Community (Music from the Original Television Series), by Various Artists

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Released September 21, 2010

34 min, 12 sec

I’ve been a big fan of Community for several years, and that hasn’t been easy lately, what with the show’s constant threats of cancellation, Dan Harmon’s firing and subsequent re-hiring once the show took a gigantic dive in quality, and the final, ultimate cancellation following season five. But, of course, Community never dies, and season six is part of Yahoo! Screen’s first major push towards the mainstream, premiering exclusively through the service on March 17.

Funnily enough, one of the major parts of Community (its first season, at least) was the musical performances of its cast members, usually in send-ups of other shows with random musical segments, or songs that, at least, made sense in the context of a given episode, like Eric Christian Olsen’s two songs (“Getting Rid of Britta” and “Pierce You Are a B”) performed on-screen with his band. The result is a very unusual television soundtrack, unconcerned with providing its listeners with the show’s actual musical score, instead producing a contextless (but mostly in order) set of in-character songs.

One of the detriments here is that none of the songs are edited in any way, and almost all of the songs are straight from their appearances in their respective episodes, with dialogue and interruptions intact. This is probably because most of the performances were done as part of the scenes themselves, instead of being recorded separately, but it still has the feeling that the album was released as a bit of an afterthought.

Jacques Slade is a surprising gem, here, however, particularly with “Night Cap,” which is a hilarious, full-length track, alongside “I Never Die,” also recorded in full. Of the three actual score pieces included, “Community Medley” is by far the best, combining a number of background tracks into one, well-blended medley that’s simply a pleasure to listen to.  The full version of title theme “At Least It Was Here” is a fantastic song, as well.

That’s it, really. The soundtrack only focuses on Season 1, and there have been no other volumes, so no other episode of the series beyond the first season – not even the musical Glee parody episode – has received any sort of soundtrack release. That alone makes this reek of contractual obligation and cash grab, but at least Community had the opportunity to subvert the television soundtrack genre, too.

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