I was going to transition into my Top 25 Season 4 Performances, but I don't know if I'm ready to finish ranking them yet. Instead I just opened up my music library and started writing responses. I went on a collecting spree recently and significantly expanded my collection, so today I just want to talk about songs (and/or performances) that trigger Feelings. Some of them take me back in a rush, others have changed significance for me over time, or have specific parts that stand out. I always think it's really powerful how their songs wrapped in context can do that, so I'm...going to talk about it.
Black or White - I love Kurt's verse in this. It's so confident and self-assured, a little bit snarky -- and there's a twinge of sad longing, too, reminding me when he was entirely and without question on Blaine's side instead of at odds. Yes, whatever, they're theoretically back to being friends, but there's still a pretty significant wall now that simply didn't exist then. I miss them being simple and uncomplicated.
Diva - spoiler alert, this is going pretty high on the season 4 rankings because it just sends my entire mood through the roof. It's literally the only time in the entire series where I even tolerate Unique's existence, and it goes beyond tolerating into "actively adoring her voice and appearance." Brittany's self-assured confident attitude is also fantastic, but Tina's takes the cake (been the #1 diva in this game for a minute). Meanwhile, Blaine doesn't have any lines, but his entire attitude/gestures/fierce posturing delight me beyond words. I still can't believe how much Past Me was horrified by her first viewing. Even without all these great visuals, it is just the best dance beat.
Just Can't Get Enough - OK, this one's personal and sad. It reminds of Kym's last week, because it came out a couple of days before she hit the point of no return, and during the days she was quietly resting and I spent all my time downstairs on Dad's laptop, I was pretty much listening to this on loop interchanged with Marina and the Diamonds' "How To Be A Heartbreaker" while I worked on work, even more intensely once the episode aired and I still hadn't watched it. But it's not entirely sad -- it's a really fun song, and on the day the episode actually aired Kym was doing really well, so it symbolized happiness for me as well. Minor spoiler alert: it will not be showing up on the Top 25 list because the performance was ruined, but the parts where you actually see them singing together are ridiculously cute with their perfect showmanship.
We Found Love - oh, to be back in the days when the engagement only annoyed me on principle for happening, before it became a convoluted mess. Triggers such happy, optimistic memories of starry-eyed kids helping make magic. Santana still sounds particularly excellent.
I Can't Go For That / You Make My Dreams Come True - I never did put this on the Music List, even after I fell in love with it for the first time last year, but I LOVE how clear Quinn & Tina's vocals are. Especially since the memory of Shelby's WTF face at Quinn's deliberate "I'll do anything that you want me to" eye contact never fails to amuse me.
I apologize if the rest of these are repeats - I feel like I've started to write this post before, but I'm not sure if I posted it, or if I posted an incomplete list.
Here's To Us - I love Rachel's voice in this beyond belief. It's the last time they ever perform that doesn't have the crushing sadness of being "the last time." It's just happiness and sheer contentment. None of the bad things that closed out the year have happened, I just feel like everyone's infused with love and proud of being on stage.
ABC - The overwhelming love I have for Tina, Mike, Kurt & Quinn getting lead vocals has not stopped making me happy since the night this aired.
Control - I always have to push myself over the "ugh this stupid spoken intro" hump to remember how much I love Blaine & Artie trading lines. Plus fantastic dance moves.
Man in the Mirror - But it never feels complete until I round the two above out with this one. It's so soothing to be instantly transported back to fall 2011, still thoroughly safe and nestled early in senior year. I can almost smell the crisp scent of late fall and school auditoriums whenever I hear this one. Even though I love the big, broad closer, I like this because Sectionals 2011 felt smaller and more intimate, in a way, for being hosted at William McKinley - almost more of a showcase than a proper competition. Or maybe I just feel that way because I still think it's both the best complete set ND has ever done and that overall, this was the best set of competitors' songs as well.
Friday - in which I stop whatever I'm doing and just laugh for a while. I guess I don't really have profound memories of this, other than how one by one, the songs & storyline in "Prom Queen" won my heart until it became one of my all-time favorite episodes. It's the biggest handicap override since Kurt himself. It's also one of the tragically few pre-season-4 songs that features Sam I really like.
Fix You - I always skip this, assuming the Coldplay version is almost the same and I should stick to that. But if I really stop and listen, it's a nice parallel to "One of Us" in tone (musically speaking, not so much lyrically, with a similar visual performance style). It's a tiny, forgotten moment in season 3, and the sheer gentleness of the performance makes me all softhearted
You Can't Stop The Beat - pretty sure this is one of my favorite songs/performances of all time. Nothing has ever been quite this infectiously upbeat, happy, full-group-inclusive and just...full of JOY.
I'm sure I have more, but being pressed for time, I'll cut myself off there.
And probably go think about other Glee-related things. It strikes me how sad I am that Glee does not have quite the same shining luster it did for me this time last year. I fought the good fight, but summer 2012 was full of nonstop speculation and obsessive tracking of Chris Colfer's book/movie tour, whereas this year I feel like I'm barely even paying attention to him or Darren despite the former's slightly-subdued European reprise and the latter's shiny new concert tour. I'm gonna go ahead and blame it 100% on the dismal and ruinous mess that was this show's OTP centerpoint. The lack of resolution in the finale was the nail in the coffin. I know great things happened in season 4 - I started writing a giant list of them and it ballooned out of control - but I keep coming back to that specific disappointment and being left with a feeling of hopelessness. Or apathy, which is almost worse.