Robby Ray Stewart: Worst. Songwriter. Ever.

Hannah Montana was a cultural phenomenon and for good reason. It was a great kid sitcom paired with an ever-expanding soundtrack that was the music of a generation. I was a huge Hannah Montana fan, going as far as to lie to friends at school that I was going to go to Typhoon Lagoon for her next concert (one that never happened, of course). Everyone had nerve, nobody was perfect, and we all wanted the best of both worlds.

In the context of the show, all the songs were written by Robby Ray Stewart, Miley’s dad. It’s incredibly sweet that the family business was music and it became a way to remember Miley’s mom, but we must get real. Robby Ray Stewart was an awful songwriter. Like, the actual worst.

Remember that the whole basis of the show was that Miley Stewart and Hannah Montana were the same person, but kept both personas very separate so she could continue being a regular kid and a pop superstar simultaneously. Now, there were some problems with this (Her tour dates seemed to be at the same arena in Malibu every weeknight. I understand the idea of a residency, but that is ridiculous), but Robby Ray made the struggle worse than it needed to be.

If we look at the first songs released through the show, all the lyrics are giant arrows pointing to her alter-ego. They are screaming for TMZ to pick-up on her double personalities and post it everywhere to ruin her life. Does Robby Ray really have no other inspiration for his daughter’s songs than the secret she’s hiding from the world? Come on, dude.

The show’s theme song and her biggest hit, “Best of Both Worlds,” is basically a breakdown of secret from start to finish. “Yeah when you’re famous it can be kind of fun/it’s really you but no one ever discovers.” That is a giant tell. If I were to listen to that as an entertainment reporter, I would have a few follow-up questions. For example, why does Miley Stewart look so like Hannah Montana, just with different hair? Also, why do they talk the same? Finally, why does her father try to spoil her secret through every song he releases?

“Who Said” is a track that masks itself as an empowerment jam, but with lyrics like “I’m more than just your average girl,” there’s reason to believe she is hiding something. “Just Like You” is another instance of the lyrics yelling at the listening public to look for this secret she’s hiding. “I’m the girl you know/but I’m someone else too/If you only knew,” roughly translates to “I’m lying/This is a façade/I am a huge fake/Can ya handle it?!”

Add “The Other Side of Me” and you’ve got yourself an EP of deceit. Why would Robby Ray blatantly highlight his daughter’s fake personality?! I truly don’t understand. He can clearly write tracks not about the secret, like “I Got Nerve” and “Pumpin’ Up the Party,” so why resort to a possible ruining of her life? On top of that, Miley should have refused to sing these songs. She seems to have anxiety about getting caught, so why keep singing about the possibility? Was she forced? Miley, blink twice if you need help. All I know is we shouldn’t expect Robby Ray Stewart to enter the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame anytime soon…and I am unnecessarily angry about this.

“All the Stars” are Aligned for the Black Panther Soundtrack

I would argue that the last time a non-musical soundtrack became a bonafide sensation was Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? and that was in 2000. The soundtrack went 8 times platinum, won Album of the Year at the 2002 Grammys, and has become more popular than the film itself.

Soundtracks used to be an integral part of the movie experience, adding to the anticipation or the post-viewing coma. You’d buy the album the moment it was released to get you excited for the movie, go see the movie opening weekend, then obsess over the album some more after you watched.

For some reason, that experience has vanished, mostly because we consume music in new and innovative ways. We are in a single-based music industry now, and because of this studios don’t find that creating a perfect soundtrack is as beneficial to create “buzz” around their film as much as one song can. Look at the Hunger Games franchise: We received soundtracks, but they were never as buzzy as one song from each (“Safe and Sound” for the OG film and “The Hanging Tree” from Mockingjay Part 1, which became an accidental smash.)

Luckily, Disney is helping revitalize the dying soundtrack genre by bringing Kendrick Lamar, the biggest male rapper in the world right now, to produce and personally curate the Black Panther soundtrack. I was stunned when I read the headline, ’cause that is a HUGE get.

It shows the power of the representation. When you have a black superhero, in addition to some strong kicka** black women, the community you are representing is going to lift you up and deliver the results you want to see. Kendrick, one of the biggest and most sought after stars today, will create a soundtrack because he wants to support the representation and his community. It’s common sense, and for some reason, entertainment companies still don’t get it. I mean, just look at this video Ava DuVernay tweeted out the other day:

THAT is the power of representation. THAT is the power of creating heros that represent all people, not just straight white men. THAT is the power of visibility. Ugh, the video makes me so happy. ANYWHO, back to music…

With the announcement came the release of the first single off the album, “All the Stars” sung by Kendrick Lamar and SZA (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists right now). This song is…how do I put this eloquently? Everything. It is everything. It is serving up an ethereal trip to another dimension by way of Wakanda purity realness. SZA’s voice on the track gives me chills. CHILLS, I SAY!

If this is the tone and mood we have to look forward to on this soundtrack, it’s going to become the Album of the Year, I can guarantee it. I was already stoked for Black Panther, even as a non-superhero fan, because of how crazy good it looks (and my queen, Lupita Nyong’o), but this soundtrack is getting me even more excited.

Be sure to check out “All the Stars” on Apple Music or wherever you listen and to go see Black Panther when it heads to theaters on February 16th.

 

Disney Springs Playlists: Fall 2k17

Over on LaughingPlace.com, I created “On-Ride Playlists” for a while. Based on a tweet I read from Aaron Wallace (This has become Six Degrees of Separation and I’m sorry), I would pick music in different genres and pair them with a ride where the mood and tone would fit perfectly. I did a few, but then got stressed out, as I kept wanting to pair different songs with the same ride. (Y’all, a LOT works of Expedition: Everest)

Sometimes you just want to listen to your own music, I get it. So now, I present you with Disney Springs Seasonal Playlists! Every season, we’ll bring you around a dozen songs that will make your shopping and dining experience at the Springs perfect. They won’t necessarily be new tunes, but they will accompany the season and the shopping perfectly. We’ll attach links to the playlists on Apple Music and Spotify every month, so you can stream them easily at the Springs. It’s time for your first Fall playlist!

(The Spotify playlist will show up, in full, every time. If you want to access the Apple Music version, which has the same exact songs, just hit the link below.)

Apple Music Playlist

Tweet us pictures/videos of yourself jamming out at the Springs @disneyBOP and we’ll share our favorites!

Club Mickey Mouse Kicks It Old School & Inspirational

To quickly get the recap out of the way: I love Club Mickey Mouse arguably too much, their music is all I’ve listened to for weeks now, and they recently released two new songs!

“Generation M” is a 90s style R&B bop that I’ve been jamming to hard since it’s release. Regan gets her time to shine with a killer rap, then Brianna comes out and slays like chorus with some smooth riffs. The video, weirdly, doesn’t cover the entire song and I’m not entirely sure why, but it’s fun none the less. Those yellow overalls are my new aesthetic.

“Be Ok” was released this past Thursday to celebrate National Bullying Prevention Month. It’s a fun and inspirational pop tune about being there for each other when someone’s down. Ky gets his turn to solo (and does a great job!), along with Leanne, Regan, and Brianna. Check out the infectiously bubbly beach music video below.

I’ve seen mixed things across their social media, but this might be the final week of Club Mickey Mouse and I’m actually devastated. I hope this turns into something more, like a weekly variety show like the other incarnations. (Looking at you, Disney Channel) Here’s hoping, as these past 5 weeks have been great. Keep on Mousin’!

Club Mickey Mouse is Made for You & Me!

There’s been a large break between posts lately and I a very sorry for that. School and work have gotten in the way (Public Speaking will be the death of me), so I haven’t been able to keep updating the site at the pace I’d like to be.

However, during these long breaks I have become totally obsessed with Club Mickey Mouse. Like, really obsessed.

