UltimateDisney.com's Spring 2007 CD Roundup
UltimateDisney.com Presents:
Walt Disney Records - Spring 2007 CD Roundup

Ten new albums reviewed including Meet the Robinsons soundtrack, Disneymania 5

After two months almost entirely devoid of new releases, Walt Disney Records bounced back this past February and kicked things into high gear. Since then, nearly every week has sent a new Disney CD to stores. With the company's home video calendar unusually barren, most of the record label's winter and spring output features the type of music that fills the airwaves of Radio Disney and Disney Channel year-round. The latest installments of Radio Disney Jams and Disneymania provide tween/teen-friendly acts from performers familiar to the target demographic, with the former sprinkling in some mainstream artists and the latter delivering new takes on classic Disney movie tunes. A similar audience is also served an overdue album by teenaged pop trio Everlife and the debut effort of the even younger pop/hip-hop quartet T-Squad.

Relegated to Hollywood Records, Bridge to Terabithia's soundtrack was thus not submitted for review. But, Meet the Robinsons, Disney's second in-house all-CGI flick, gets an album that offers a Danny Elfman score alongside radio-ready tracks by Rufus Wainwright, Rob Thomas, Jamie Cullum, and The All-American Rejects. The latest Disney Channel Original Movie, Jump In!, broke viewership records with its January premiere and though its soundtrack hasn't toppled the multi-platinum High School Musical, it did bow high on the Billboard chart and was certified gold. Rounding out this article, three franchises perennially popular this decade -- Pixar, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Mickey Mouse -- were treated to low-priced discs appealing to those who appreciate themes or are simply less discerning.

Click to jump to an individual review:
Jump In! Soundtrack | Mickey's Party Songs | Pirates of the Caribbean: Swashbuckling Sea Songs
Everlife - Everlife | Disney Pixar Buddy Songs | Radio Disney Jams 9 (CD + Music Videos DVD)
Hannah Montana: 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack (CD + DVD) | Disneymania 5 | Meet the Robinsons: Soundtrack | T-Squad - T-Squad

Jump In! Soundtrack
Jump In! Soundtrack
Running Time: 45 minutes / Release Date: January 9, 2007 / SRP: $18.98

Track Listing:
1) "It's On" - N.L.T.
2) "It's My Turn Now" - Keke Palmer
3) "Push It to the Limit" - Corbin Bleu
4) "Vertical" - T-Squad
5) "Where Do I Go from Here" - Sebastian Mago
6) "Jump to the Rhythm" - Jordan Pruitt
7) "Jumpin'" - Keke Palmer
8) "Go! (Jump In! mix)" - Jupiter Rising
9) "I'm Ready" - Drew Seeley
10) "Gotta Lotta" - Prima J
11) "Live It Up" - Jeannie Ortega
12) "Jump" - Lil' Josh
13) "Let It Go" - Kyle

Jump In! succeeds in having a clean-cut urban soundtrack which matches the clean-cut urban film it is. Unfortunately it is a bit too clean-cut and makes for an underwhelming collection of music. While the first track, "It's On", shows promise in its stinging synthesized introduction, the entire song is composed of the title phrase repeated ad nauseam with a few extra lyrics thrown in for good measure. The rest of the soundtrack is just as creative, offering such repetitive choruses as "Push it, push it, to the limit, limit, cause we're in it to win it, we're in it to win it" (Corbin Bleu's "Push It to the Limit").
I wasn't expecting anything groundbreaking, but the bulk of this 13-track CD is an amalgam of all that I feel is wrong in music. No, not the sexually offensive and demeaning lyrics of rappers with names like Mista Big Shot or initials like PDQ. This album is simply one of many to come from Disney that wants to push young teenyboppers on an unsuspecting audience, under the guise that said teenyboppers actually have vocal talents. I nearly shut off the CD a minute into "Vertical" sung by the new group T-Squad, who will go down in Disney history as the butchers of "The Second Star to the Right." And if Jupiter Rising's "Go!" is a "Jump In! Mix" version, I shudder to think what the original sounded like.

