Got it covered: ‘Glee’ rendition of Gotye’s song controversial


Artists like to think of their popularity as solely a product of their own doing. But although they don’t like to admit it, sometimes they could use some help in finding fame and fortune.

And more than once, the hit television show “Glee” has been an artist’s aid.

“Glee” is known for covering both new and old songs, and its version of each track often becomes just as popular — if not more popular — than the original version.

“Glee” is an addictive musical TV series featuring a mix of comedy and drama in a high school glee club. The show takes other songs, either show tunes or chart toppers, and puts a spin on them.

I have seen “Glee” tracks high up on iTunes’ list of top 10 popular songs and heard the music from the show on the radio multiple times. The songs cast members cover are catchy and easy to sing along with. Many artists’ songs have been featured in the show, including a cover of the popular hit “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye and featuring Kimbra, which aired April 10.

But instead of embracing and loving the recognition, it’s been reported that Gotye was not impressed with the cast’s version of his tune — even though the cover was on the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 the week after it appeared on “Glee” and also after Gotye performed on “Saturday Night Live” on April 14. Right now, the song is No. 2 on the iTunes Store’s U.S. Top 10 Songs chart. Although Gotye has since stated his comments were taken out of context, he did say, “They did such a faithful arrangement of the instrumentals, but the vocals were that pop ‘Glee’ style, ultra-dry, sounded pretty tuned.”

But I think the cast did a great job of covering the song. After I watched the “Glee” version of the song, I did not understand what Gotye was complaining about.

If I were an artist, I would feel honored to have my music used in “Glee.” I would feel outstanding if my music was recognized as important not just to me and my fans, but to the general public. Especially for older artists or songs that never were top hits, “Glee” gives their tracks a chance to gain the popularity they once had or always hoped for. The show’s audience has been very receptive to the music featured on “Glee,” with millions of copies of the covers purchased worldwide.

Both viewers and artists need to remember, the cast’s covers are different works than the artists’ originals. These songs are not just a copy, they are their own creations. After all, members of the “Glee” cast are talented musicians in their own right.

I think one of the differences the “Glee” cast does to change up the song is to clearly pronounce the words. Sometimes when you hear a song on the radio, you have no idea what the artist is saying because he or she slurs the lyrics. But when I hear the “Glee” cast sing a song I had heard before, I always have a better understanding of what the words in the song actually are. One example is when the cast covered Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over” in season two. I had no idea what the original words were to this song until it was performed on “Glee.” I actually bought the “Glee” version of this song on iTunes rather than the original.

“Glee” also switches up the pace of songs, such as Lady Gaga’s popular song “Poker Face,” which was performed in season one. The cast slowed down the melody, and two people performed the song rather than just one.

The songs “Glee” covers are put onto the iTunes Store within the week of the show airing, and the show also has put out multiple albums of its songs. After I watch “Glee,” I sometimes will try to find the songs they covered on iTunes. They are just that good.

Artists whose songs are featured on the hit show “Glee” should feel honored their song was chosen for the show not only because this means it is an excellent song, but also because the popularity of the track is likely to increase as a result of its appearance on the show.

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