Fans of High School Musical
can breathe easy: Based on this soundtrack, the sequel is just as good, and perhaps even better. Though its trailer asked "Are you ready for the start of something new?" HSM2
isn't turning the franchise into The Wire
, and really is more of the same--which is, of course, totally fine by us. One of the most energetic tracks is Chad and Ryan's musical/baseball number "I Don't Dance," propelled by a cool big-band swing motif (fans of director Kenny Ortega's choreographic work for Xanadu
will be reminded of that movie's mash-up of disco and swing in the "Dancin'" number). Once again Troy and Gabriella get the ballads, but "You Are the Music in Me" is a fine one and doesn't get bogged down in syrup. It also gets reprised by Troy and Sharpay in a rockier and arguably better version. This is typical of the fact that, overall, the bouncier tracks fare best: "All for One" (with its handclaps and surfy guitar licks), the s! ingle "What Time Is It" (the time of our lives, of course!), "Work This Out" (complete with percussive, well, workout). Of course everybody's favorite brother-sister team, Ryan and Sharpay, gets a couple of great vehicles: "Fabulous" and the zany, Hawaiian-flavored "Humuhumunukunukuapua'a," which more than anything else sounds like a tribute to the Disney princess of the 1960s: Annette Funicello. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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