Still, there is some justice in the world, and Jump In! contains a few good songs. "Where Do I Go From Here?", which I dreaded would be an abysmal cover of the Carpenters or Bryan Adams songs of the same name, was a pleasantly surprising original concoction, adequately brought to life by Sebastian Mego. This and Kyle's "Let It Go" were the only two tracks I found myself really enjoying, perhaps because they're markedly different from the rest of the playlist, sounding like music you'd find in a sad montage of a romantic comedy. Two other songs worth listening to are Jeannie Ortega's "Live It Up" and "I'm Ready" by Drew Seeley. Like much of its company, Ortega's "Live It Up" gets a bit repetitive, but her Kelly Clarkson-esque vocals are superior to anyone else on this CD. I had reservations when it came to Seeley, as I was nowhere near the biggest fan of the singing voice he supplied Troy with in High School Musical. To his benefit, the style of the song here is different (and better) than his earlier material. Most everything else is forgettable, and you'd be better off downloading just the good songs from iTunes than paying for this entire CD. Especially since a two-disc Remixed Edition is allegedly in the works. Let the bleeding ears and grinding teeth continue this summer...

UD Rating: out of 5

Buy Jump In!: Soundtrack CD from Amazon.com / Download from Jump In (Original Soundtrack)

Related Reviews: High School Musical: Soundtrack The Cheetah Girls 2: Soundtrack

Related Preorder: Jump In! Freestyle Edition DVD

Mickey's Party Songs
Mickey's Party Songs
Running Time: 25 minutes / Release Date: February 6, 2007 / SRP: $9.98

Track Listing:
1) "Clubhouse Birthday Party"
2) "Put the Tail on the Donkey"
3) "London Bridge is Falling Down"
4) "Musical Chairs"
5) "The Hokey Pokey"
6) "Ring Around the Rosie"
7) "Following the Leader"
8) "Polly Wolly Doodle"
9) "Duck, Duck, Donald"
10) "Hot Potato"
11) "The Unbirthday Song"
12) "Happy Birthday to You"

Even approaching the big 8-0, Mickey Mouse and his friends have still got it. By "it", I mean the power to entertain children. This long-accepted prowess is put to good use in Mickey's Party Songs, a low-priced serving of new recordings of largely pre-existing, familiar children's anthems. The album is intended to liven up a youngster's birthday party. A number of the tracks are meant to accompany games that are common to extracurricular kid gatherings. Not only that, but the lyrics to tunes like "Musical Chairs" and "The Hokey Pokey" even explain the standard operating procedures to the poor (or lucky, depending on how you look at it) little ones who have never before had the privilege of playing the activities of the same names. Supporting the theme, the liner notes open up to include a removable poster of Eeyore for "Put the Tail on the Donkey" and inserting this disc into a computer unleashes a 21-page PDF of planning tips, party invitations, coloring pages, song lyrics, and, naturally, tails that can all easily be printed out.

This album is the sort of thing that could have been released fifty years ago with little change. CDs might not have been around then and there wouldn't be the "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" vibe that's present here. But Mickey and company, the catchy songs they perform, and the sensibility of it all have been in style for a very long time.

UD Rating: out of 5

Buy Mickey's Party Songs from Amazon.com / Download from Goofy & Mickey Mouse - Mickey's Party Songs

Related Reviews:
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Songs From and Inspired by the Hit TV Series (CD) Disney: The Music Behind the Magic (CD)
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey Saves Santa and Other Mouseketales (DVD) Baby Einstein: Playdate Fun (CD)
Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers (DVD) Mickey Mouse Club: The Best of Britney, Justin & Christina (DVD)
Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Volume 2 (DVD) Classic Cartoon Favorites: Starring Mickey (DVD)

Related Preorder: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Great Clubhouse Hunt DVD (Review)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Swashbuckling Sea Songs
Pirates of the Caribbean: Swashbuckling Sea Songs
Running Time: 40 minutes / Release Date: February 13, 2007 / SRP: $9.98

Track Listing:
1) "Away, Away, Away"
2) "Treasure"
3) "The First Mate Is a Monkey"
4) "Welcome to the Caribbean"
5) "Stowaway"
6) "The Legend of Davy Jones (Forty Fathoms Deep)"
7) "Shiver My Timbers" (from Muppet Treasure Island)
8) "Yo, Ho, Ho (And a Bottle of Rum)"
9) "Sailing for Adventure" (from Muppet Treasure Island)
10) "Blow the Man Down"
11) "The Pirate King"
12) "Pirates of the Black Tide"
13) "Davy Jones' Locker"
14) "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)"

