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 soundtrack is far more kid-friendly than the PG-13 movie it's inspired by. Although there's lots of talk about love and romance, things rarely go beyond flirtatiousness and are never sexual. These songs should appeal to a wide age-range, but because of the sunshiney tone of the album, adolescents struggling with the mixed emotions of real love might find the message a little too idealistic.
What's the story?
The movie Valentine's Day has been touted as boasting the biggest all-star cast in recent memory, with Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba, and Patrick Dempsey headlining. You know it's a major flick if A-listers like Joe Jonas, Taylor Swift, and Taylor Lautner are mere supporting players. But the soundtrack ain't too shabby either, with the likes of Jewel, Willie Nelson, Amy Winehouse, and Nat King Cole contributing tracks. Taylor Swift also does double-duty with a pair of songs here, including her recent hit, "Today Was a Fairytale."
Is it any good?
This is not the album for anyone cynical about love! Teens who are feeling heartbroken or disillusioned by love should look elsewhere for inspiration. But for those who still find magic in a love song or are too young to know any better, this LP is a definite must-listen. From Swift's trademark good-girl tracks like "Jump Then Fall" to Steel Magnolia's sexy "Keep On Lovin' You," this album is like a musical box of Valentine's sweets. Romance classics are given fine re-interpretations by artists like Maroon 5 ("The Way You Look Tonight"), Jamiroquai ("I'm In the Mood For Love"), and Amy Winehouse ("Cupid"). Because of the quality of the musical contributors, this soundtrack easily gets away with being unabashedly sweet and innocent.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about movies and their soundtracks. If one is appropriate for kids, does that mean the other automatically is as well? Can a movie have a safe soundtrack, but questionable content? Does an appropriate soundtrack sometimes give the impression that the movie is okay too?
Talk about using teen stars to attract young audiences. Taylor Swift not only plays a role in this film, but she's also featured on the album. Do you think this film would be as interesting to teens if she and her co-star Taylor Lautner weren't involved?
Discuss how love is portrayed on this album. Is love always fun and fabulous? Are there tough spots even in healthy relationships? Do you think gleeful songs like these create an unattainable goal? If you aren't in a relationship, can songs like these make you feel lonely or like you are missing out on something? Do you feel pressure to be in love or in a serious relationship because of these messages?