Music - Songs from Instant Star featuring Alexz Johnson
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I've been following Alexz Johnson for a while now. I first spotted her as Annie on the Disney Channel's supernatural/band on tour show “So Weird.” Here we learned that Alexz is not just your average actress. She can act amazingly, has an incredible singing voice, and even writes some of her own stuff, which is impressive, considering that Disney was willing to use some of her stuff in the show. Then in normal Disney fashion, So Weird was canceled during the third season and although I waited for a long time and visited her website often, it seemed like I may never really get to see this uber talented Canadian, Alexz Johnson, reach her full potential.
Last year I was very pleasantly surprised when I heard about a new show on The N, the Nickelodeon owned network for teens, called Instant Star. In this show, Alexz plays Jude Harrison, a 16-year-old girl that wins an American Idol-like show. I watch the show almost religiously, but what made me the happiest was the fact that Alexz again had the chance to sing some of her own material on her show.
So, obviously, whenever I heard that Instant Star was releasing a soundtrack, I wanted to be the first in line to buy it. Unfortunately, as a Canadian show, the soundtrack was only released, or at least widely distributed, in Canada. Which brings me to the first downside to the Instant Star soundtrack, the difficulty of getting your hands on a copy. I finally got my copy by ordering it on Amazon, which isn't hard, but I should be able to go into my local music store and pick up a copy of an album I want to buy, I don't know if I'm just being picky, but it did kinda bother me.
But once you finally get a copy of the album, you will be very impressed. Most would not expect much from a TV show soundtrack consisted entirely by songs performed by the lead actress of that series, but that is what makes this soundtrack so awesome. It actually feels more like a debut album by Alexz Johnson then an actual soundtrack,, which is pretty cool, considering how good Alexz truly is. However, there are a few songs that can only be fully appreciated by watchers of the show. For example, she covers the hit song by the fake boy band, Boyz Attack, titled “Picking Up the Pieces.” This song was written to be a very poppy song, but in comparison to the other songs on the album, it feels out of place. In defense of this song though, they did perfectly capture the boy band style, and for someone like me that grew up listening to the likes of N*Sync and the Backstreet Boys, its pretty fun to sing along to.
Another song that would come as a surprise to non-watchers of the show would be “Waste My Time.” It starts out like most of the other songs on the album, with strong guitar riffs and awesome vocals, but right around the end, a rapper chimes in. In this series, this was a collaboration with her Jude's first real boyfriend, but on the back of the cover, this track makes no mention of any guest artists, and on the show there was also a minus rapper version of this song, so it is a little confusing. And like I was leading up to, you wouldn't expect to hear any kind of rap on this CD before this song, because she is very pop/punk the rest of the time. But again, if you watch the show, this is a nice moment to have captured on your soundtrack, because every time you listen to it, you'll remember the whole story of her relationship with Shay, the rapper on this track.
The rest of the tracks on this album are nothing short of amazing. There is a cover of “Stupid Girl” by Garbage, and other songs all in the pop/punk vain. Alexz wrote 5 of the 14 tracks, which, like I said earlier, is impressive, just because these are songs that the producers of the show actually decided to put into the show, and these 5 tracks are by far the strongest tracks on the album. Although her character may be a 16-year-old high school student, after listening to these songs, you can tell that this 18-year-old is anything but immature.
All in all, I would recommend this album to anyone. I'm surprised that Alexz Johnson is not talked about on MTV in the same league as Ashlee Simpson and Hilary Duff. I have a strong feeling that the world will very soon discover Alexz for what she really is, an amazing singer/songwriter. If you're a fan of the show, you will like this album, but if you typically don't order music online, good luck finding it. If you aren't a fan of the show but just like to listen to some good, quality girl rock, then “Songs from Instant Star” is an album for you. Because of the two tracks that may surprise the listeners that aren't familiar with the show and how hard it is to actually buy a copy of this album, I can't give it a perfect 5 out of 5, but it is still a really strong album and I don't think these two problems even cause it to go down a whole can, so I'm going to give “Song from Instant Star” featuring Alexz Johnson, 4.5 out of 5 cans.
Added: Thursday, April 06, 2006
Related Link: Instant Star: Offical TV Show Website
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