Not only have the characters of the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Caribbean film series reaped major box office gold, they've made it fashionable again to be a pirate. At least that must be what Disney's hedging its bets on with this collection of songs "inspired by Dead Man's Chest" and adorned with cartoon imagery of the Pirates of the Caribbean universe. Though a quick glance might suggest this is laying the groundwork for an animated spin-off to the blockbusters, it's really just a celebration of seafaring life timed to capitalize on the booming Disney Pirates phenomenon. The memorable song from the theme park boat ride that inspired the movies (and has since been taken over by them) closes out the album. New, Muppet-free renditions of two lively numbers from 1996's Muppet Treasure Island are highlights at the center. Aside from salty takes on three traditional tunes, the remaining eight tracks are new compositions. They range from bouncy to cheesy, with none standing out as heinous or rousing, and some mentioning elements from the films. It's not entirely clear whether young children or fans of the movies are the intended demographic. Though there probably shouldn't be, there is of course some overlap to these audiences. Nevertheless, if "pirate music" (not "pirated music") is your thing, this lineup should suit you well regardless of age and your stance on the films.

In addition to raising awareness of the all-angles promotional push that's brewing for May's big screen release of At World's End, the booklet provides six brief but interesting blurbs on aspects of pirate life, from flags and their meanings to the widely-accepted invention of planks. As the motion pictures have relied heavily on time-tested pirate folklore, this compilation is as much an acceptable extension to the franchise as it is a quick cash-in. With the low list price, the disc sets one back no more than it should.

UD Rating: out of 5

Buy Pirates of the Caribbean: Swashbuckling Sea Songs from Amazon.com / Download from Disney Chorus - Pirates of the Caribbean: Swashbuckling Sea Songs

Related Reviews:
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Soundtrack (CD) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (DVD)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (3-Disc DVD Gift Set) Muppet Treasure Island (Kermit's 50th Anniversary DVD)
A Musical History of Disneyland: 50th Anniversary (5-Disc CD Box Set)
Peter Pan: Platinum Edition (DVD) Swiss Family Robinson (DVD) Treasure Island (DVD)
Disney's Karaoke Series: Theme Park Favorites (CD) Disney's Happiest Celebration on Earth (CD)
Related Article: UD's Interview with Pirates of the Caribbean writers Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
Related Preview: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Everlife - Everlife
Running Time: 45 minutes / Release Date: February 20, 2007 / SRP: $12.98

Track Listing:
1) "Faded"
2) "Goodbye"
3) "I Could Get Used to This"
4) "Where You Are"
5) "Static"
6) "What I Like About You"
7) "Daring to Be Different"
8) "Find Yourself in You"
9) "Look Through My Eyes"
10) "Now or Never"
11) "Real Wild Child"
12) "Go Figure"
13) "Angels Cry"

Though it's billed as their self-titled debut album, Everlife is actually the second release to bear the band's name. The real self-titled debut, released in 2004, introduced the world to this young Contemporary Christian Music girl group, but its low-profile distribution by an independent record label apparently allows Disney to claim this year's Everlife as the first. The tracks should sound familiar, as five of them are covers of popular tunes, three have previously appeared on soundtracks, and two are remakes of songs that appeared on their original album.

Makers of their own music, one has to respect the group's talent. Even at their young age and in their first "official" effort, Everlife's sound is more sophisticated than that of their Radio Disney bretheren and a good deal more lively than a lot of what passes muster on Christian radio these days. Explicitly religious lyrics are difficult to find, though they do show up now and then, particularly in the final track. Still, this is a teen-targeted pop group and there's more uniformity and vocal-drowning guitar gloss in these tracks than there should be.

Several of the songs are very good and are definitely worth consideration. A handful of fun tunes teamed with some truly thoughtful ones and a positive message make this CD, which is cleverly designed to look like an old vinyl, ideal for a younger audience and perhaps even a few adults as well. The group's Christian fans may want to look for the album at a CBA-affiliated retailer, where two bonus tracks (including a new recording of an inspirational track from the indie album) are included.

