Austin & Ally's Ross Lynch had a big year in 2013. Not only was his TV show still a big hit, but he also starred in the wildly popular TV movie Teen Beach Party and made a big splash on the soundtrack, and his family's band R5 released their debut album, too. Capping it off with a second Austin & Ally album was the perfect finish to an impressive year. Unlike the first A&A soundtrack, which featured only Lynch, Turn It Up reflects the change in the show's plot line during season two, in which Ally (Laura Marano) conquers her stage fright and begins a performing career. It previews quite a few songs from season three as well. While most of the tracks are Austin songs, Marano gets a handful of features here, which show off her strong vocals and some decent empowerment ballads, especially the dramatic "Parachute." The real star is Lynch, though, who bops through his songs like the good-natured and breezy performer he's always been. Not blessed with the most distinctive voice around, he still manages to show off enough personality and charm to make it seem totally realistic that Austin would be a teen pop sensation. The songs here would be reasonably realistic as hits, too. Very similar to the spunky dance-pop of One Direction, there is a nice mix of love-struck ballads, passionate dancefloor-ready jams, insistent pop/rockers, and even a nice Rick Springfield-influenced power pop song ("Steal Your Heart") that dovetails nicely with the new direction One Direction showed off on their Midnight Memories album. Maybe they got the idea from Austin? The album also features a track from upcoming Disney stars and A&A guest stars Chloe & Halle for good measure. Thanks to the winning performances from its cheerfully pleasant stars and some memorable tunes, Turn It Up is a solid pop confection, sure to make fans of the show, and Lynch devotees, very happy.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra