Top 20 Songs From “Glee”

Credit: Anne-Tan

Well, the day has finally come.  The beloved show Glee is ending.  I know that many of you are saying, “Glee should have ended a long time ago” and “I thought this show was off the air!”  Well, calm down, because it’s finally ending. However, there are still some of us in the world who love the show, so let us have our moment to reflect proudly on this cultural phenomenon so that we can grieve in peace.

With that, I give you my totally biased list of the 20 best songs from Glee.  For the record, this was probably the hardest list I’ve ever had to make. Only a few songs could make the cut, so check out my choices and then let me know what I missed!

Warning: if you are a major Gleek, some of these may incite tears.  I’m sobbing just writing this.

Season 1:

“Don’t Stop Believin'” – New Directions – 1.1 “Pilot” – by Journey

Obviously, this is a classic.  I think this was the moment we all knew that Glee was something special.

“I’ll Stand by You” – Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson) – 1.10 “Ballad” – by The Pretenders

Come on, Finn singing this to what he thought was his unborn child!!  This was a chance for us to see one of Finn’s softer sides and I think the world fell in love with Cory Monteith after this solo.

“Don’t Rain on My Parade” – Lea Michele (Rachel Berry) – 1.13 “Sectionals” – from Funny Girl

Another classic.  Anytime Lea sings Barbra Streisand, magic happens.  This one totally won them Sectionals.  I still get chills when I hear it!

“Dream On” – Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester) and Neil Patrick Harris (Bryan Ryan) – 1.19 “Dream On” – by Aerosmith

Whatever Neil Patrick Harris touches turns to gold, I’m convinced.  Will and Bryan Ryan face off in this duet for the lead role in a local production of Les Miserables, which Will ends up getting but gives to Bryan instead.  The tension is so thick in this scene, and leave it to these two to hit those high notes.

“Faithfully” – Cory Monteith + Lea Michele, New Directions – 1.22 “Journey to Regionals” – by Journey

Lea has stated that this is her favorite performance, which melts my heart and breaks it all at the same time.  Glee (read: Will Schuester) loved Journey, and this was one of their better covers.

Season 2:

“Toxic” – New Directions – 2.2 “Britney/Brittany” – by Britney Spears

This Britney Spears themed episode was everything.  I absolutely love this sexy version of “Toxic,” which completely sent Sue off the edge.  Good one, guys.

BONUS: from season 5, episode 12, “100.”  Who can resist this extra-sexy version by the Unholy Trinity, a.k.a. Quinn, Brittany, and Santana?!  Apparently, Chace Crawford can.  For shame.

“Teenage Dream” – Darren Criss (Blaine Anderson), Warblers – 2.6 “Never Been Kissed” – by Katy Perry

Another well-known Glee cover!  This was our first introduction to the Dalton Academy Warblers and it was all we needed.

“Somewhere Only We Know” – Darren Criss, Warblers – 2.18 “Born This Way” – by Keane

I think this is one of the under-appreciated Warbler songs.  Kurt has officially returned to McKinley and the Warblers (fronted by his boyfriend, Blaine) bid him farewell with this heartfelt song.

“I Feel Pretty/Unpretty” – Dianna Agron (Quinn Fabray) and Lea Michele – 2.18 “Born This Way” – from West Side Story, by TLC

I also think this song is under-appreciated, but so important.  Rachel, uncomfortable with the way her nose looks, planned to get a nose job to look like Quinn.  But underneath Quinn’s cheerleader uniform and makeup is a girl dealing with insecurities and jealousy just like all of us.

“For Good” – Lea Michele and Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel) – 2.22 “New York” – from Wicked

Kurt and Rachel fulfilled a dream by performing this duet on the stage of the Gershwin Theatre in New York City.  There were so many amazing Kurt/Rachel duets, but this one really stands out to me.  Plus, it’s always cute when Rachel sings a song by Idina Menzel, who played her mom.  So meta.

Season 3:

“Shake It Out” – Naya Rivera, Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Cohen-Chang), and Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones) – 3.18 “Choke” – by Florence + the Machine

Santana, Tina, and Mercedes sing this to Coach Beiste (Dot-Marie Jones) as an apology for their comments about her abusive relationship.  Coach Beiste had said that she left her abusive husband, Cooter, but at the end of the performance, we find out she gave him a second chance.