UD Rating: out of 5

Buy Everlife from Amazon.com / Download from Everlife

Related Reviews: The Wild: Soundtrack The Wild (DVD) Lilo & Stitch: Island Favorites
Tarzan: Special Edition (DVD) Disneymania 3 in Concert (DVD) Brother Bear (DVD) Disneymania 3

Disney Pixar Buddy Songs
Disney / Pixar Buddy Songs
Running Time: 43 minutes / Release Date: February 27, 2007 / SRP: $12.98

Track Listing:
1) Fred Mollin and the Blue Sea Band feat. Tom Hambridge - "Road Trip"
2) Riders in the Sky - "You've Got a Friend in Me"
3) Fred Mollin and the Blue Sea Band feat. Kandace Williams - "Beyond the Sea"
4) Fred Mollin and the Blue Sea Band feat. Jaime Babbitt and Britt Savage - "Black and White Thunderbird"
5) Riders in the Sky - "Woody's Roundup"
6) Fred Mollin and the Blue Sea Band feat. Tim Buppert - "Fish School"
7) Fred Mollin and the Blue Sea Band feat. Lyle Gudmunsen - "My Wonderful Car"
8) Riders in the Sky - "I Only Have Eye for You"
9) Fred Mollin and the Blue Sea Band feat. Tim Buppert - "Turtle Rock"
10) Riders in the Sky - "Jessie, the Yodeling Cowgirl"
11) Fred Mollin and the Blue Sea Band feat. Pat Buchanan - "Hot Rod Hybrid"
12) Fred Mollin and the Blue Sea Band feat. Scat Springs - "Under the Waves"
13) Riders in the Sky - "Monster ABCs"
14) Fred Mollin and the Blue Sea Band feat. Mark Johnson - "Pick-Up Truck"
15) Riders in the Sky - "If I Didn't Have You"

Over the course of the past twelve years, Pixar Animation Studios has completed seven feature films. These works have been recognized for their innovative storytelling, winning characters, fine sense of humor, cutting-edge animation and, on occasion, their music. For most people, the words "Pixar" and "music" call to mind one name: Randy Newman. Newman has scored and penned songs for five of Pixar's films and all five have earned him an Oscar nomination or two.
Encountering an album called Disney Pixar Buddy Songs, you expect Newman to be all over the place, not only his unmistakable voice but also his recognizably wry yet sentimental lyrics (that have been performed by the likes of Robert Goulet, Sarah McLachlan, and James Taylor). You would be mistaken. A mere three Newman compositions are featured here and they are performed by Riders in the Sky, the Western group that has collaborated with Pixar on a few occasions.

You see, instead of The Greatest Hits of Pixar Films the cover art leads you to expect, you're treated to The Greatest Hits of Albums Inspired by Pixar Films. The tunes are culled from Finding Nemo: Ocean Favorites, Monsters, Inc.: Scream Factory Favorites, Toy Story 2: Woody's Roundup - A Rootin' Tootin' Collection of Woody's Favorite Songs and Lightning McQueen's Fast-Tracks. And so, the most prominent name is not Randy Newman but Fred Mollin, the producer/composer who compiled this CD and, with his Blue Sea Band and a rotating seat for featured vocalist, performs on all the tracks but the Riders' five. The Riders' tracks are among the more enjoyable, especially lone true-to-film recording "Woody's Roundup", the theme song to the briefly-popular '50s television series discovered in Toy Story 2, and "If I Didn't Have You", the Monsters, Inc. number that won Newman his only statue to date.

Once you get past the fact that this is not the Best of Pixar Music release that we deserve, you'll find it's not too bad a compilation. There are some mildly catchy anthems along with the plainly forgettable tracks. Anyone open to "Inspired By" albums and not already in possession of the discs excerpted here should appreciate being able to sample the four at a lower and reasonable price. It's an album that doesn't satisfy hopeful ears, but one which still pleases in theory. It will be easier to forgive with the passing of time and the issuance of a more appealing Pixar music collection. The booklet serves up lyrics to all fifteen songs and imagery of Pixar characters. Sadly, the album overlooks two of the studio's most compelling universes; the sidelining of the bugs and superheroes is disappointing but understandable since neither film had an "Inspired By" soundtracks and The Incredibles was completely without lyrical song.

