Various Artists

Herbie: Fully Loaded [Original Soundtrack]

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Herbie: Fully Loaded tries to find a clever musical spin on revisiting the anthropomorphic VW Beetle of decades past by having Disney artists and a few relatively hipper acts cover hits from the '60s, '70s, and '80s. Like the Herbie movies themselves, most of these songs didn't need to be reinterpreted, either. The Mooney Suzuki and Ingram Hill strike out with uninspired versions of "Born to Be Wild" and "More Than a Feeling," both of which sound like high-end (but still bad) karaoke. But not every cover on the album is a disaster: Rooney's take on T. Rex's "Metal Guru" isn't especially creative, but it ends up being more fun to listen to than either of the previous tracks. The Donnas' "Roll on Down the Highway" shows how they sound good doing '70s arena rock, and their version of this song has way more fun and energy than Bachman-Turner Overdrive's thuddingly macho original ever had. Likewise, Caleigh Peters -- whose voice sounds a lot like a slightly sweeter, Disney-fied clone of the Donnas' Brett Anderson -- brings just enough snarly, girly attitude to "Fun, Fun, Fun" to give it a more modern identity. Based on how well these two tracks work, it's too bad that Herbie: Fully Loaded didn't go with cars and the girls who love them as the soundtrack's theme instead of mere nostalgia. By balancing Disney's usual squeaky-clean pop (like Aly & A.J.'s "Walking on Sunshine") with slightly edgier music, the soundtrack walks a fine line, reflecting -- in a way that's still marketable to tweens -- Lindsay Lohan's status as the studio's bad girl. Though Lohan doesn't contribute any new tracks, "First," the opening track from her album Speak, also appears here, and it's still fully loaded with Avril-lite rock and double entendres. The soundtrack also includes a couple of other songs that, wisely, aren't covers: Pilot's "Magic," which shows just how gloriously over-the-top '70s pop could be, and Lionel Richie's "Hello," which you get the sinking feeling was included only because of the inspired Starburst commercial that riffs on the song's painfully earnest music video. The Blacksmoke Organisation's two pop collages made from bits and pieces of the old Herbie movies, "Herbie (Fully Loaded Remix)" and "Herbie vs Nascar," are the album's most interesting moments, if only because the involvement of an art collective "dedicated to the propagation of audio visual noise" in a summer blockbuster like Herbie: Fully Loaded doesn't happen every day (is Negativland holding out for a better project?). Herbie: Fully Loaded wants to be hip, nostalgic, sexy, and innocent all at the same time, and goes in so many different directions that it can't follow one of them competently.

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