This one's all about summer break, but Wildcat school spirit is still at ridiculously high levels. This time 'round, though, the soundtrack sounds less like a true musical and more like a bunch of music videos strung together. What you immediately notice on High School Musical 2 is that the songs are louder and much more electronic (drum machine beats and whooshes of synthesizers) than the first album.
"What Time Is It" begins the album with a booming drum track, celebrating the oncoming summer. "Fabulous" is pretty similar to Madonna's "Material Girl" in sound and subject, and the R&B-ish "Work This Out" laments the suckiness of summer jobs.
"You Are the Music in Me" is the track you've most likely heard, a genuine tween pop hit about young friendship/love. HSM 1 featured the basketball-related song "Get'cha Head in the Game," so HSM 2 came up with "I Don't Dance," a tune about baseball (closely resembling the sound of opening song "What Time Is It").
"You Are the Music in Me" is revisited as a spirited powerpop rocker, then comes the obligatory trio of breakup song, "I'm gonna work till I win you back" tune, and makeup song: the light R&B ballad "Gotta Go My Own Way," the Gnarls Barkley-like "Bet On It," and the lighter-hoisting piano gospel of "Everyday," respectively.
Summer finally works out for everyone in the thumping "All For One." Now, I realize these songs are supposed to be a little fluffy and twee, but holy cow, the bonus track (and for whom was this a bonus?) "Humuhumunukunukuapua'a" rates lower than a throwaway tune from a mid-'60s Elvis movie.
In the end, the songs aren't as bad as you would think they would be, but neither are they memorable. But they're not meant to be remembered, they're meant to sell boatloads of CDs and tie-in merchandise to 4th-to-7th graders. If your kids insist on liking High School Musical soundtracks, enjoy it with them while it lasts. They won't be listening to this stuff once they're in high school themselves.
Released August 14, 2007; Walt Disney Records