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Glee's Great, but the Music Ain't

Glee Joe Viles/FOX
Counterpunch

Criticizing Glee is like lecturing a puppy—you end up feeling like the bad guy.

Puppies, like Glee, are cute, energetic and a whole lot more fun to watch than a police procedural. Why can't you just enjoy them as they are, for what they are? 

Because.

Because some things must be said. No matter how hard. No matter how adorable the offender.

Puppies, you must not pee on the carpet.

And, Glee, you must do something about your music.

You're totally making Cory Monteith sound like Cher.

Last night's episode was a prime example—not of the Monteith-Cher connection, specifically—but of the show's overproduced soundtrack, in general.

When Matthew Morrison's Mr. S. burst into "Thong Song," he sounded like he was in a music video, not a suburban high school. The same tune could be sung of his "Bust a Move."

We get that Glee is a musical-comedy, not a documentary. And we get quasi-fantasy numbers like Jayma Mays' starry-eyed version of "I Could've Danced All Night." But we don't get why the Glee people, many of them musical-theater veterans, can't sound as unplugged as that magical bass guitar Kevin McHale's Artie is always thumping on. 

For every too-brief moment of Lea Michele sounding raw—and lovely—on a "What a Girl Wants," or Monteith singing a perfectly credible REO Speedwagon in the shower, there's Michele and Monteith sounding like 1990s-era Cher on "No Air," or Monteith sounding like the Monteith XRZ-200 on the out-of-the-shower version of "Can't Fight This Feeling."

We are hardly the first to notice Glee's Auto-Tune addiction. Toronto-based singer-songwriter Will-W. blogged about the show's penchant for pitch correction and manipulation shortly after the fall premiere.

"It sort of defeats the purpose of the show," Will-W. told us today. "It's putting a false illusion of what singing is all about. [The show's] about a group of high school kids who are allegedly talented—and they are talented."

At least one online petition is on the chorus of dissent. The "Call to Stop Vocal Pitch Correction Abuse" has asked Glee creator Ryan Murphy and Fox to retrofit the DVD issues with "remixed versions of the songs that don't have robotic vocalists."  

At last check, the petition had little more than two dozen names attached to it. No, not exactly a groundswell. Maybe people are too busy trying to save Eastwick. Or maybe they're loath to call out anything that's as cute as a baby Lab—and whip-smart enough to bring us Jane Lynch once a week. 

We refuse to believe, however, that people are loving that Glee has lacked for authentic glee-club moments. And sounds.

Plus, don't get us started on the whole fake pregnancy thing…

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