The Princess Diaries
Walt Disney Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/06/2001
Let's get one thing out of the way early on in this review: Bubble-gum pop is designed for the youth of a particular generation, and no matter how hard we adults try to understand it, we won't.
That being said, my five-year-old isn't at the age yet where she's into certain groups; she pretty much listens to whatever Mommy has on the radio or I'm listening to. So I have to try and put myself in the shoes of today's youth as I listen to The Princess Diaries, the soundtrack to one of the summer's surprise movie hits. (Do you know how embarrassing it is to have people walk by my office and wonder why a 30-year-old male is listening to a CD of teeny-bop heartthrobs? I'm still trying to explain myself.)
In truth, anyone who likes top 40 will appreciate some of the acts included on this CD - and, to be fair, the selection of artists is appropriate for the target audience of soundtrack and film alike. Backstreet Boys (jeez, what CD aren't they on these days?) make an appearance with "What Makes You Different (Makes You Beautiful)," a song which seems to fit the "ugly-duckling-turns-into-swan" theme of the film. (No offense meant towards Anne Hathaway, the star of the film.) BBMak, a group I've never really been into, turn in a surprisingly powerful performance with "Miss You More," while Aaron Carter borrows a page from the '60s with "Little Bitty Pretty One". (Am I remembering my rock history correct when I say the rhythm line comes from the track "A Lover's Question"?)
Interestingly enough, some of the more established names turn in lesser performances. Hanson's "Wake Up" is nowhere near the song that "This Time Around" was - and, besides, I thought the group was trying to shed their teeny-bop image. B*Witched continue the slide that started with their sophomore album on "Hold On," while Mandy Moore doesn't quite capture the magic of Annette Funicello on "Stupid Cupid," though in Moore's case, it's not from lack of trying.
The Princess Diaries does feature some artists who will undoubtedly be fighting for room on today's kid's walls in the near future. Melissa Lefton turns in a nice performance with "I Love Life" - and she learns it never hurts to mention the boss's name in the song, conjuring up Disney a few times. Nobody's Angel does a nice job on "Always Tomorrow," but I have to wonder what they were thinking by guesting with Tammy Phoenix on Lil' J's "Ain't Nuthin' But A She Thing," the only song which really felt out of place on this disc. 3G's ("Crush"), krystal harris ("SuperGirl") and Steps ("Happy Go Lucky") also are names to be watching for.
The kids, of course, will eat The Princess Diaries up like so much pizza at dinnertime - and good for them. If they have to be listening to anything, this disc is a nice diversion for them. Who knows? Their parents might even find something on this album that they like.