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4Play: Glee Cast, Goo Goo Dolls, Level42, The Maine

Kristi Kates - November 1st, 2010
Glee Cast - Glee: The Music Volume 3: Showstoppers - Columbia
“Gleeksters,” as fans of this TV show are called, have already - along with, surprisingly, a whole lot of other folks - snapped up the first two volumes of cover songs as performed by the Glee cast - so what’s to stop the success of a third volume, in all its campy pop glory? A wider range of the show’s cast is included here than on previous sets, from Amber Riley’s take on Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” to Mark Salling’s “Lady is a Tramp.” There are group numbers, too - Glee’s trek through Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” - plus guest tunes from Olivia Newton-John and Broadway’s Kristen Chenoweth.


Goo Goo Dolls - Something for the Rest of Us - Warner Bros.
Recorded in several studios in Los Angeles plus the Goo’s own studio in Buffalo, New York, with producers Tim Palmer, Butch Vig (Garbage), and John Fields, the Goo Goo Dolls’ latest effort was written and recorded at leisure over the past few years, with main songwriter John Rzeznik aiming to bring positivity - albeit through some fairly treadworn metaphors - to those struggling through the current rough economic climate. The title track stays fairly mainstream if catchy, while “Notbroken,” “Say You’re Free,” and “Soldier” wrap up the set with the big-chorused, Bon-Jovi-lite rock anthems that the band’s known for.


Level 42 - Living It Up - Hip-O Records
“Something About You” was Level 42’s big hit in the ‘80s, and it was something about that particular song that rendered the band a one-hit
wonder for the most part. That’s unfortunate, as the rest of their back catalog includes some well-written and arranged tracks, including “Lessons in Love” and “World Machine (Remix),” the latter of which was only released in the U.S. This 30th-anniversary set includes all of the band’s A-side singles plus some extras, and an additional new disc recorded in 2010 by singer Mark King and keyboardist Mike Lindup featuring acoustic versions of 10 of the band’s songs.





The Maine - Black and White - Sire/WEA
All American Rejects/My Chemical Romance producer Howard Benson took over the boards for this California band’s latest effort, which sees the band focusing on crafting a more cohesive, directed album than previous sets. Heavy pop tunes stay hook-laden while offering a more hefty sensibility, reminiscent of the aforementioned Goo Goo Dolls. “Growing Up” stacks its musical layers in gradually, from acoustic guitar onward; “Fuel to the Fire” and “Listen to Your Heart” and the aforementioned “Growing Up” all add life lessons - albeit ones you probably already know - into the mix.
 
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