Various, "Glee: The Music, Volume 1" (Columbia)
Fans of Fox's irreverent musical comedy "Glee" will love this soundtrack, which includes 17 songs from the show about a high school glee club performed by its talented cast.
They'll remember cute teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) pop-locking as he raps on Kanye West's "Gold Digger," feel self-centered star Rachel Berry's (Lea Michele) heartache as she sings into a hairbrush on Rihanna's "Take a Bow" and picture the fast-paced routine led by cheer captain Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) to the Supremes' "Keep Me Hanging On."
They'll relish the harmonies and recall the group's triumph on Queen's "Somebody to Love" and smile again at Will's bowling-alley duet with Kristin Chenoweth on Heart's "Alone."
Though the vocal performances are top-notch, those unfamiliar with "Glee" may prefer the originals to the cover versions on the soundtrack. But the album's eclectic mix of songs has its own appeal: Where else would you find a mix tape that includes tracks from Neil Diamond, Young MC, REO Speedwagon and "Cabaret"? Non-Gleeks can also appreciate the innovative choral arrangements on Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and the girls' background harmonies on the 1989 rap hit "Bust A Move."
Missing from the soundtrack, though, are the memorable mash-ups of Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" with Usher's "Confessions" and Beyonce's "Halo" with Katrina and the Waves' "Walking on Sunshine." A second volume of "Glee" music is set to hit stores next month.
CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: Wheelchair-bound Artie (Kevin McHale) goes solo and gets groovy on a jazzy interpretation of Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself" that stands up as a worthy track for fans and non-fans alike.