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|Kevin Krock, editor|
Since I haven't seen the Disney Channel series on which the Kim Possible soundtrack is based, I am at somewhat of a disadvantage in this review. That said, I enjoyed most of the songs on this CD and am likely to try to find an episode of the series to watch.
The first track is an extended version of the series' theme song, Call Me, Beep Me! (The Kim Possible Song) sung by Christina Milian, who among other TV and movie roles was one of the Disney Channel's Movie Surfers and had a small role in Disney/Pixar's A Bug's Life. She's better known as a singer, though, and certainly shines on this song.
Track 5 is a cover of Kool & The Gang's Celebration by Jump 5. Although this song has been covered by numerous artists, this updated high-energy version is a lot of fun.
Say the Word is performed by Christy Carlson Romano, the actress who voices Kim Possible in the series. Romano was another of the Disney Channel's Movie Surfers, and was also featured on the interminable Even Stevens. The song, as with I'm Ready (track 3), tells us that Kim is ready and willing to be called on to save the world:
Summertime Guys by Nikki Cleary is a bright and cheery pop song that brings to mind the Go-Go's Vacation or Katrina & the Waves' Walkin' on Sunshine. It's not clear to me from the lyrics how it relates to Kim Possible, but that's nothing new for TV soundtrack CDs, and the song itself is a welcome addition.
Track 11, Smash Mouth's Come On Come On, has the distinction of being the only song on this CD I'd heard before I started this review; it's originally from their Astro Lounge and East Bay Sessions releases. Following that is The Naked Mole Rap performed by Ron Stoppable and Rufus, two characters from the Kim Possible series. I'm sure I would have enjoyed it more if I'd seen the series and could understand the references, but it's worth noting that the character Rufus is performed by Nancy Cartwright, better known as the voice of Bart Simpson.
The disc wraps up with a dance remix by Tony Phillips of the title song. The faster tempo and addition of drop-ins from the TV series help to make this version unique.
Overall, I enjoyed this disc. I'm sure I would have gotten it more if I had watched the TV series, but even without that background the CD is a collection of energetic pop tunes that inspired me to look for an airing of the series.
I would strongly recommend this soundtrack to fans of the series. To those who haven't, you may want to catch an episode or two before shelling out for the disc, but I think you might like it anyway.
As with Kim Possible soundtrack, The Cheetah Girls soundtrack serves as a companion to a Disney Channel program that I have not seen. Unlike Kim Possible, however, the CD did absolutely nothing for me and has not raised any interest in seeing the Disney Channel original movie with which it is associated.
The CD begins with four songs by the Cheetah Girls, a group composed of Raven (formerly Raven-Symone of The Cosby Show and That's So Raven), Kiely Williams, Adrienne Bailon, and Sabrina Bryan. Track 1, Cheetah Sisters, seems to be the introduction to the characters and was presumably used as the opening credits rolled. That's exactly what it sounds likethe opening credits song from a typical bad sitcom.
Following Cheetah Sisters are three more by the cast, continuing to provide exposition to the story of these four girls. I did not care for these songs, which were sung in a soul/hip-hop style.
The one song in this disc that I did like is Breakthrough by Hope 7, which is similar in sound and feeling to the type of tunes Hillary Duff sings.
I realize that I am by no means the audience to which this CD is aimed, but I still cannot recommend it. If youor more likely, your daughter aged 10 to 15enjoyed the TV-movie, then by all means pick up the companion CD. Otherwise, I would give it a miss and perhaps look for Hope 7's contribution on another compilation CD.
Radio Disney Jams, Volume 6 is a compilation disc containing current hits played on Radio Disney. As you can guess from the title, it is the sixth in a series. Since this CD is just a hits collection of songs from different artists and groups, there isn't any unifying theme here. That said, the CD includes a good number of songs (16) and seems to be a decent value for the money.
Track 1, I Can't Wait by Hillary Duff, is not on her solo CD Metamorphosis. If you like Hillary Duff, you will probably also enjoy this song, as I did.
