Various Artists

The Powerpuff Girls: Power Pop

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A misleadingly named album, The Powerpuff Girls: Power Pop is likely to disappoint not only fans of the Raspberries, Cheap Trick, and the Posies, but longtime fans of the cartoon and its music. Unlike the other Powerpuff Girls-related albums, which found creative, quirky music that both young and old fans of the show could appreciate, The Powerpuff Girls: Power Pop is chock-full of vapid teen pop that could be found on any Disney or Nickolodeon soundtrack. It's probably true that songs like the Troys' "What Do You Do," Mis-Teeq's "All I Want (Sunship Radio Edit)," and Jennifer Ellison's "Baby I Don't Care" might be closer to what little girls listen to, as opposed to the indie rock that made up Powerpuff Girls: Heroes and Villains and the whimsical electronica of Powerpuff Girls: The City of Soundsville, but part of the beauty of those albums -- and the show itself -- was that they were so different than most kids' entertainment, especially entertainment aimed at young girls. Indeed, tracks like "That's What Girls Do," which insists that it's inherently female to "keep you guessing the whole day through/Play your emotions/Push all your buttons," could be seen as diametrically opposed to the take-charge, up-for-anything brand of girl power that the show supports. While the album is a big disappointment, not everything on The Powerpuff Girls: Power Pop is terrible. Cherish's "Chemical X" was written specifically for the soundtrack, and has enough bouncy playfulness in its urban pop grooves to pass muster; Sahara Hotnights' "On Top of Your World" might be a little too edgy for this album, but it's far more genuine than most of the music here. The album does have a few more highlights buried underneath all the teen pop, including Shonen Knife's "Blitzkrieg Bop"-esque ode to the toughest Powerpuff Girl, "Buttercup (I'm a Super Girl)," Ursula 1000's groovy "Super Secret City of Soundsville Song," and Bis' "Powerpunk End Theme," a thrashier version of their venerable theme for the show (which still remains the best musical distillation of the Powerpuffs' sugar and spice with a kick). It's understandable that the forces behind this soundtrack probably wanted to focus on more marketable music than indie rock or electronica, but it's especially frustrating that they picked cookie-cutter teen pop for this album when Dexter's Laboratory: Homeboy Genius turned out so brilliantly (and featured hip-hop stars to boot). The Powerpuff Girls: Power Pop may very well sell twice as many copies than the other Powerpuff Girls albums did combined, but it's still hard not to feel that something more important was lost in the process. [The album also features a demo version of the latest Powerpuff Girls game for PCs.]

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