UD Rating: out of 5

Buy Disney Pixar Buddy Songs from Amazon.com / Download from Riders In the Sky - Disney: Pixar Buddy Songs

Related CD Reviews: Cars: Soundtrack Lightning McQueen's Fast Tracks Disney's Karaoke Series: Cars
Pixar DVD Reviews: Cars Monsters, Inc. Toy Story Toy Story 2 Finding Nemo The Incredibles A Bug's Life
Related Articles: Cars: World Premiere Report Cars: Guide to Tie-Ins
Related Preview: Ratatouille, Pixar's eighth feature film

Radio Disney Jams 9 (CD + Music Videos DVD)
Radio Disney Jams 9 (CD + Music Videos DVD)
Running Time: 52 minutes (CD), 17 minutes (DVD) / Release Date: March 13, 2007 / SRP: $18.98

Track Listing:
Disc 1: Audio CD
1) "If We Were a Movie" - Hannah Montana
2) "Bad Day" - Daniel Powter
3) "Come Back to Me" - Vanessa Hudgens
4) "Life is a Highway" - Rascal Flatts
5) "Strut" - The Cheetah Girls
6) "Right Where You Want Me (Radio Disney Edit)" - Jesse McCartney
7) "Unwritten" - Natasha Bedingfield
8) "I Could Get Used to This" - Everlife
9) "Dance with Me" - Drew Seeley
10) "Cool" - Gwen Stefani
11) "Vertical" - T-Squad
12) "Chemicals React" - Aly & AJ
13) "Wake Up" - Hilary Duff
14) "Beverly Hills (Radio Disney Edit)" - Weezer
15) "Start of Something New (Live)" - Cast of High School Musical

Disc 2: Music Videos DVD
1) "The Best of Both Worlds" - Hannah Montana
2) "Chemicals React" - Aly & AJ
3) "Vertical" - T-Squad
4) "Route 66" - The Cheetah Girls
5) "Find Yourself in You" - Everlife

With nearly half of its fifteen tracks having been major mainstream radio hits, Radio Disney Jams 9 isn't unlike an installment of Now That's What I Call Music!. Those that didn't impact the charts have still been favorites with fans of the Disney Channel and Radio Disney and the tracks tend to range from decent to fantastic. Even taking weaklings like Hannah Montana's corn fest "If We Were a Movie" and T-Squad's "Vertical" into account, the compilation is a lot of fun. Heck, even the inevitable Cheetah Girls track is one of their better songs.

Standout tracks include last season's "American Idol" anthem, "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter, Rascal Flatt's cover of "Life is a Highway" from Pixar's Cars, Jesse McCartney's "Right Where You Want Me", Hilary Duff's "Wake Up", and Weezer's "Beverly Hills". High School Musical fans will be delighted not only by new songs from Vanessa Hudgens (who has apparently dropped the "Anne" and branded herself as the next Ashanti) and Drew Seeley (who delivers a very catchy, very modern pop song in "Dance With Me"), but also a live recording from the High School Musical concert tour, which is simultaneously loud and hard to hear, but nonetheless exciting.

The main and only menu for Disc 2, the Music Videos DVD, of "Radio Disney Jams 9." With a concert set-up of limited color palette, Aly and AJ Michalka opt for drama in their "Chemicals React" music video. You'll be seeing red in Everlife's video for "Find Yourself in You."

As has previously been the case, a bonus DVD disc is included in the set, this time featuring more music videos than live performances. There's only one of the latter, a Hannah Montana performance that is either poorly shot, poorly lip-synched, or a combination of both. Of the others, Aly & AJ's "Chemicals React" video adds the most value to the package. Be sure your remotes are at the ready, though, as the bass on this disc is out of control.

With a solid song selection and a bonus disc to boot, Radio Disney Jams 9 is a not a bad way to go for those looking to acquire the poppiest selections from the last year. While not exactly a "Best Of '06-'07", it does make for a worthwhile addition to one's collection.

