Ever since the massive popularity of the 2006 hit High School Musical, Disney Channel tried time and time again to replicate that level of success, with mixed results. High School Musical spawned two sequels, one spinoff, and a concert tour, not to mention lasting pop culture prominence. There have since been several variations of the teen musical formula: Camp Rock in 2008, Camp Rock 2 in 2009, Lemonade Mouth in 2011, Let It Shine in 2012, and, finally, Teen Beach Movie in 2013.
This year, Teen Beach Movie gets a sequel, titled Teen Beach 2. The original Teen Beach was a time-hopping twist on classic beach movies and featured retro 60’s style bubblegum music.
Teen Beach 2 features largely the same style of summery, beach friendly music that made the first film so likable. The album opens with the group jam, “Best Summer Ever,” a feel good track that will make you want to bust out your sunscreen and flip flops. Lead star Ross Lynch gets a lot of songs, like the solos “On My Own” and “Gotta Be Me,” as well as a ton of duets and group numbers with Maia Mitchell and the rest of the cast. Teens will appreciate the sugary confections of pop, such as “Right Where I Want to Be” and “Fallin’ For Ya.” “Meant To Be,” from the first film, makes a comeback as well, this time in the form of a ballad. One of my personal favorites on the album is the mandatory finale group song “That’s How We Do.”
Disney Channel’s latest up-and-coming star, Sabrina Carpenter (Girl Meets World) makes a special appearance on the album with the song “Rescue Me,” a laid-back but heartfelt acoustic song that sparkles. Finally, pop group R5 (which includes Ross Lynch) contributes the summer anthem “Starting Over.” Karaoke lovers will appreciate the included instrumental versions of “Best Summer Ever” and “Gotta Be Me.”
Few songs on this album actually have substance or emotion, rather they are of the ‘lets get up and boogie’ variety. Let’s be honest, we don’t really expect depth or angst in beach movies, do we? Like its predecessor, Teen Beach 2’s music is a love letter to an era gone by, when musicals about partying on the beach were the summer norm.
I loved the songs from the first film, and Teen Beach 2 successfully manages to keep things fresh and fizzy. There aren’t too many standout songs, with most being under the beach party genre. In fact, at one point, I started to find the album repetitive and formulaic, but not so terrible that it made me want to turn it off. The songs are saccharine to the point of ridiculousness, and over-the-top in an endearing way. This album is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and have you playing several of the songs over and over.
The Teen Beach series may not reach the heights of High School Musical in terms of timelessness, but it is what it is: good, clean, effervescent fun in the sun. It isn’t afraid to take on 60s beach music tropes and give them a fresh coat of gloss, introducing young fans to a genre that is almost forgotten. This is Disney Channel at its finest, producing innocent, fun, and catchy music for today’s young audience.
Recommended for: kids, teens and lovers of the beach party genre.
Teen Beach 2 Soundtrack: Amazon
‘Teen Beach 2’ premieres on Disney Channel on June 26.
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes