In time for this year’s season finale, and the graduation of several key characters in the series, Glee released its Graduation Album in stores this week. The compilation received generally negative reviews. As usual, Adam Anders and Ryan Murphy are the soundtrack producers. Soloists on the album include Chris Colfer, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Matthew Morrison, and Mark Salling, with contributions from Dianna Agron, Darren Criss, Chord Overstreet, Amber Riley, Naya Rivera and Jenna Ushkowitz.
Heather Phares (All Music): One of Glee’s biggest (perhaps only) concessions to the realities of being a high-school student was the graduation of several cast members entering their final year at William McKinley High School at the end of the show’s third season. … The Graduation Album focuses on performances by many of these seniors … of songs that are or will be staples of the cap-and-gown set. Aside from a few rockers … the mood is fairly solemn by Glee’s standards. … As with many later albums in the Glee series, the cast’s performances are decent but somewhat bland, as are the song choices, although fun.’s “We Are Young” and the New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give” are too quirky to have all their personality removed by Glee’s gloss. … The Graduation Album still suggests that, musically speaking anyway, Glee’s glory days might be behind it.
Chris Willman (The Wrap): Lest they take over Dick Clark’s old title as the “world’s oldest teenagers,” some of the Glee kids are finally graduating (from high school, if not the series). … The song selection is, by and large, not bad, for a po(m)p-and-circumstance collection. If you’re planning a graduation party yourself, this particular Glee album is useful … as a tracklist guide for going to iTunes and downloading the versions by the original artists. … The show’s covers are more fun when they depart in some dramatic way from the original hits, either via an arrangement choice or unusual pick of vocalist, but Glee has never been particularly interested in musical adventurousness.
John Wirt (The Advocate): Even more than usual, the latest Glee cast album is all about uplift. It’s senior year and the singing students at McKinley High School are graduating with high notes. The songs mix classic rock and pop with some more recent hits. … As always, the vocal and instrumental arrangements are polished and full. … But a few underachievers get promoted in The Graduation Album, including Chris Colfer’s tepid performance of Madonna’s “I’ll Remember” and Mark Salling’s “School’s Out,” which is nowhere near as rocking and dangerous as the Alice Cooper original. Other songs … may simply be beyond the young singers’ experience.