Review Summary: Catchy, often fun, but overly poppy, 'High School Musical' more than serves its purpose as a premiere 'Disney' soundtrack. And with some great vocal work, the experience is a good one.
Where I go to school, there are two choices for you: Either stay at the school, or you can you take classes at a side-school named Butler Tech. Without getting into too much detail, Butler Tech is the place you go if you already know what you're going to be, and you take classes that will help you achieve that (The classes are VERY specific). But there are also four 'satellite' classes from Butler Tech that attach onto our school. They are: On Your Own, Nutrition and Wellness, Child Care and Development, and College Life Survival. I'm taking Nutrition and Wellness, and College Life Survival.
So what's this got to do with anything about "High School Musical
"? Well, it's pretty much how I came across it.
See, there's only three teachers for those classes, and they all rotate, and they like to do things together. So they all got together, and picked "High School Musical
" as the movie to show us to fulfill the 'leadership' role they were trying to get across. So I basically had to watch that movie twice in one day. It's quite embarrassing, really, for the whole time leading up the movie, I was making fun of it along with the other guys. I assumed every guy in it was gay, and that overall, the movie would be the worst thing ever shown. How surprised I was when halfway through the movie, I was wondering "Man, is Troy gonna get that part in the play? What about Gabriella?!
". And worst of all, I had all of those damn little pop-radio-friendly songs stuck in my head, and trying to force them out with even Slayer
wasn't doing the trick.
I'll kick off with the slower, moodier songs. It's not really the fact that these songs are so musically diverse that they knocked me out of chair and gave me a seizure. On the contrary, really. The emphasis of the songs is never on the instruments, but rather on the singers. Actually, I'll take that back again. The instruments are so simple that you shouldn't even recognize them. Instead, you'll be focusing on the vocal range of some of these kids. It's all pop-cliché beats, sampled and re-sampled again. "Start of Something New
" is the perfect example of this. It sounds like a standard radio song, like something Jessica Simpson
could get away with. But combined with the vocals of Troy and Gabriella, it gives off an aura of talent and tranquility. "What I've Been Looking For (Ver. 2)
" features a calm-piano that drifts throughout the song, but again is pushed aside by the Nick Lachey
type vocals from Troy and Gabriella's high pitched voice. If you can't figure it out by now, all of these songs have that certain 'Disney' happy tone throughout them. "Breaking Free
" is very much like "What I've Been Looking For (Ver. 2)
", with the fact in the mind that a soft piano is at its core. It's actually more like a 'Pop-Rock' song once it gets going, since a basic drum beat comes into play and goes underneath Gabriella's fluctuating voice. "Breaking Free
" again, for the third time now, starts off with a velvety piano, this one a bit more complex before it begins to again feel more 'Pop-Rock' based, and is a wonderful duet by Troy and Gabriella once more.
Each of those songs is sung exclusively by the main characters, Troy and Gabriella. Both of those actors/singers have a very large amount of talent, each showing their own vocal range. Troy at points actually sounds like a female, seeing as how his voice can actually almost match Gabriella's at points (Maybe he's a Uni...?), while Gabriella comes off as a pop-diva, wailing and holding out high notes all over the place. If anything is to be said with their voices, it would be the fact that they sound a bit too poppish. Actually, they are pop. And with pop-vocals, they're also sickly-sweet. Like a sugar-coated sucker that at first tastes great, but after awhile gives you a headache from the sweetness. And virtually all the music in those songs sounds the same in the beginning. The only way you can the difference is you'd have to sit and listen to each song for about 15 seconds, and that's when each goes off in their own directions. I find that a bit annoying. And the lyrics for those are about as standard as they can come. I'm sure most of you have heard an original 'Disney' artist before, and it seems like they ripped the lyrics straight from them. Take this overly-sugary line from "Start of Something New
", when Troy and Gabriella sing out "It feels so right, to be here with you. And now looking in your eyes, I feel in my heart, the start of something new...
". Those are the standard for those song mentioned in the paragraph above. Undeniably dull and even more bland as each song passes on.