UD Rating: out of 5

Buy Radio Disney Jams 9 from Amazon.com / Download from Rascal Flatts - Radio Disney Jams, Vol. 9

Related Reviews: Radio Disney Party Jams (CD + Concert DVD) Radio Disney Party Jams: The Concert (DVD)
Radio Disney: Move It! (CD) Radio Disney: Jingle Jams (CD) The Little Mermaid: 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack
Disneymania 3 in Concert (DVD) Cow Belles (DVD, starring Aly & AJ) The Cheetah Girls 2: Soundtrack Disney's Karaoke Series: Cars (CD)

Hannah Montana: 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack
Hannah Montana: 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack
Running Time: 46 minutes (CD), 32 minutes (DVD) / Release Date: March 20, 2007 / SRP: $24.98

Track Listing:
Disc 1 - CD:
1) "The Best of Both Worlds" - Hannah Montana
2) "Who Said" - Hannah Montana
3) "Just Like You" - Hannah Montana
4) "Pumpin' Up the Party" - Hannah Montana
5) "If We Were a Movie" - Hannah Montana
6) "I Got Nerve" - Hannah Montana
7) "The Other Side of Me" - Hannah Montana
8) "This is the Life" - Hannah Montana
9) "Pop Princess" - The Click Five
10) "She's No You" - Jesse McCartney
11) "Find Yourself in You" - Everlife
12) "Shining Star" - B5
13) "I Learned From You" - Miley Cyrus and Billie Ray Cyrus
Bonus Track: "Nobody's Perfect" - Hannah Montana

Disc 2 - Video DVD:
Exclusive Hannah Montana Backstage Secrets
Live Performance of "Nobody's Perfect"

On the heels of High School Musical and The Cheetah Girls, last fall's debut "Hannah Montana" album becomes the third Disney Channel soundtrack in recent memory to get quickly expanded into a two-disc special edition following strong sales of the original release. As the original "Hannah" release already happened to be a CD + Concert DVD combo, there's less of a re-purchase incentive here. What's new? The CD includes a bonus track, the character's "Nobody's Perfect." It seamlessly joins the collection of lightweight but catchy pop tunes that reiterate and celebrate the fictitious singer's nature as both pop icon and boundless ordinary girl. Supplanting the earlier release's 5-song concert DVD is an exclusive 27-minute special "Hannah Montana Backstage Secrets." A mix of black & white interview clips, stage footage, and behind-the-scenes looks (including a tour of her bus), it provides a nice, all-access overview of Miley Cyrus' effectively-manufactured life of glamour and her convincing affability. While the DVD also includes a new concert performance of the bonus tune and a preview for the show's upcoming second DVD compilation, it's unfortunate that the earlier DVD's content is not carried over, making both editions required for the Hannah Montana completist.

Miley Cyrus speaks candidly in black and white interview footage comprising "Hannah Montana Backstage Secrets." It's not "MTV Cribs", but Miley Cyrus takes us on a tour of the bus she calls home while touring the nation for concerts. The only full concert performance the DVD provides is for the previously-unreleased song "Nobody's Perfect."

Presentation is the one area where this Special Edition emerges as an upgrade. It boasts an eye-catching silver design where holographic spotlights look alive based on the angle tilted and objects reflected. The inside of the Digipak (which too is holographic) holds four color "polaroid photographs" -- a concert shot, a studio shot, a candid, and an out-of-disguise -- with autograph reproductions by the featured singer. (The line between Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana has long been blurred and the pop starlet's messy signature matches; one can make out neither name.) A 20-page booklet provides once again, lyrics for all the songs, plus a list of facts on Miley Cyrus and a note of thanks from her. Rounding out the set are a code for a free ringtone of "This is the Life" and an informative but promotional double-sided insert on "Hannah Montana" and recent/upcoming Disney CDs.

If you didn't already pick up the best-selling "Hannah Montana" soundtrack issued last October, then this Special Edition slightly trumps it in content and packaging. For those who do own the earlier release, the bonus track, ringtone, and new DVD are welcome additions but they can't easily justify re-purchasing what is otherwise identical or lacking next to the lower-priced earlier set.