If you aren’t aware, the Mickey Mouse Club brand has returned this year with a social-media-only series entitled Club Mickey Mouse. Instead of a televised 30-minute program with skits and music performances, we just get one music video a week. The production quality is fantastic, so I’m totally fine with it.

While we wait for the release of the song and video, we are treated to a large social media presence, with consistent Instagram Stories and posts on their Instagram and Facebook pages. The whole “season” is lasting 7 weeks and is sponsored by HP, but it doesn’t feel totally forced.

We’ve been treated to 3 music videos thus far. “The Mickey Mouse Club March” was the first, ’cause obvi, and it really took the song and turned it into its own thing. It has a modern feel (with the pastel colors used in the video and the emphasis on dance), while the song itself was rearranged into a late 90s R&B sound that I really dig. The rap at the beginning was a fun touch and the riffs from Mouseketeer Brianna Mazzola are something you would find on TLC’s CrazySexyCool. SO SMOOTH. This has been on repeat for 2 weeks now. It’s so fun.

The second video was the original “Something to Fight For,” an original written and choreographed by the Mouseketeers (which is a reoccurring theme, that the actual teens are doing the choreography, all of it being fantastic). It had an inspirational message with a moody EDM tone that took me a few listens to really get into, as it was not expected, but I’m digging it.

This week, we were treated to a cover of Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”. I hate Jackson 5. Everyone has a song they can’t stand, and for me, it’s anything the group has released. However, what the Club did to the track by making it a duet with some R&B and modern pop flair has made it an instant hit. Sean and Brianna do a fantastic job with the vocals and the video is super fun.

Apparently they are heading to the Disney World this week (Hey Oh My Disney, you need someone to interview them? ‘Cause I am here. I AM AVAILABLE!), so I’m excited to see their upcoming videos from that.

Also, their wardrobe across the board is goals. I’m loving the personal styles they all have and I want all their clothes.

Overall, if you’re not following this modern and fantastic reboot of the pop culture institution…get into it! I need a 2nd season, so I’m going to fully blame you if they don’t return next year, mkay?

 

The Perfect Raven Playlist

This week is Raven Week on disneyBOP! We’ll bring you a new post leading up to the premiere of Raven’s Home this Friday. 

Raven’s Home premieres this Friday at 10pm on Disney Channel, but you gotta get pumped! The only way is to listen to some sweet Raven jams. Now, we as a society overlook Raven-Symone’s fabulous recording career and that is a damn shame.

Raven-Symone is my favorite Disney Channel recording artist ever. Her songs covered all the nooks and crannies of the pop genre and we were treated to some real gems. She was a part of the Cheetah Girls for two films, released 2 soundtracks for That’s So Raven, and had an iconic solo album in 2004 that is the score to my dreams, honestly.

I’ve created the ultimate Raven playlist you can jam to prior to Friday’s launch and beyond. Once again, the Spotify playlist will be embedded, but just click the Apple Music link to reach that playlist.

Apple Music Playlist Link

 

Disney Springs Playlists: Summer 2K17

Over on LaughingPlace.com, I created “On-Ride Playlists” for a while. Based on a tweet I read from Aaron Wallace (This has become Six Degrees of Separation and I’m sorry), I would pick music in different genres and pair them with a ride where the mood and tone would fit perfectly. I did a few, but then got stressed out, as I kept wanting to pair different songs with the same ride. (Y’all, a LOT works of Expedition: Everest)

Sometimes you just want to listen to your own music, I get it. So now, I present you with Disney Springs Seasonal Playlists! Every season, we’ll bring you around a dozen songs that will make your shopping and dining experience at the Springs perfect. They won’t necessarily be new tunes, but they will accompany the season and the shopping perfectly. We’ll attach links to the playlists on Apple Music and Spotify every month, so you can stream them easily at the Springs. Let’s kick things off with your Summer 2K17 Playlist!

(The Spotify playlist will show up, in full, every time. If you want to access the Apple Music version, which has the same exact songs, just hit the link below.)

Apple Music Playlist link

Tweet us pictures/videos of yourself jamming out at the Springs @disneyBOP and we’ll share our favorites!