A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, while much of 1984's Footloose has aged about as gracefully as the humongous Walkman on Kevin Bacon's belt in the cover art, both movie and soundtrack were huge hits in their day. Maybe that's why the movie got a 2011 remake. Like the original movie, its soundtrack is a perfect lightweight, engaging snapshot of frustrated, hormone-charged teen life in the heartland in 1984, with big hair, banging heads, raunchy rock, and frothy dance music. In "Hurts So Good," John Cougar (as John Mellencamp was then known), wants his girlfriend to sink her teeth into his bones, and otherwise inflict pain on him, which may puzzle or scare kids. Elsewhere, Shalamar sing about dancing in the sheets, but that's about as explicit as it gets.
What's the story?
FOOTLOOSE is fundamentally a musical comedy with lots of dance numbers, a fact that became more evident years after the film came out, when it moved to the Broadway stage. The original nine tracks were all written by Tom Snow and/or Dean Pitchford, sometimes collaborating with Sammy Hagar and Kenny Loggins. Since the plot's about Kevin Bacon's character convincing a straitlaced country town that dancing isn't the devil's work, all these tracks are great on the dance floor, from chirpy pop to yearning torch songs to rude rock.
Is it any good?
The Footloose soundtrack was a huge popular success, selling 8 million copies. Five of the 1984 album's original nine tracks were hit singles --"Footloose," "Almost Paradise," "Let's Hear It for the Boy," "I'm Free (Heaven Helps the Man)" and "Somebody's Eyes" -- and the bonus tracks in the 15th Anniversary Edition, include more blockbusters, including John Cougar's "Hurts So Good" and Foreigner's "Waiting for a Girl Like You." There's nothing profound or serious here, but plenty of catchy, danceable pop, yearning ballads, and bad-boy rock.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about being teens growing up with this music, and whether kids today feel the same way about it.
How does this album compare with Saturday Night Fever: The Original Movie Sound Track from a few years earlier, which has a similar theme but in some ways is worlds away?
Some of the singers on this album have moved on, and some are big stars today. Do you know some of their other songs?
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