Anybody who watched Glee during any of their formative years had the distinct pleasure of experiencing several classic pop songs for the first time through William McKinley High’s glee club, populated by loveable misfits and rejects. But as any Glee fan should also be able to tell you—the Fox musical dramedy was also home to some more bizarre musical numbers and storylines as the series went on. (I would like Ryan Murphy to know that I still have nightmares about that “What Does the Fox Say” number from season five. *shudders*)
As much as Glee was a large part of my life a decade ago, I’m pretty sure even I gave up on it during the last season. And as much as the series still has legions of loyal followers, the news of a possible reboot/revival had social media making many it’s-funny-because-it’s-true jokes, just like when Glee was on the air. To quote one tweet responding to the news of a possible revival, “One pandemic at a time, please.”
All jokes aside, any time the series makes its way into the news again, I’m reminded of all the covers they did of songs that were actually really good—perhaps even better than the original version, in some cases. While Glee did take a nosedive creatively during the second half of its run and definitely jumped the shark numerous times, sometimes all we needed was the music. Here are 10 Glee covers that are (almost) better than the original.
“Girl on Fire”
I will go to my grave attesting that Santana Lopez’s (Naya Rivera) version of “Girl on Fire” will always be infinitely better than the original. No shade to Alicia Keys (okay, maybe a bit), but Naya’s cover will always be superior in my head.
“We Are Young”
I personally never liked Fun as a band, and even though they only together and relevant for a hot minute back in the early 2010s, the Glee cast cover of “We Are Young” most certainly helped put them on the map. To this day, when the original version might come on the radio, I have to change the station—because the glee club did it SO much better.
I know Celine Dion is a national treasure but I will fight anyone who tries to tell me the Glee cast version of “Taking Chances” is not better than her original. Celine is great and all, but she has her ass handed to her by Lea Michele on this one.
“Alone” feat. Kristen Chenoweth
LISTEN, I love ‘70s rock as much as the next person and will always have a soft spot for Heart, but Kristen Chenoweth and Matthew Morrison singing “Alone” is pure art. I said what I said.
I don’t even think I’ve ever seen Wicked, but I don’t need to see it in order to know that Rachel and Kurt competing each other with this song will always have my heart.
“Thriller / Heads Will Roll”
Sure, the original version of “Thriller” is great and timeless and everything, but does it have Naya Rivera scream-singing “Heads Will Roll” in the background? I didn’t think so!
“Landslide” feat. Gwyneth Paltrow
I would never EVER suggest that Stevie Nicks’ original version of “Landline” isn’t one of the best songs ever recorded because we all know she would put a curse on me, but that doesn’t mean Gwyneth Paltrow’s version isn’t also lovely. Remember back in 2011 when the entire general public was savaged by the revelation that Gwyneth can sing?
“Here’s to Us”
Okay, maybe Rachel Berry’s version of “Here’s to Us” isn’t completely superior since they had to weed out all of Halestorm’s poignant f-bombs and explicit lyrics, but it still makes me smile.
“Girls Just Want to Have Fun”
If you don’t spontaneously burst into tears every time Finn Hudson’s slow version of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” comes on shuffle, the one that he sang to Santana after he maliciously outed her as a lesbian, congratulations—your heart is COLD.
“Like a Virgin” feat. Jonathan Groff
Again, I wouldn’t want to ever suggest that any song by Madonna isn’t better when it’s sung by Madonna, but the Glee cast doing “Like a Virgin” with Jonathan Groff during an episode about the pressure surrounding premarital sex will always be… well… *chef’s kiss*
Now I really wanna start a rewatch. Which are your favorite Glee covers?