Hey there, readers.
I wasn't quite sure how I was going to get back into my normal flow coming hot off the heels of my little LOST rant, wherein I shared with you something that is very near and dear to me. Of course, after some deliberation, I figured I could balance it out by sharing something that is very grotesque and enraging to me, so here you go:
I remember well one summer evening during high school, lounging around with a friend in her bedroom, listening to music and chatting. Whatever CD it was that we had been listening to had ended, and I got up to swap it out. Rifling through my friend's CD collection (mostly pop artists I hadn't heard of, being grossly behind on the times.) Finally, a name that was safe and familiar caught my eye.
"Disney," I smiled, relieved as I glanced over the cover briefly. It was sleek and hip with a new trendy sort of feel to it and Disney Mania splashed boldly across the front. I reasoned that this must be the new art design for the Classic Disney albums before brushing it aside and popping the CD into the player...
I guess I somehow missed the pictures. Apparently I've trained my brain to block out images of vapid teen pop stars, cause I was totally unprepared for what I heard next. It took me a moment to process what I was hearing; certainly none of the classic Disney movies had a track that was accompanied with electric guitars and drums. Perhaps this is the wrong CD? No... This song is definitely a Disney song, but... Pretty sure Cinderella didn't sound like this... I began to feel slightly ill as the magnitude of what was happening started to sink in.
"What in the Jiminy Cricket is this?" I turned to my friend slowly, eyes narrowed. (My actual inquiry may have contained more expletives than that, but I'm a bit fuzzy on the details.)
"Disney Mania," she replied with a smile. "They get a bunch of Disney Channel pop stars and have them sing covers of Disney songs."
I gave no response except for my face going slack and my nostrils flaring slightly. Meanwhile, on the inside, I had swallowed my tongue, burst a vessel in my head, and suffered several minor strokes. I continued listening only out of disbelief that such a thing would exist, but tried to be calm and rational even as I heard the beloved anthems of my childhood being tied down, tortured, raped, and then turned into flavorless pop ballads by the dime-a-dozen teen star voices of the Disney channel clone army. I lasted a good while, but my rage peaked when a cover of "A Pirate's Life for Me" sung by the Jonas Brothers began to play, and it was then that I knew somebody needed to die for this.
Seriously, Disney? An album of pop covers of classic Disney songs?? No, not even just one; SEVEN albums of Disney channel stars singing hacky pop versions of classic Disney songs! What was wrong with the originals?! And it's not just pop versions of the songs that make SENSE when you turn them into pop songs (just about every Disney movie ever has a pop version of one of the songs playing over the end credits; it's nothing new) but the songs that are completely stupid and nonsensical if they are sung in any way other than in the style and context in which they were first presented. Examples? The Tiki Room song, care of Hillary Duff; "It's a Small World After All," by the Baha Men (who I actually like, but by singing a cover of a song that annoys the heck out of us even when it's NOT in pop format, they lower themselves to the level of the cast of High School Musical); "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" by Orlando Brown; "Cruella De Vil" by Hayden Panettiere; and, the especially painful cover of "The Siamese Cat Song" (from Lady and the Tramp) by Hillary and Haylie Duff. Not kidding. I mean, I can understand the princess songs, or the big inspirational numbers, cause they already sound like something you'd hear in a pop song, but The SIAMESE CAT SONG?!?! How do you get away with that?? If ever there was a song that only worked in one specific context, that would be it, and yet, it shows up on several Disney Mania albums. There's another thing; to look at the albums, you'd think they were a series, and that each one would have different songs on it... In reality, they just get different people to cover the same songs over and OVER again. Last time I checked, there were more than enough Disney songs to have an entire set of different ones on each album. That is just stupid. If you're going to try to pull off something this heinous, you at least have to TRY to act like you put some effort into it. Plus they sound mass-produced; a big part of what makes Disney songs enjoyable is the soul that the original character's voice actors gave to them -- "Hakuna Matata" would not be the same if Timon and Pumba weren't there with there to give it life -- but Disney Media tries, and what we get is a song with no heart and no meaning; just like it had been thrown together in an assembly line. If I were Walt Disney, I'd be turning in my grave.
I get it; Disney is trying to make their songs appeal to kids, but there's just one little problem: THEY ALREADY APPEAL TO KIDS. Teens too. I don't care who you are, Disney songs imprint themselves on you in early childhood, and their nostalgic value makes it so you can still enjoy them as you grow older. There is no need to make something new out of them, because the reason they are loved is because they're old, we know them, we can sing along with them, and they hold happy memories. Disney Mania takes that familiarity away in an attempt to make them "hip" for today's kids, and I don't know about anybody else, but for me, it leaves behind an uncomfortable imitation that makes me feel cheap and dirty, like I just paid for a lap dance from somebody dressed up as my favorite Disney songs, but who I know full well to be the nutjob who slaughtered the real ones in the first place. Once again, that's just me. And anyway, it's stupid; nobody can be dignified singing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah with an electric guitar, and if you try to look cool, you just look stupider. This is the same reason I hate the Disney Channel. It takes something pure (in this case, the Disney name) and makes it into a soulless cash machine that targets kids by trying to make everything resonate with whatever shallow ideal seems to be popular with the preteen demographic (Just a heads up, it will always be the idea that looks, being popular, and having a boy/girlfriend are the only things that matter.) I hate the superficial oh-so-trendy Hannah Montana fashion pop superstar sort of feel that the Disney Channel generation has given everything, and so I hate Disney Mania for embodying that. I want Disney to remind me of my CHILDHOOD, not my preteen years, because when I was a child everything was magical, and when I was a preteen I wanted to marry Orlando Bloom.
Any kid who grows up on Disney Mania instead of the real thing has been deprived of a childhood, and any parent who facilitates this needs to have their privileges revoked.
Disney can continue to produce shallow, manufactured material for preteens, but they really need to leave the old stuff alone. No good can come from such corruption; only sadness and hate.
I'm willing to coexist just as long as you keep your hands to yourself, Disney Media. If it keeps getting personal like this, things are going to get ugly.
.... Letting the Jonas Brothers sing the Pirates of the Caribbean song is already a crime that will be paid for in blood; you'd do well to watch your step in the future.