“Roots Before Branches” – Lea Michele and Cory Monteith – 3.22 “Goodbye” – by Room for Two

Get ready to cry.  We thought Finn was taking Rachel to their wedding, but he took her to the train station instead, so that she could live her dream by moving to New York City.  Grab the tissues, it only gets worse from here.

Season 4:

“Don’t Speak” – Cory Monteith, Darren Criss, Lea Michele, and Chris Colfer –  4.4 “The Break-Up” – by No Doubt

Finn and Blaine both end up in New York to hang with Rachel and Kurt, but things don’t go as planned when Rachel and Blaine confess that they’ve been unfaithful.  The episode is called “The Break-Up” for a reason.

“The Scientist” – Cory Monteith, Darren Criss, Naya Rivera, Chris Colfer, Heather Morris, Matthew Morrison, Jayma Mays (Emma Pillsbury), and Lea Michele – 4.4 “The Break-Up” – by Coldplay

Every couple you’ve ever loved breaks up in this performance.  It’s great.

“Homeward Bound/Home” – Dianna Agron, Mark Salling (Noah Puckerman), Harry Shum Jr. (Mike Chang), Naya Rivera, Amber Riley, and Cory Monteith – 4.8 “Thanksgiving” – by Simon & Garfunkel, Phillip Phillips

If it’s not clear, I love a good mash-up.  The former seniors of McKinley (except Rachel and Kurt) reunite with this beautiful number.

“Bye Bye Bye/I Want It That Way” – Matthew Morrison and Cory Monteith – 4.16 “Feud” – by ‘NSync, Backstreet Boys

Will finds out that Finn kissed Emma, his fiancée, so they perform this mash-up in order to resolve things.  After the song, Finn is ready to hug and leave it in the past, but Will’s not so sure he can do that.

Season 5:

“Seasons of Love” – Amber Riley, Naya Rivera, Chris Colfer, Mark Salling, Jenna Ushkowitz, and New Directions – 5.3 “The Quarterback” – from Rent

Tissues still handy?  I knew I would cry during “The Quarterback,” the episode dedicated to Cory/Finn, but I did not know I would sob.  It all started at the end of this performance when they turn around as Finn’s picture appears on the screen.  Seriously, I’m not sure I can watch this again.  It’s painful.  {RIP Cory, we miss you!}

“Make You Feel My Love” – Lea Michele – 5.3 “The Quarterback” – by Adele

Don’t put away the tissues just yet.  This one really did a number on pretty much everyone who watched Finn’s episode.  Rachel’s song for him was the hardest to watch, because there’s no part of Lea that is acting in this.  Her tears are authentic in this beautiful tribute.

“Pompeii” – Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Amber Riley, Darren Criss, Chord Overstreet (Sam Evans), Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams), and Heather Morris – 5.20 “The Untitled Rachel Berry Project” – by Bastille

This would have been a perfect song to end the series on.  The gang is off to their separate destinations; Rachel is moving to L.A. to do TV, Sam is returning to McKinley, Brittany and Mercedes are going on tour, and Blaine and Kurt are moving in together.  They skip the streets of New York City together while singing this happy tune, confident enough in their relationships that someday, they’ll be together again.

Season 6:

“I Know Where I’ve Been” – Alex Newell (Wade “Unique” Adams) with Transpersons Choir – 6.7 “Transitioning” – from Hairspray

Will orchestrated this performance in front of Vocal Adrenaline, the homophobic bullies to Coach Sheldon Beiste (formerly Shannon) and also the worst people ever.  He wanted Beiste to know that he was welcomed and embraced for who he is, however he wants to be.  The choir is composed of 200 transgender people and brought something to television that needed to be seen.

Wow, that was fun, but also heartbreaking.  I’m really going to miss this show.  Love it or hate it, you have to admit that it really impacted culture and helped a lot of people feel comfortable in their skin. From cheerleaders and football players to future Broadway stars and misfits, Glee made us all feel welcome. Thank you, Glee, for accepting us as we are.  I think I speak for all Gleeks when I say that we will really miss you (but thank God for Netflix)!

Now that I’ve shared my twenty cents, let me know what your favorite Glee covers are!  There are so many to choose from — literally hundreds — but I’m interested to hear what I left off.  Let me know!

– xo, A


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