Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Monday, March 23, 2009


Hannah Montana The Movie
Music by Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana & Various Artists
Walt Disney Records 50999 6 96174 2 3 ((EU)
18 Tracks 61:19 mins

Back in the '80s and early '90s I was quite a fan of country music. Those were the days when the songs were written by craftsmen, guys who had really lived and knew how to put their experiences down in terms that really meant something. Not only that but they worked with tune smiths, who could come up with great melodies that would stand the test of time. Sadly, this is rarely true of what masquerades as country music these days, where much of the stuff on offer is written and performed by artists who seem to come and go like the wind.
Anyway, what has this got to do with Hannah Montana, you may ask? Well, I remember a guy back then called Billy Ray Cyrus who unfortunately got rather typecast by his huge hit "Achy Breaky Heart," a song that even crossed into the British pop charts. But Cyrus had much more depth to his talent than that and himself was responsible for his share of meaningful numbers. Unfortunately however, he never quite could leave that monster hit behind and so faded from view. I'm glad to say he is back in the spotlight again, only now more as an actor than a singer, playing the father of schoolgirl Miley Stewart and manager of her alter ego tween pop star Hannah Montana in the hugely popular Disney TV show. The thing is Miley is really Miley Cyrus, his real-life daughter and as herself and Hannah is hugely popular amongst US tweens/teens, and I guess those of them over here with access to the Disney Channel.
The success of the show was bound to spawn a movie, I suppose, particularly as Disney's other tween orientated success, High School Musical, itself made a highly successful transition to the big screen. In the movie, Billy takes his daughter back to her Tennessee roots when her super stardom starts to take over her life. The soundtrack album reflects this, with the early rock-pop numbers belted out by Hannah giving way to more country orientated sounds, including a couple of acoustic numbers by popular band Rascal Flatts and another typically good love song by female country singer/songwriter of the moment, Taylor Swift. Cyrus himself has the song "Back To Tennessee," and duets with Miley on "Butterfly Fly Away," incidentally written by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri, who will be better known to readers of this blog for his great film scores over the years. But the big ballad here is "The Climb" by Jessi Alexander and Jon Mobe, belted out by Miley - certainly the stand out number on the album. After this, it's back to the tween stuff with more numbers by Hannah/Miley and another by Steve Rushton, who also had the almost reggae-styled "Everything I Want" amongst the earlier Hannah numbers.
No doubt, if your kid has the Disney Channel, he/she will certainly want you to buy this album for him/her. Not sure what they'll make of the country fare on offer, but you might like to take a listen to "The Climb" at least. As for the movie, they'll have to wait until May 1st for it to reach UK cinemas.
Incidentally, couldn't close this review without mentioning that the score is courtesy of John Debney. No word as to whether his efforts will make it to a disc of their own, but I'm still hoping that his publicists will let me have a listen to it at some point, at which time I'll let you know what I think.


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