Sometimes my brain is so useless. I want to think about work. Or parenting. Or Doctor Who. But instead, my brain is writing analytic essays about Glee. But it has to go somewhere, so here it is. I hope you like it.
The other morning, I was listening to my Warblers album (which is awesome, by the way–you can get it here) which starts with “Teenage Dream,” of course.
Not for the first time, I was frustrated. Everyone loves to call Blaine (and Darren Criss) “Glee’s Teenage Dream,” but other than that, the song makes no sense. Blaine isn’t into Kurt yet when he sings the song. He doesn’t wear skinny jeans (even when he’s not wearing his uniform). It’s a great song, and I can see why it was the first Glee song to hit number 1 on the Billboard charts, and Criss does an amazing job singing it, but in terms of the lyrics, it just isn’t Blaine’s voice. Why is he singing it? Why did the writers squander this, the first entrance of a character who’s going to be so important, by making the only narrative purpose of the song be the title?
And then it hits me: the song isn’t what Blaine is thinking, it’s what Kurt is thinking. They didn’t squander anything. In fact, they used a brilliant musical theater tactic here. We know that Blaine is perfect for Kurt because he’s singing Kurt’s thoughts.
Then the next song comes on:
Hey, soul sister
Ain’t that Mister, Mister on the radio, stereo
The way you move ain’t fair you know
Hey, soul sister
I don’t want to miss a single thing you do
And indeed, the way Blaine moves ain’t fair at all. Kurt can’t compete, and he’s madly in love by this point. Again, he’s watching Blaine sing his thoughts. Kurt is beginning to become frustrated that Blaine gets all the solos, and at the same time, he can’t resist him. Again, it’s a perfect song to underscore the connection that’s forming between the two characters. We feel that Blaine is Kurt’s soul mate because the writers are showing us the connection between them.
“Baby It’s Cold Outside” isn’t on the Warblers album, but it perfectly exemplifies my theory. It’s Kurt and Blaine’s first duet, and in this song, they’re singing each other’s thoughts. Put aside the fact that it’s a classic song, they’ve taken the sexual harassment out of it by making it clearly a performance (thank goodness), and it’s a perfect arrangement (Blaine singing the high part at the end while Kurt goes lower? Gorgeous.) and you see that Blaine is singing the part of the seducer while Kurt is playing the oblivious one. At the end of the song, Blaine walks out without a care in the world, and Kurt tells Mr. Schuester that he’s at least happy he’s moved on to an unrequited crush on a gay boy, which is an improvement over Finn and Sam.
By the time “Bills, Bills, Bills” comes along, Kurt is more comfortable with the Warblers. He’s more comfortable with Blaine, too, and getting more resentful. Blaine is taking advantage of him and everyone else by hogging all the solos and taking all the glory from their combined sound, and Kurt’s not getting what he wants in return. He’s safe at Dalton Academy, but he’s singing less than he did in New Directions, and he’s not getting the kind of attention he wants from Blaine. Blaine’s singing about Kurt’s frustrations.
Watch this scene. Kurt’s head is about to explode. Blaine is singing out all his desires, to Jeremiah, who isn’t even enjoying it. Le sigh.
This one’s just cheating, because Kurt picked the song. But it still works. It’s a wonderful, innocent, happy song that perfectly exemplifies Kurt’s approach to love.
I’m not going to link to “Don’t You Want Me,” because it’s not The Warblers and it’s not Kurt and Blaine. But it IS Blaine, and also: duh.
I’m also skipping “Animal,” because it’s kind of an outlier. It doesn’t destroy my theory: Blaine is still singing the seductive parts. But the point of the song is that Kurt is uncomfortable being sexy, and he is. So it’s not really about Kurt’s feelings about Blaine, it’s about Kurt’s feelings about sex, which is somewhat different.
Ah, “Misery.” By this time, Kurt’s frustrations come to a boil. He doesn’t get to sing lead. Blaine has told him straight up that he’s not interested, and then he had the whole thing with Rachel, and then Kurt completely embarrassed himself with the sexy faces.
I am in misery
There ain’t nobody
Who can comfort me (Oh yeah)
Why won’t you answer me?
The silence is slowly killing me (Oh yeah)
At the end of the song, he finally confronts Blaine. He wants to sing. Or at least, he wants someone other than Blaine to have a chance at singing. And his complaint gets Blaine’s attention, as does the canary cage he bought for Pavarotti, the Warbler mascot. And also the fact that Kurt was completely ignoring Blaine while he was singing, which is a thing that only happens once. Literally. In five years, there is no other time when Kurt is immune to Blaine’s singing charms, even at his most furious.
Then Pavarotti has a stroke, and Kurt finally gets to sing Blaine’s thoughts for him, because they’re soul mates.
Yup. Blaine’s been waiting his whole life for this moment to arise. He makes that sound a lot more dramatic than the sixteen years it’s been with his pitch-perfect romantic speech to Kurt:
Anyway, after that, they turn to other interests in their singing, for the most part. “Candles” is really a song for Rachel and Finn, for example. But there is one other thing.
When Kurt and Blaine sing a love song (which they do way, way too infrequently), they split the same part. That’s friggin Shakespearean. Like Romeo and Juliet forming a sonnet with their first words to each other, Kurt and Blaine are in such accord that their love forms the same thoughts in both of them. Again, solid musical theater technique. I’m not going to post “American Boy” again, because I’ve got a whole post about that, (actually two) so here’s “Got to Get You Into My Life.”
Well, hopefully now that I’ve got that out of my head, I can move on to other things. We caught up on Doctor Who. We’re watching Cutthroat Kitchen. We’ve got tickets to Comic Con. So there’s plenty of other nerdy stuff to write about, if only my brain will let me. Stay tuned!