Lots of soundtracks from movies aimed at kids and teens have an overriding theme to the music collected on them, and Sky High -- which kind of looks like a brightly colored, made-for-TV version of the X Men films -- is no different. Like the Herbie: Fully Loaded soundtrack's gambit of having acts from the 2000s cover '70s rock and pop, Sky High features teen pop and alt-rock acts remaking '80s hits. And, like the Herbie soundtrack, this album stumbles more than it succeeds. A good chunk of the collection consists of uninspired but passable covers like the Cary Brothers' blandly pleasant version of Spandau Ballet's "True" and Flashlight Brown's cover of English Beat's "Save It for Later," which steamrolls right over the song's lyrical and musical subtleties. Along with versions of "I Melt With You" and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," there are covers of slightly more obscure tracks, but they're not handled any better. Steven Strait's version of the Fixx's "One Thing Leads to Another" trades the angular precision of the original for a dull, muddled sound, and the Click Five's remake of "Lies" might be louder than the original, but it's not any better. Most of Sky High is so blah that the halfway-decent songs sound amazing by comparison: Elefant's version of "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" is basically karaoke Smiths, but the song is still so gorgeous and affecting that it can't help but be a standout. Likewise, Vitamin C's version of 'Til Tuesday's "Voices Carry" is virtually a Xerox of the 1985 hit, but it's an inspired choice on another level: Aimee Mann went from 'Til Tuesday's pop to the alternative singer/songwriter fare of her solo career, while Vitamin C (aka Colleen Fitzpatrick) traded the alt-rock of Eve's Plum for life as a Radio Disney-style pop singer. Caleigh Peters' versions of the Cars classic "Just What I Needed" is the album's most daring track: having a girl sing lyrics like "it's not the perfume that you wear/it's not the ribbons in your hair" in the song sounds downright scandalous next to the rest of Sky High's same old, same old. One of the other standouts is They Might Be Giants' version of Devo's misfit anthem "Through Being Cool," which feels like the history of geek rock distilled into three minutes. Maybe the kids at which Sky High is aimed probably won't know (or care) that Keaton Simons' "And She Was" has barely a fraction of the joyful weirdness of Talking Heads' original, but it still needs to be said. For a movie that's supposed to be about kids with freaky superpowers, Sky High's music is painfully conventional.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares