High School Musical – guilty pleasures 1 and 2

“When I hear my favorite song,
I know that we belong.
You are the music in me.

It’s livin inside of us,
kind of like a virus.
You are the music in me. . . ”


It was a little more than a year ago that my 5-year old told me I had to “get my head in the game.” Weeks later, I got to hear the soundtrack from this “high school musical” the kids were on about, and I teased them by feigning confusion with the characters they seemed to know so well. (I still refer to Zac Efron [Troy Bolton] as “Zac-Troy”.) But something did happen during my very first listen. I remembered.

Those wizards at Disney have figured out something in the neural wiring that pumps these songs directly into the brain. You find yourself singing them hours later and after a single listen. Pop magic. I can’t imagine how ingrained these songs become in the far less cluttered minds of little kids, especially after the 100th listen . . .

Now it’s High School Musical 2, and the talented ensemble cast is back with their perfect skin, straight teeth, shiny hair and a soundtrack maybe even more catchy than the first one. Our kids are pretty savvy now. They know how silly it is that everyone knows how to dance, or that drums and guitars can be heard even though all they see is cute little Kelsy at the piano. But it’s still good, clean fun.

For us, we’re now somewhat vested in these characters because they mean so much to the kids. We’re impressed with the talents of the cast, most of whom are much closer to actual high school age than the “kids” we enjoyed in Grease. It’s also fascinating to see the Disney marketing machine in action, for example, the three different showings of the movies this weekend, each with a different “theme” like last night’s sing-along version. But mostly, there is fun to be had in good pop music – it’s light, it’s shallow, and it makes you feel like a kid again.

And now, some advice for all the kids who want to be like Troy and Gabriella:

Boys: At 5’9″, Troy doesn’t have much hope of landing a basketball scholarship. If your dad is pushing you into sports like Troy’s dad, then don’t listen to him. Coach Bolton is a self-centered jerk.

Girls: If you want to be like Gabriella (intelligent and adorable), then study hard and choose your wardrobe carefully. Cute sundresses and ballet flats will flatter you so much more than trashy revealing outfits and those God-forsaken flip-flops.

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