UD Rating: out of 5

Buy Hannah Montana: 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack from Amazon.com / Download from Hannah Montana

Related Reviews: Hannah Montana: Livin' the Rock Star Life (DVD) That's So Suite Life of Hannah Montana (DVD)
Hannah Montana: Songs From and Inspired By The Hit TV Series (CD + Concert DVD) Radio Disney Party Jams (CD + Concert DVD)
The Cheetah Girls 2: 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack (CD+DVD) High School Musical: 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack (CD+Karaoke)

Related Report: High School Musical DVD Launch Celebration / Related Interview: Brenda Song on That's So Suite Life of Hannah Montana

Disneymania 5
Disneymania, Volume 5
Running Time: 49 minutes / Release Date: March 27, 2007 / SRP: $18.98

Track Listing:
1) "Part of Your World" - Miley Cyrus
2) "Two Worlds" - Corbin Bleu
3) "So This is Love" - The Cheetah Girls
4) "I Wan'na Be Like You" - Jonas Brothers
5) "When She Loved Me" - Jordan Pruitt
6) "Kiss the Girl" - Ashley Tisdale
7) "The Second Star to the Right" - T-Squad
8) "Cruella De Vil" - Hayden Panettiere
9) "Colors of the Wind" - Vanessa Hudgens
10) "Go the Distance" - Lucas Grabeel
11) "Siamese Cat Song" - B5
12) "Reflection" - Everlife
13) "Let's Get Together" - Go-Gos
14) "True To Your Heart" - Keke Palmer
15) "Find Yourself" - Drew Seeley

Disney serves up a whole new batch of classic Disney cover songs by today's pop artists in Disneymania 5. Continuing the series' declining trend in quality since its stellar first release, the new collection is unquestionably the worst.
Fifteen tracks are assembled, a full third of them performed by members of the High School Musical cast. Though only one is truly terrible ("So This Is Love" by The Cheetah Girls, complete with a new Spanish verse) and the rest are listenable, not a single song stands out as memorable.

Still, one can divide the dull from the even duller. The Jonas Brothers' take on "I Wan'na Be Like You" is a rockin' one -- moreso than Smashmouth's -- and probably the most fun selection on the CD. Hayden Panettiere's rendition of "Cruella De Vil" represents what LaLaine's previous effort should have sounded like while Lucas Grabeel's "Go the Distance" is delivered with solid vocals and a decent arrangement. Drew Seeley's cover of Brad Paisley's "Find Yourself" is a surprisingly recent selection, coming from last year's Pixar blockbuster, Cars. It's poignant here, but less so than the original. Finally, the Go-Go's (yes, the '80s girl group) make a surprising appearance with an edgier and somewhat enjoyable twist on "Let's Get Together".

Far from the innovative "reimagining" of music that it was intended to be, Disneymania has devolved into a bland emulation of classic music. Every track on this release sounds all too similar either to an original song or a previous Disneymania recording. Those who have purchased and enjoyed all the previous releases will likely be disappointed but still happier with the disc in their collection than without. With a less than stellar roster of talent and fifteen weak tracks, though, Disneymania 5 is an exercise in mediocrity and fails to earn a recommendation.

UD Rating: out of 5

Buy Disneymania 5 from Amazon.com / Download from Disneymania 5

Related Reviews:
Disneymania 2 Disneymania 3 Disneymania 4 DisneyRemixMania Disney's Karaoke Series: Disneymania, Volume 2
Disneymania in Concert (DVD) Disneymania 3 in Concert (DVD)

Meet the Robinsons: Soundtrack
Meet the Robinsons: Soundtrack
Running Time: 53 minutes / Release Date: March 27, 2007 / SRP: $18.98

Track Listing:
1) "Another Believer" - Rufus Wainwright
2) "Little Wonders" - Rob Thomas
3) "The Future Has Arrived" - The All-American Rejects
4) "Where Is Your Heart At?" - Jamie Cullum
5) "The Motion Waltz (Emotional Commotion)" - Rufus Wainwright
6) "Give Me the Simple Life" - Jamie Cullum
7) "The Prologue" - Score
8) "To the Future!" - Score
9) "Meeting the Robinsons" - Score
10) "The Science Fair" - Score
11) "Goob's Story" - Score
12) "A Family United" - Score
13) "Pop Quiz and the Time Machine Montage" - Score
14) "The Evil Plan" - Score
15) "Doris Has Her Day" - Score
16) "Setting Things Right" - Score
17) Bonus Track: "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" - They Might Be Giants
18) Bonus Track: "Kids of the Future" - Jonas Brothers

