Hannah Montana

Hannah Montana

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One of the most appealing Disney pop confections in some time, the Hannah Montana soundtrack features the show's star Miley Cyrus singing cute, well-written songs that nod to teen-pop, rock and country. Tracks like "Just Like You" borrow every gimmick that producers like the Matrix have perfected in the early 2000s: acoustic guitars that give way to big, crunchy electric ones, shiny synths and backing vocals that sound like they were sung into a megaphone. However, Hannah Montana has some sharper-than-average songwriting going for it, especially on "If We Were a Movie"'s clever, catchy chorus: "If we were a movie"/You'd be the right guy/And I'd be the best friend that you'd fall in love with in the end." Songs like "The Best of Both Worlds" allude to Hannah Montana's double life as a pop star and a regular girl transported from Nashville to Malibu ("This is the Life"'s soaring country-pop sounds decidedly more like the former city than the latter), and the themes of having fun, being yourself and following your dreams wind throughout the album, especially on the spunky, new-wavey girl power anthem "I Got Nerve." Fittingly, though, Cyrus is the star of Hannah Montana. Her voice is surprisingly rich for a girl in her early teens, and she has more personality than many pop starlets her age, especially those in the Disney stable. Aside from the slight stumble of "Pumpin' Up the Party" -- a groove that ends up going nowhere -- the album does a great job of showcasing her charismatic vocals with strong melodies. Cyrus also performs a track as herself, "I Learned From You," a duet with her dad, Billy Ray, that has an earnest vibe that's more Vanessa Carlton than Hannah Montana. The soundtrack is rounded out with a few like-minded songs, such as Everlife's "Find Yourself in You" (which seems to be the template for Hannah's rock-edged pop) and the sparkly power pop of the Click Five's "Pop Princess." Hannah Montana is a sweet, starry-eyed, utterly charming soundtrack.

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