The Wizards Of Waverly Place – Songs From And Inspired By The TV Series And Movie
Walt Disney Records, 2009
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/27/2010
The songs on this release are from my generation. I’m a child of the '80s and listened intently when a trio called The Police burst onto my radio and into the record stores. I’m familiar with the whole Kids Bop series and the Girl Authority project, where songs of my generation are sung by kids.
The latest entrant in this category of releases is this soundtrack. For those that have not seen or heard of this show, The Wizards Of Waverly Place is a Disney Channel series about a family of wizards. They can do all sorts of magic with their abilities and it’s supposed to be funny. I tolerated a couple of scenes of a movie about them that -- per my thirteen year old -- is a great film.
We have two different ideas of “great” when it comes to movies. Die Hard is a great movie. Hoosiers is a great movie. These wizards? Not so much. The little bit of it I could tolerate involved one of the kids calling out a fake magician and controlling his actions, much to the shock of his parents. For the most part, though, you don’t have to have sat through the movie to understand this CD.
That’s because, except for the first and last track, each of these songs have the word “magic” in the title. This release is really just a vehicle for a soon-to-be Disney icon in the eight-to-thirteen year old market named Selena Gomez. She sings four songs. Of the rest of the songs, I only recognized Raven-Symone, so this was my first introduction to the other seven artists. None blow your mind with their talent.
Instead, the best way to think of this disc is to consider it a means to an end: what better way to safely introduce your child to the music you grew up with? Consider that my thirteen-year-old daughter loves this release. When I put the album in and began to sing along to one of the tracks, she raised her eyebrow at me and said, “Quit singing along to my song.” The song in question was Michael Musso’s version of The Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.” No, you don’t understand: despite a Jonas brother’s glowing endorsement, Musso didn’t write the song. That honor belongs to a guy named Sting. And the same discussion can be had with practically every song. No, a group named KSM did not write “Magic Carpet Ride.” No, Drew Seeley did not write “You Can Do Magic.”
Honor Society’s version of the Cars’ “Magic” is the best track here. The music is dumbed down a bit, but only someone that listened to the Cars’ version repeatedly would pick up on it. Another stellar track is the aforementioned Musso version of the Police’s “ELTSDIM,” though I think the drummer cheats a bit on the original Stewart Copeland drumbeat and they could have had more fun with the ending spoken comments at the end of the song.
But none of these artists are interested in musical purity. It would seem the purpose of this release is to reintroduce the tween generation to some of the greatest music on earth. They do a respectable job pulling it off, but I still prefer the originals.