‘Glee: The Music, Volume 1’
Skittles encourage you to taste the rainbow, but have you heard it? You can with songs from the gay-tastic Fox musical romp “Glee” – a safe, legal and cheaper alternative to ecstasy. Television’s Velveeta charmer has run the gamut of genres – pop and crunk, oldies and newbies, musical faves, tasteless rap numbers – and almost consistently delivers them in big choir-blasted gaiety. The winning ensemble cast was onto something with the show’s breakout hit “Don’t Stop Believin’,” but that only teased our musical-loving sweet tooth; when “Somebody to Love” premiered – giving show-stopping solos to many of the series’ ace singers – it was a jaw-dropping, fist-pumping feast. Both are included on the 17-song soundtrack, and they’re as brilliantly big-hearted as they were in the context of the show’s flimsy plot points. “Wicked”‘s “Defying Gravity,” abridged but still powerfully poignant, maintains its earnest, larger-than-life aplomb with a spot from the dramedy’s queer girly-voiced kid. Other goodies for “Gleeks”: the cut-a-bitch “Bust Your Windows” and musical-queen Kristin Chenoweth on “Maybe This Time.” The corny rap songs, especially “Bust a Move,” could bust on outta here, but they don’t damper the power of “Glee: The Music” in making you feel dually gay. Both homo and happy.
‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’
The first film sucked harder than a vampire. So if you want a good reason to give the sequel a go – besides the mmm-mmm-good man bods – then it’s this: The music. In all its dramatic sentimentality, the “New Moon” soundtrack bleeds maudlin angst, but does so with an eerie, mature wistfulness that befits the series’ lovesick melodramatic tone. And it’s also smart, rallying up kick-ass indie acts like queer-led Grizzly Bear, a flamboyant-less The Killers and Death Cab For Cutie, whose exclusive soundtrack song – the emo “Meet Me on the Equinox” – edges-out most cuts on their last LP. Sad thing is, the movie will likely be lackluster to the songs; even the theme, an ethereal piano lullaby, feels too good for “Twilight.” And it gets even better. Swedish singer Lykke Li’s “Possibility,” a hushed haunter, and the optimistic, sound-swelled “No Sound but the Wind” – an unreleased track from the Editors – are indie-riffic. Both jell perfectly into “New Moon”‘s moody soundscapes, which stand strong on their own – and don’t bite.
Also Out: Seasonal Sounds
Tori Amos, ‘Midwinter Graces’
Leave it to the revered redhead – a Minister’s daughter – to twist ancient carols into the way she thinks they should sound. And they sound lovely. Keeping with a New Age-y aura, Amos records originals like “Winter’s Carol” and “Our New Year,” both better than almost anything on her last studio album. Her daughter hauntingly sings on “Holly, Ivy and Rose,” but it’s “Star of Wonder” that’s the album’s most magical moment. The cover, on the other hand …
Kathy Griffin, ‘Suckin’ It for the Holidays’
The queer-loved comedian likes to put it all out there. Just look at that spread-eagle pose with a little wrapped gift between the legs (no, not her condom-covered genitals). Besides those pics, her very-homo holiday album isn’t all that festive, but listening to Griffin rip on her mom, Oprah and Katie Couric might just be the next best thing to dicking the halls with balls of … oh crap, how does it go?
Sugarland, ‘Gold and Green’
You gotta love a group who can goof off – and the Jennifer Nettles-led twosome does with a cover of the underperformed ’50s novelty song “Nuttin’ for Christmas,” re-configured into a bluegrass toe-tapper. The rest are predictably performed classics like “Winter Wonderland” and “Silent Night.” But the most delightful ditties are originals: “City of Silver Dreams,” a NYC ode, and “Little Wood Guitar,” an emblematic Sugarland story-song. But gold? Not quite.
David Archuleta, ‘Christmas from the Heart’
The “Idol” cutie-patootie knows how to make gay men happy: Look pretty. Luckily, he has a voice that’s just as pleasing, and on his cash-cow second album – a gimmicky holiday collection with the new Archie-written “Melodies of Christmas” – he, with his honeyed voice, is darn adorable. He’s best at the ballads, like “Ave Maria.” But even those lack much originality. “Christmas from the Heart” is music from the recycling bin.