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Album Review

This soundtrack’s 18 songs are divided between several artists. Hannah Montana nabs seven tunes, while her "real world" alter ego, Miley Cyrus, gets four. Miley and her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, share a duet; Billy Ray croons one country song himself. Other contributors include Rascal Flatts (2 songs), Steve Rushton (2) and Taylor Swift (1).

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Pro-social Content

Hannah Montana's songs are upbeat, rockin' affairs. "You'll Always Find Your Way Back Home" says that fashions may come and go, but home remains a constant, grounding influence. "Let's Go Crazy" captures the teen pop icon's overriding ethos: Have fun, be yourself. "Just be courageous," she advises, "Turn the music up loud/ ... The fun's just begun." More good times can be had on "Let's Do This," a party song in which Hannah tells concertgoers, "Now's the time to get loud/Throw your hands up/ ... Freak out, scream and shout/This is what it's all about." Three tracks, "Spotlight," "What's Not to Like" and "The Best of Both Worlds: The 2009 Movie Mix" celebrate the joys of being a rock star. "When you're a superstar/They know your name wherever you are/Life is crazy, and I like it," Hannah sings on "What's Not to Like." It may be superficial, but at least it's not Britney Spears.

In contrast, Miley's soundtrack contributions have a different vibe: Call it countrified introspection. There's still fun to be had, of course. "Hoedown Throwdown" is a boot-scootin' country dance number, for example. But things get more serious on "The Climb," where Miley ponders life's struggles and affirms that it's about the journey, not reaching your destination. "Dream" finds her praising a beau who's encouraged her to believe that anything is possible ("You got me thinking/ ... That nothing's ever out of reach/So dream, dream, dream"). "Don't Walk Away" expresses some frustration, however, that he apparently has a mind of his own—a positive character trait that only interests Miley more. The tearjerker duet "Butterfly Fly Away" finds her trading lines with Dad, praising his tender care for her as she morphs from a caterpillar to a free-flying butterfly.

Elsewhere, Rascal Flatts offers an acoustic reprise of its hit "Bless the Broken Road" ("God blessed the broken road/That led me straight to you") and playfully ponders what happens when you play country music "Backwards" ("You get your house back/you get your dog back/ ... You get your truck back"). Steve Rushton gushes about the object of his affection on "Everything I Want" ("I'll never replace you/'Cause I'll never find love so true"). Billy Ray says that fame and fortune weren't worth the cost of leaving his high school sweetheart on "Back to Tennesee," while Miley's friend Taylor Swift sings about finding purpose in a healthy romance ("Baby, you showed me what living is for/I don't want to hide anymore").

Objectionable Content

"The Good Life" flaunts Hannah's privileged existence as she goes on a materialistic bender, financed by her credit card ("Have anything you want/This is the good life/ ... Grab a little Gucci bag/And some Prada shoes/Here, take my credit card/ ... When you can't decide/That's OK. Just buy them all/There's no better feeling"). The film shows how Hannah/Miley's onscreen father lovingly tries to bring his daughter back to earth, but his wisdom isn't evident when listening to this track in isolation. Speaking of Dad, Billy Ray may be praying on "Back to Tennessee," but two uses of God's name are more easily heard as vain exclamations. "I should be feeling like a king/But Lord, I don't," he says in one line. He also sings, "God, I miss that hometown girl."

Summary Advisory

Hannah Montana may not get things 100 percent right, caught up as she is in her rarefied world of teen stardom. Thankfully, Miley's quite a bit more grounded, no doubt due to the influence of her onscreen (and offscreen) dad and the positive cast of characters she surrounds herself with on this soundtrack. Living life, having fun, growing in confidence and pursuing your dreams are the themes that mostly energize these 18 tunes from Hannah Montana: The Movie.

Plot Summary

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Episode Reviews

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