“Camp Rock” Soundtrack Plays By The Rules

ARTIST: Various Disney Channel drones (most notably the Jonas Brothers)TITLE: Camp Rock soundtrackRELEASE DATE: June 17, 2008WEB DEBUT: June 11, 2008

ONE-LISTEN VERDICT: There’s no doubt the old coots writing these songs know what they’re doing. The High School Musical formula–inspirational messages, frenzied hooks, and plenty of Autotune–was like sugar-flavored crack for the tween demographic, and the music on Camp Rock is wisely, though perhaps unfortunately, written in that vein. There are a few songs that really shine, like the “Lip Gloss”-recalling “What It Takes,” the lighter-waving ballad (complete with swelling string section!) “Here I Am,” and, not surprisingly, the Jonas Brothers’ jaunty show-stopper “Play My Music.” “Who Will I Be” and “Too Cool” aren’t bad per se, but they sound as if they were created by a perpetual motion machine fueled by cocaine and Red Bull, and are too frantic by half. “Start the Party,” a synth-dominated dance number, sounds like an Aaron Carter reject, and is the only flat-out atrocious track on the album. Overall, though, the songs are catchy enough and entirely competent, but if you got sidetracked while listening to it, Camp Rock would blend into a hum of white noise. That doesn’t mean that it won’t sell hundreds of thousands of records, mind you.