Release Date: 04.20.04
Record label: Walt Disney Records
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.
by: tom reiter
You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone that won't admit, at least to some extent, that they thought Princess Diaries was actually a decent movie. Hopefully the sequal didn't disappoint the following of young girls that made up most of its fan base. Although with Anne Hathaway returning to the star role as Mia Thermopolis, I'm sure Royal Engagment was at least somewhat entertaining. And that's about what the soundtrack is...somewhat entertaining.
One caveat about this soundtrack is it's around its target audience, not us adults. Consequently much of the musical and lyrical content has been dumbed down immensly, leaving a skeleton of kiddie pop in the wake. There are, however, some tracks to note, and some to heed warning.
Opening things up is Kelly Clarkson performing "Breakaway", and exclusive single done soley for Princess Diaries. It was co-written with by Avril Lavigne, and when you think about this fact it's possible to notice some similarity to her music. Follwing up is one of Disney's up-and-coming starlets, Lindsay Lohan, and "I Decide". Without being overly bratty or "girl-power"-ish, Lohan touts her independent thought and how she controls her life.
Raven, who is also a Disney product, comes through surprsingly well on "This Is My Time". She shows that not only can she act (she has her own show "Not So Raven"), but has a pretty good voice too by giving plenty of support where it's needed and staying within her range. Norah Jones amazes like usual doing a cover of Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender". Norah can take the most simple song, even one as well known as this, and work her magic to evoke an emotional response from the listener. The only other notable tracks are "Fools" by Rachel Stevens and Renee Olstead's contemporary jazz number "A Love That Will Last".
Low points include the bratty and annoying "I Always Get What I Want" from Avril Lavigne. This song is bound to get on any adults nerves with lines like "every now and then we all want somethin' / even if there's no way of gettin it. if I stomp my feet quick that may be / be the way around it". Great...tell kids throwing a temper-tantrum gets you what you want. Pink's "Trouble", while not really that bad, isn't good either, and is probably the weakest track I've heard from her.
The intellectual level goes way down during the second half of the album. Steve Harwell does vocals on the lame "Fun In the Sun", and it sounds like every other Smash Mouth track. "Dance, Dance, Dance" by Wilson Phillips belongs on one of those sing along videos for two year olds.
What IS good about Princess Diaries 2 is that it allows young women and girls to be confident without using sexuality as the tool so many young women do today. Music critiquing aside, the soundtrack is bound to please its target audience, which could roughly round out to be five year olds up to late teens (depending on their maturity level). I'd feel perfectly fine letting my daughter listen to this one...except that Lavigne's track! 05-Oct-2004 9:33 PM