A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is the soundtrack to the MTV made-for-TV movie, American Mall, from the same producers that brought us High School Musical. While some of the songs' themes seem a little more grown-up than the ones covered in HSM (talk about careers and the development of romantic relationships), all of the tracks are wholesome and safe for tweens. One track promotes consumerism, but most of the others have more positive messages of empowerment and being true to yourself.
What's the story?
THE AMERICAN MALL SOUNDTRACK jumps, jives, and croons us through the love story of Ally and Joey and their passion for each other -- as well as their music. The mix of exuberant rock tracks and slower ballads covers heartbreak and some let downs, and has a manipulative \"mean girl,\" a final track full of spirit, and strong messages of empowerment and going after what you want.
Is it any good?
As one might expect, this soundtrack is a little cheesy, sometimes sappy, and a fairly predictable mix of higher-energy, family-friendly dance tracks (some are almost too frantic like "Get Your Rock On" and "Every Ten Seconds") and more soulful duets between the male and female leads. It's the latter that do a better job of showing off some of the cast members' vocal talents: While lead Nina Dobrev can sound a little breathy at times, she has a good voice, albeit a very Disney-esque one. Overall, this isn't a bad collection for a made-for-TV musical, but many of these songs will probably be quite forgettable, and not have much life beyond the musical itself.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this TV musical compares to its wildly successful predecessor, High School Musical. Do you think this movie will be as big as the HSM franchise? Does this seem like an unusual movie to see on MTV? Also, why are TV musicals doing so well recently? Families can also discuss some of the songs themes, like how important it is to pursue your dreams and believe in yourself, even when others may not.