For the soundtrack to Disney's second all-computer-animated feature, the studio has enlisted an ecclectic group of artists that find a happy ground between pop music and good music. Rufus Wainwright's Beatles-esque "Another Believer" provides a promising start, delivering a thoughtfulness that bares well for the futuristic comedy's chances at standing out in a heavily saturated market.
Rob Thomas keeps it flowing with his fine "Little Wonders" and things pick up still with the energetic tune "The Future Has Arrived" from The All-American Rejects. The second half of the lyrical opening stumbles mildly with a pair of okay but out-of-place standards tracks from the UK's Jamie Cullum and Wainwright's less inspired contribution.

We then turn to Danny Elfman, who provides the bulk of material here with a rollicking original score. With free-wheeling bass, whimsy, and the occasional children's choir vocals, it meets one's expectations for Elfman music. Like the composer's other successes, this one is a winner. But it's also unique enough to not feel like a mere retread of his numerous celebrated scores. It's not as dark as his work for regular collaborator Tim Burton and there are too many turns to make this a good-for-anytime listen as some earlier Elfman discs have been. But Elfman's invigorating, forceful rhythms are compelling and even cleverly incorporate some hints of two of the preceding vocal tracks.

The album closes with two interesting covers. Reliable alt-rockers They Might Be Giants put a fun spin on "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow", the theme to the long-running Tomorrowland show Carousel of Progress, while the Jonas Brothers tinker with the lyrics but not the rhythm of Kim Wilde's early '80s hit "Kids in America" to suit The Robinsons in "Kids of the Future", marking the third time this decade that the song has been re-recorded for an animated film.

UD Rating: out of 5

Buy Meet the Robinsons: Soundtrack from Amazon.com / Download from Danny Elfman - Meet the Robinsons

Related Reviews:
The Nightmare Before Christmas: 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack Chicken Little: Soundtrack Cars: Soundtrack
The Wild: Soundtrack Valiant: Soundtrack The Little Mermaid: 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack

T-Squad - T-Squad
Running Time: 41 minutes / Release Date: April 3, 2007 / SRP: $12.98

Track Listing:
1) "Vertical"
2) "No Sleep 'Til Summertime"
3) "Flip"
4) "Believe"
5) "Parents Just Don't Understand"
6) "What'cha Gonna Do?"
7) "Roc Da Mic"
8) "Graduation (Friends Forever)"
9) "The Second Star to the Right"
10) "Me Likey"
11) "Where the Heart Is"
12) "Trust"
13) "The Journey's Just Begun"

T-Squad is the latest of Radio Disney's offspring, a hip-hop foursome that smacks of corporate fertility. Heavy on beat and bass, lyrics and melody fall to the wayside in these songs. Compared to the supremely insufferable Cheetah Girls or B5, though, T-Squad is a breath of fresh air. Clearly capable of at least some vocal talent and boasting a modest knack for rhythm, these teens will sooner have an audience nodding their heads than covering their ears. That this, their debut album, is difficult to hate is about all that can be said for it, though, as it's still nothing more than production-heavy fluff. Particularly terrible are covers of Peter Pan's "The Second Star to the Right" and Vitamin C's "Graduation (Friends Forever)". On the other hand, it's an updated cover of Will Smith's early rap classic "Parents Just Don't Understand" and a song from Disney Channel's Jump In (titled "Vertical") that most stand out. T-Squad isn't for anyone who listens to Radio Disney less than daily but the good news is that it's better than the worst that has been offered to that fan base.

UD Rating: out of 5

Buy T-Squad: T-Squad from Amazon.com / Download from T-Squad

Related Reviews: Peter Pan: Platinum Edition (DVD) DEVO 2.0 - DEV2.O (CD + DVD)

Related Report: Peter Pan: Opening Night at El Capitan (with performance by T-Squad)

Roundup published March 27, 2007. CD reviews written by Aaron, Albert and Luke.

Related Links:

UltimateDisney.com's Top 100 Songs Countdown - Summer 2004
Coming to Theaters: Upcoming Disney Movies UD's Latest Reviews Disney CD Review Index Disney DVD Review Index

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