13 Going on 30 -- a romantic comedy about a misfit teen in 1987 who turns into a glamorous, successful adult in 2004 seemingly overnight -- has a soundtrack that, appropriately enough, features 13 songs that span the '80s to the 2000s. The album plays a little fast and loose with what a 13-year-old girl in 1987 would've actually listened to; three of the album's best songs, the Go-Go's' "Head Over Heels," Rick Springfield's "Jesse's Girl," and Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House" are early-'80s classics, but seem like they'd be more likely found in the record collection of that 13-year-old's older brother or sister. Similarly, Vanilla Ice's 1990 guilty pleasure "Ice Ice Baby" comes from the years that the film's heroine seems to have lost. Tracks from the first wave of boy bands, such as New Edition or New Kids on the Block, or college rock or synth pop from the soundtracks from any of the John Hughes films from the mid-'80s would've been more authentic, but nitpicking aside, songs like Madonna's "Crazy for You," Soft Cell's "Tainted Love," and Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield" do more or less capture the era. As for the 21st century artists, Ingram Hill's "Will I Ever Make It Home" doesn't make much of an impression, but Lillix's cover of "What I Like About You" is serviceable, not as authentically gritty as the Donnas but a lot less sugary than the teen pop that usually appears on this kind of soundtrack. Liz Phair's "Why Can't I?" -- a song by a thirty-something carefully edited to appeal to 13-year-olds -- captures the feeling of the soundtrack: knowing and maybe a little contrived, but sweet to listen to nevertheless.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares