UK Release: 9 August 2010 / Label: Walt Disney / Tracklisting: 1. Brand New Day; 2. Fire; 3. Can't Back Down; 4. It's On; 5. Wouldn't Change A Thing; 6. Heart and Soul; 7. You're My Favourite Song; 8. Introducing Me; 9. Tear It Down; 10. What We Came Here For; 11. This Is Our Song; 12. Different Summers; 13. Walkin' In My Shoes; 14. It's Not Too Late; 15. Rock Hard Or Go Home
Like High School Musical but not quite as famous, Camp Rock was a cheesey tween-pop movie that launched on the Disney Channel a couple of years ago, making a bigger name of Demi Lovato and shovelling more fuel into the Jonas Brothers’ bid for world domination.
Now there’s a sequel, and judging by its subtitle (‘The Final Jam’) it doesn’t look like we’ll be troubled by a threequel any time soon. We haven’t seen films 1 or 2, nor do we count ourselves as members of the bijillion-strong Jonas fanbase; so judging the sequel’s OST as a standalone album we have to say it’s not quite as abysmal as we were perhaps expecting, considering how absurd we found the first film’s big ensemble hit ‘We Rock!’.
Of course alot of the disc is laden with hastily-assembled pop-rock with moral messages made as blindingly obvious as we’ve come to expect from a Disney production; but leading lady Demi Lovato’s powerful pipes really can belt a out a tune ten times better than any Hudgens or Tisdale, and even though any NME reader will punch you in the face for daring to use the word “rock” in relation to a Disney-endorsed project, the use at least of the live instruments does give the OST more of a rough’n'raw edge than the polished squeaky-cleanness of the ‘High School Musical’ franchise.
In fact it’s when the soundtrack tries to emulate the electro/synthpop sound du jour that it becomes ear-numbingly dull, particularly on ‘Fire’ and ‘Walkin’ In My Shoes’, both of which feature the bland croonings of US r’n'b artiste Matthew “Mdot” Finley. The Jonas driven tracks are just about catchy enough and the obligatory ballads are saved from boring mediocrity by Lovato’s captivating vocals; but as with ‘HSM’, it’s the big chorus numbers that work best. ‘It’s On’ and ‘Brand New Day’ would actually have fitted perfectly in the Troy’n'Gabs trilogy, and ‘What We Came Here For’ is just a really good light pop tune.
The ‘Camp Rock’ franchise will never reach the ludicrous heights achieved by Ms Darbus’ East High Drama Club, but the soundtrack to the former’s sequel does at least prove that this slightly more down-to-earth series has enough cast ability and musical independence to stand on its own two feet. Of course if you’re outside of the target audience there’s a 75% chance you’ll hate it, but this OST has at least convinced us to give its film a chance.