But when the songs get a bit faster, they also become more creative and fruitful, since here, the beats actually take a more central role, which adds a layer of dimension to these seemingly one-sided songs. "Get'cha Head In The Game
" could've honestly been a commercial for Nike, since the beats are sampled from basketballs, squeaking basketball shoes, and swooping baskets. And the thumping bass only adds to the fun. Troy once more demands to be the highlight, with almost talk-like-singing, a great mix-up. "What I've Been Looking For (Ver. 1)
" is sung by a new couple: Sharpay and Ryan. The piano is exactly the same as on "Ver. 2
", but it's played in a faster tempo, and gives it a more 'bubbly' feeling, making it a welcome addition. Sharpay and Ryan add a nice chant-along to the song, and it's the real meaning of a song-and-dance. The best song, however, has got to be "Stick to the Status Quo
". It's an extravagant song, which features everything from a popping-bass, a shift piano, and some creative drum work. It also features the best vocal work, since instead of just two people, it's an entire choir. There are some solos in there from stand-in characters, but they don't sing. Instead, they talk normally before you're blasted from a full-blown choir. Sharpay and Ryan even make an appearance for awhile, with Ryan backing her up with a few notes. But the best part is this: A frickin' guitar solo! Yes, it has a guitar solo. A very, very simple, melodic guitar solo. But it's the fact that its there that makes me smile.
I've also got a slight fetish for Spanish, so when I heard "Bop to the Top
", it stuck in my head for a whole damn week. It's got a Santana
type guitar, tribal drums; the works. Even some trumpets that wail out from the corners of the song. But its Sharpay and Ryan all the way, as their energetic vocals and quick shouts in Spanish will just scream for your attention. The second to last song is the grand finale of the album, "We're All In This Together
". It features every vocalist from the album so far, giving it a more diverse feel. The chorus is so sickly-melodic that it could give you a headache, however. The last song on here, "I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You
", is a bit more funky than the past songs. The instrumental work is some of the best off this album, with a climbing bass, trumpets, and some sampled drum work. It also features Sharpay, Ryan, Troy, and Gabriella. But it's hard to tell whos-who when they all sound alike...
Those past songs I mentioned are easily the redeemers of this album. The introduction of Sharpay and Ryan, while they sound similar to Troy and Gabriella, is a very welcome change. They're a bit more energetic, and make the songs a more enjoyable trip. Not to say that Troy and Gabriella aren't, but it's more amusing to hear these two show-boats shout out stuff like "(Sharpay)Show some muscle! (Ryan) Do the hustle!
" right in the middle of the songs as if they were improvising than just hear Troy and Gabriella go through the motions. And the lyrics, still, are about as dumb as they come. "Get'cha Head In The Game
" centers around basketball themed lyrics, with Troy blurting out "Coach said to, fake right, and break left!
" and other nonsense like that. "We're All In This Together
", however, features the worst line off this album, and reeks so much of 'Disney' do-gooders that it makes me want to vomit. It's from Gabriella, as she cries out "We're not the same, we're all different in a good way!
". Yea, pretty bad. But, "Stick to the Status Quo
" is pretty darn funny, in a good way. During the talking parts, people confess their deepest secrets, like a nerdy-girl saying "Look at me, and what do you see? Intelligence beyond compare. But inside I am stirring, something strange is occuring....hip-hop is my passion! I love to pop-and-lock, and jam, and break, sometimes I think its cooler than homework!
The album also features a 'special' version of "Get'cha Head In The Game
", which this time is sung by B5
. Desperate move on B5's
part? Maybe so. They tweaked the lyrics a bit to give it just a tad bit more feel like a 'Rap' song, and the beat has been messed with a little bit. And with 5 guys doing different style vocals, it feels like a different trip at points.
"High School Musical
" isn't bad at all; it's actually quite good. While at points, the pop-flavor of this album might make you sick, it's just a good time that you can't ignore. The vocal work is very, very commendable, even if a lot of the singers sound the same with that pop-overtone. And when the beats get going, they’re pretty fun. While the slower songs are bit more boring, the more beat-oriented ones are far more fun and make up for the loss.
Get'cha Head In The Game
Stick to the Status Quo
Bop to the Top