You can say whatever you want about the story and characters on Glee, but, in the end, it’s the music that sells this thing. Without the music, this would be a pretty mundane high school comedy/drama, and I probably wouldn’t give a shit about it. So amidst all the speculation about where season four is going to take us and how the graduates are going to be worked into the show, what I’m really thinking about it what songs I’d like to see them do. So, in that vein, I’ve come up with a list of five songs that I’d like to see done in Glee but, for various reasons, probably will not be. So here we go.
Song: “You Don’t Know Me” by Ben Folds and Regina Spektor
Give it to: Rachel and Finn
It’s weird how Rachel and Finn haven’t gotten a lot of good male/female duets. “Don’t Go Breaking my Heart” from “Duets” (heavy autotune aside) was terrific, and of course “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” from “Nationals” was beyond fantastic. They also had great thematic resonance, with both of them celebrating the intensity of their current relationship while subtly foreshadowing its end. “You Don’t Know Me” would continue that tradition, being a song that could suggest the very real reasons for the end of their relationship, something that Finn has accepted by the end of “Goodbye,” but which Rachel has not. As their high school years draw to a close, they’ve become different people, and they just don’t know each other anymore. The lighthearted tone would also allow for a suggestion that their relationship could continue in some capacity, and would suggest a beginning to a new relationship based on friendship and mutual understanding rather than blind love.
Why they’ll never use it: Not only is it a bit outside Glee‘s wheelhouse in terms of artist and style, but I think we all know that Rachel and Finn are going to get back together somehow.
Song: “The Thrill is Gone” by BB King
Give it to: Mercedes
The blues as a genre has been sadly overlooked on Glee, despite having singers who could handle it. I could see both Naya Rivera and Amber Riley pulling off a terrific blues number, as they have wonderful soulful voices and the ability to put a ton of feeling into a song. I’d like to see this particular number given to Mercedes for a couple of reasons. First, I like the idea of gender-swapping it. Second, I think it would be a fantastic way to communicate an end to her relationship with Sam (such as it is) while suggesting a reason. I think you could reasonably argue that “the thrill” has been gone from their relationship for the entirety of season three. We never saw any smoldering passion out of them, just the motions of it. One could argue that that was because of poor writing, but it could also be that they were simply fooling themselves. Maybe after that one summer fling, it was just all gone. Maybe there isn’t anything else there, and they need to admit that to themselves. I could easily see “The Thrill is Gone” being used for that purpose.
Why they’ll never use it: Aside from, once again, being outside of Glee‘s wheelhouse, it’s probably too heavy on instrumentation relative to vocals for Glee. Plus, to really do it right, you have to let it have a slow burn. That would eat up a lot of screen time, which is probably going to be at a premium in season four with so many plot threads running loose.
Song: “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad” by Meat Loaf
Give it to: Puck
Yeah they already did Meat Loaf in “Nationals,” and it was amazing, but there is so much more Loaf to do. This particular one is my favorite Meat Loaf song, for its sad wistful message on top of a bit of silliness in the title and refrain. This kind of marriage of the serious and silly is something that Meat Loaf does tremendously well, and it’s something that Glee should both embrace and look to for inspiration, because they try to do it a lot too and they’re so bad at it (though to be fair Glee leans more towards the silly side while Meat Loaf leans more towards the serious side). Puck hasn’t gotten a lot of big solos, which is a shame because Mark Salling has a fine voice and good screen presence. “Sweet Caroline” was one of the smaller highlights of season one. I’d really like to see what he can do with a powerful song like “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad,” and I could easily see it being used as Puck’s way of ending some relationship he’s gotten himself into. He’s such an incurable hound dog that the situation almost writes itself.
Why they’ll never use it: For some reason, the show has never wanted to give any big numbers to Puck. Add that to the fact that he’s probably going to be a tertiary character or worse in season four, and I doubt it happens. There’s a chance they could use it with some other character, but it would just be so perfect for Puck.
Song: “It’s a Great Day to be Alive” by Travis Tritt
Give it to: Sam
Glee has given the slightest amount of lip service to country as a genre, mainly from Sam and Shannon, but, with the partial exception of “Last Name” in season one, they’ve never really gone big with it. “It’s a Great Day to be Alive” is a fantastic number, and it fits well both with Sam’s general upbeat nature and all the shit he’s been through. I have to admit that I kinda like the idea of Shannon doing it as well, but on the whole I think that Sam would be a better choice. I think it would be a great way to say goodbye to his character, if such a thing is going to happen, by emphasizing his optimism and hope for the future in the face of anything.
Why they’ll never use it: Honestly, I don’t even know if Chord Overstreet is coming back. This song is also well outside of Glee‘s normal focus, especially in terms of the genre. They tend to go for contemporary country, “Jolene” being a notable exception.
Song: “Kim” by Eminem
Give it to: Will
This was facetiously suggested by J., my co-host on our podcast, when I mentioned that I was going to be writing about songs that “would never be used on Glee.” I laughed at the outrageousness of the suggestion for a moment and then I realized… the character shown doing the most rapping has been Will, and he had a terrible marriage with his high school sweetheart that could have ended much more tragically if Will didn’t have a lot more self control. Watch the scene from “Mattress” in which Will finds out that Terri has been faking her pregnancy and try to tell me that, somewhere in the back of his mind, he doesn’t want to kill her. Yes, that’s how dark Glee used to get. Of course he never would have done it, but Eminem didn’t really kill Kim either, he just thought about it, and in that way “Kim” is a song that would actually have a lot of resonance with Will. Thematically, I could see this song being used by Will to express his darkest, most deeply buried feelings, if Terri comes back into the picture and does something particularly “Terri.” It would be a pretty amazing way to revisit the darkness of season one as a whole and of Will in particular.
Why they’ll never use it: Do I even have to say anything?