All the music that made 2006 a phenomenal year for pop. More »
They’re baaaaack. Well, the franchise is, anyway. More »
Ten years to the day after High School Musical first aired, we’ve broken down the achievements of the movie, its cast members and director. More »
Plus: The cast of High School Musical have reunited. Also see which artists are performing on TV today. More »
Disney may have graduated from High School Musical back in 2008, but there was no way the Mouse was going to be without a musical movie franchise for very long. Welcome Lemonade Mouth, based on the best-selling book of the same name. This latest high school incarnation tells the story of a motley crew of outsiders who bond over detention and form a band. We’ve got some exclusive behind the scenes pics of the group’s music video “Somebody”, a power ballad that will premiere later this month. Click through for a sneak peek at Mesa High’s own singing Breakfast Club. More »
There was a weird period there where America was actually forced to steal its pop culture ideas from the rest of the world, what with Millionaire and Big Brother and Survivor and all. Now that we’ve closed the reality show gap, however, we can go back to imposing our entertainment on the rest of the world. To wit: a Russian version of High School Musical.
Writing teen-oriented pop is a fairly specialized talent. Writing for a musical is an even more rarified art. Combining the two—and introducing the musical-theater art form to an entire generation that previously had little use for the stuff—is some kind of pop triple-lutz, a strange sort of accomplishment.
Two songwriters behind Disney’s High School Musical series, Matthew Gerrard and Robbie Nevil, acknowledge the strangeness, or at least uncanniness, of their feat. I recorded a conversation with them a few weeks ago, about a month after the third chapter in the series—its cinematic debut, after two high-rated made-for-TV movies—debuted atop the box office list with the highest-ever debut gross for a musical. The two writer-performers sounded both gratified and mildly dumbfounded by their good fortune, even as it represents to them the culmination of a couple of decades of happy toil in the pop-music trenches.
Ten years ago this month–Nov. 3, 1998, to be exact–Jive Records released Britney Spears’ debut single “Baby One More Time” (b/w “Autumn Goodbye”) in CD and 12-inch vinyl configurations. Metal Mike Saunders–the most entertaining teen-pop critic of this decade if not human history, not to mention a Certified Public Accountant, not to mention the former singer of L.A.’s greatest early ‘80s punk band the Angry Samoans–had already purchased his copy of the song on promo cassingle two months earlier.
The album came out in January 1999, and by March (as is clear in this 5,000-word Village Voice diary, edited by yours truly), Metal Mike was predicting a multiplatinum long-haul career consisting of 20% music, 50% TV, “and—God help us all—30% s-e-x.” (“The game is over. Set, point, and match… the CD’ll go 3-4 million easy.”) And though nobody could then have anticipated what Britney would turn into (basically, a one-woman circus, as the title of her sixth album, due a week from today, makes explicit), Mike’s predictive math wasn’t all that far off; honestly, Nate Silver would be proud. When MTV aired its final edition of TRL earlier this month, “Baby One More Time” was named the show’s most influential video ever. (Of especially weird note are Saunders’ observations about Britney’s hardcore Protestant upbringing, “I’m better than you are and you’re boring me” facial smirks, and successful Saturday Night Live debut, all of which eerily anticipate Sarah Palin.)