The second song, Dig It by D Tent Boys, must have come from the soundtrack to this summer's film Holes. It actually reminds me quite a bit of a song from Moby, but I can't remember the name of the song. This listenable song does stray a bit into the hip-hop/rap genre.
Up, Up, Up from Rose Falcon is a bright and cheery tune that brings to mind any number of Debbie Gibson-era songs. I liked it.
Atomic Kitten's cover of Blondie's The Tide Is High was rather disappointing. The lead singer's voice fares poorly in comparison to Debbie Harry's. Still, the group obviously had a good time recording the song, and it shows.
Track 7 is All I Can Do by Jump 5, who did the cover of Celebration on the Kim Possible soundtrack. Their talent is more clearly evidenced in this funky dance tune, which sounds like it might be from another Disney Channel show (but may not be).
Speaking of Disney Channel shows, the next song is the theme from That's So Raven, performed by Raven, Anneliese van der Pol, and Orlando Brown. At 49 seconds, this is a particularly short track because it is the actual theme from the show, not an expanded version as are usually included on soundtrack CDs.
Other not-really-notable tracks are Don't Stop Movin' by S Club 7, which sounds like it didn't quite make the cut on a Lionel Richie tribute CD; Triple Image's Last One Standing, an interesting combination of disco and kid-rap; and the final track, Floorfiller by A*Teens. This song begins, Hey, Mister D.J., and that is far from the only similarity to Madonna's Music.
I was not terribly impressed by this selection of Radio Disney singles. If you or your 'tween-aged child enjoys Radio Disney, this CD will keep you happy when you're out of broadcast range.
The Superstar Kidz are a group of young singers who have put together an CD covering current popular songs heard on Radio Disney. Adult singers perform familiar selections such as Sk8er Boi originally sung by Avril Lavigne, Get the Party Started (Pink), Why Not (Hillary Duff), and All Star (Smash Mouth) with the kids coming in on the chorus and backgrounds.
While I appreciate the effort put forth by these singers, the results are pretty awful. Since the lead singers are actually pretty talented, the best of the lot are the ones where the kids remain in the background. Track 8, Avril Lavigne's Complicated, is a good example of this. Renee Sandstrom's lead vocals are lovely and melodic. Unfortunately, the kids then come in for the chorus, basically ruining the song.
America AO is less bad, as the song seems to be well suited for the chanting style of the singing group. The next song, Up Up Up, originally done by Rose Falcon, is another that benefits from this treatment. Since I'd just listened to the original on Radio Disney Jams Volume 6, I had a good basis for comparison. The Kidz' version doesn't quite measure up to the original, but it's definitely one of the few highlights of this disc.
Track 15 is a cover of Jump 5's All I Can Do, another song I'd enjoyed on the Jams CD. Julie Griffin does a good job with the lead vocal, but the rather listless chorus pretty much kills it.
Next up is Call Me, Beep Me (The Kim Possible Song) from the Disney Channel series (and soundtrack). Renee Sandstrom, who I mentioned earlier, is definitely the high point of the CD and should be one to watch in the future, provided she can get free of the Superstar Kidz (or their marketing department).
Probably the worst song on the disc is a cover of Smash Mouth's All Star. The original is very well known and widely played, so if you're going to cover it you had better make your version interesting. Sadly, lead singer Randy Crenshaw seems to be trying his hardest to emulate Smash Mouth's Steve Harwell, without much success.
Of all the Radio Disney CDs in this review, Superstar Kidz is the most disappointing. I find it hard to believe that regular Radio Disney listeners would appreciate their favorite songs being re-recorded by a group of mediocre (at best) child singers. The fact that Disney has listed the CD as a full-price regular release only adds insult to injury.
If you want a compilation CD full of Radio Disney goodness, I suggest the previously reviewed Jams volume 6. If you want to listen to talented children singing, how about Free To Be, You And Me with Marlo Thomas?
Kevin Doc Krock is been a long-time animation buff and home theater fan. He's been following the rise of the DVD format in the home market since its introduction, and he hopes to help you make the most of your family's home theater viewing time and video collections.
You can contact Kevin here.
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