jaunty “whoa-oh-ohs” from Puck’s backup buddies, at the very least, I’m eager to hear the kid get a more substantial (and original) number in a future episode. B-

* Bonus review: “Halo/”Walking on Sunshine” (Lea Michele and the glee-club ladies, from episode 6): Can’t. Stop. Hitting. Repeat. More mashups, please. Thank you. That is all. A-

What do you think about this week’s Glee downloads? Are you the kind of Gleek who purchases every track from the show indiscriminately, or do you take a pick-and-choose approach? And finally, what are your favorite Glee musical numbers to date? Holla back in the comments below, and be sure to follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.

Image Credit: Glee: Fox; Young MC: Bernhard Kuhmstedt/Retna UK

Comments (86 total) Add your comment
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  • Kal

    I’m buying the individual tracks that will not be on the CD (which I’ve already pre-ordered.) I really wish they would have Matthew Morrison sing more instead of rap…he has such a beautiful voice!

    • Bobby’s Robot

      I’d much rather hear him sing than rap. And more Puck!!!

      • Tarc

        I’d be happy if Glee skipped the rapping altogether. There is a whole metric ton of actually worthy material to be used.

    • Kristy

      I like both the rapping and the singing. I think he can do anything and it would be great.

  • Kate

    I think my problem is that I love Noah Puckerman so much that I can’t stand it. And I truly, deeply love Sweet Caroline (shut up!). This is my favorite cover of that song since David Archuleta. And I get a half-embarrassed kick out of Matt Morrison doing the thong Song, mainly because Sisqo never went for those glory notes like that.

    • Kristy

      I have to agree.

  • Sarah

    I will gladly pay the Itunes fee for the “Bust a Move” download. I adore Matthew Morrison’s voice and thought he did a great job with it (along with every other performance he had in last night’s episode). Consider my money spent.

  • sam

    Did anyone else think that besides Emma singing, this was a fairly worthless episode? Besides Quinn getting kicked off Cheerios, nothing happened (really) that is going to carry over into next week. It felt confusingly self-contained :/

    • paige

      emma sang?

      • Felipe

        Yes she did! At least I hope it was her real vioce because it sounded terrific.

      • Lynn

        She sang her choice on the wedding mash – “I Could Have Danced All Night”

      • Virginia

        oh my gosh emma was absolutely fantastic. I LOVE this song… anyone know if they will be posting this on itunes anytime soon? I have to get this!

    • DW

      Sorry, but this episode was fantastic.

      • michelekamay

        You mean Glee-tastic? Oh he*l yeah!
        Btw, there are probably people who heard those songs for the first time and downloaded the original songs as well, so what’s the point?
        Please let our GLEE breathe!

    • Lee

      How can you say nothing happened?! We got to see a more tender Puck, the softer side of Sue (she actually has the ability to love!), an even more vulnerable Quinn and an amazing dance number in the wedding dress shop! Also, we now know that the football players are actually dedicated to the glee club, which is huge!
      Plus, who can forget “I walked in on my parents once and it was like watching two walruses wrestling.” LOL!!

      This is by far my favorite episode!

  • Marylynn

    I love it when he raps and dances too. I thought it was a much better episode than last week but they’re all good.

  • Steph

    I loved watching the “Sweet Caroline” video teaser when it hit the internet days before the show premiered, but I cannot believe the Itunes version has the same exact time- less than 2 minutes. Yet when “No Air” is like..what close to five minutes even if all they showed on that episode was 2 minutes? I think Lea is amazing and while Cory is ‘eh’ they do make a good pair but I am getting annoyed that they keep placing the two as leads while the only times the others get to sing it’s a dream sequence, or in Puck/Mark’s case, he gets his moment but it’s far too short, well at least on my iPod. I also wish they could have released his version of “Camisa Negra” that he sang in the background of his first voice-over intro thing.

    Puck >>>> Finn

    Just sayin’

  • Melissa

    TEAM PUCK!!!!!!!!

    Also, Mark’s in a band called Jericho, and you can order their album Smoke Signals on Amazon. Very interesting sound.

  • crispy

    Wow, I like Glee… but 4-5 posts today? Glee is the new Twilight. Beware of overkill.

    • HH

      I couldn’t agree more. I really enjoy Glee, but EW’s daily slavering over it is reaching Idol or Twilight levels, which just means dashed expectations and the inevitable backlash. Take a page from the Top Chef playbook and let it rest…

      • Katie

        Yeah no kidding. The more Glee posts I see, the more negative comments I see about the show (some which are quite justified)

        And can we put a less queer looking pic in the article?

    • michelekamay

      I love Glee and I won’t stop till I’ll get enough…hey! How about Mr Schue singing Michael jackson’s “Don’t stop till you get enough” ?
      I know, I’m GLEE-BSESSED!

  • Alex

    The best song is Emma’s, she sounded wonderful and im mad that its not on Itunes.

    • Karen

      I agree! Please EW give us some answers!

  • Cece

    Although I haven’t downloaded anything yet, I can’t get enough of “Maybe This Time” from a couple weeks ago with Kristin Chenowith. She. Is. AWESOME!!!

  • Dennang

    ‘Maybe This Time’ and ‘Bust Your Windows’ are in a close race in my most played stats. ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ will soon be joining their ranks, methinks.

  • MaidenCanada

    I want less teacher more students and more mashups…

  • Fatima

    I’m sorry, but I really really despise Will. His dorky raps literally embarrass me. And the faithful spoken word bits brought up the cringe-o-meter like no one’s business. I had to leave the room. Musically, a really underwhelming episode. Don’t they realize that most of us like the actual Glee club numbers like “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Somebody To Love” and “Hate On Me?”
    I’d be fine if this show was just the teens and Sue to be frank.

    • Emmy

      I absolutely love Will, and I still squirmed when he was rapping. Why, WHY would they have him do thong song?! Painfully embarrassing.

    • Chichi

      YES!!! I get major second hand embarrassment when ever he “dances” or “sings.” It’s as if the other members of the club have turned into Kelly and Michelle.

      • Kal

        I’m confused by your comment. Why are you putting “dances” and “sings” in quotes? He actually dances and sings. What do you mean by the quotes?

  • Anna

    I thought Thong Song was cringe-worthy. I almost flipped the channel…..but didn’t LOL I loved Puck singing “Sweet Caroline” and couldn’t resist bopping along to “Bust A Move”. Overall, I thought this was a weak song-choice episode, but loved the storylines!

  • Michael

    I loved “I Could Have Danced All Night,” but alas, that is not available. Neither is the incredibly brief “Cabaret” or “Tonight,” which is a shame because Glee really shines when it’s using show tunes instead of misplaced and cringe-inducing rap hits from the past 20 years.

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