Yesterday when my eyes grazed across the following headline, my heart did a little leap: "Kelly Clarkson Loses Billboard #1 To Hannah Montana." I looked around to make sure no one saw [Ohh wait! I work from home! No one can see that I haven't showered yet today either!] as a huge grin broke out on my face and I started to sing, "Who said / Who said / I can't be Superman / I said / I said that I know I can." Yes, those are the words to one of the hit songs of the first Hannah Montana album, and yes, I know them by heart because yes it's true: My name is Jennifer, and I'm a Hannah Montana-holic.
After a recent day spent watching but nothing of hours upon hours I was hooked beyond belief. My addiction ran high. I couldn't go a day without viewing the latest adventures of that precious Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) and her pop star alter-ego, Hannah Montana, on the Disney Channel show bearing the faux pop star's name. (Show premise in a nutshell: Normal girl with single dad is world's biggest pop star ever. Only no one knows and she lives normal life as geeky high school freshman girl. Discuss.) And most significantly/frighteningly: I couldn't get enough of the music. After spending way too much time covertly watching Hannah music videos on YouTube, yesterday's news about the Hannah album being tops in the country assured me I was not alone! (Even if my fellow listeners are, er, 12-year old girls.) So I downloaded the latest album: Hannah Montana 2/I Am Miley Cyrus (2-CD set! Score!), and gave the music of my favorite TV a formal listen. Here's the lowdown: The album's greatest asset, whether the songs are being sung by "Hannah" or real girl Miley, is the fact that Miley Cyrus has one hell of a voice on her. It is rich and deep and subtly-textured and sister can belt to boot. She's a shockingly-keen song stylist, considering the fact that she's 14 and is handed all her material and that material is made, uh, by Disney.
This is a huge part of the appeal of the Hannah Montana half of the 2 CD set, which features songs about not being perfect and having bad days and how lucky it is to have good friends. (Of particular note: "Make Some Noise", a gorgeous country power ballad about how it's easy to feel like you're all alone in the world. Seriously, I'm a little choked up. And wished I'd had this song telling me to love myself and not Alanis screaming at me about rain on my wedding day when I was 12). As for the 'Miley' half of the CD set, this album is a little more rock 'n' roll (and also a little overproduced) but the "girl power" vibe is not lost. In fact, is enough to give us hope that Miley Cyrus is, as we have hoped so desperately during our hours of Hannah Montana-viewing, that the girl has real and genuine talent. And that she is a real and genuine person, too. She is just like us at 14! Only with the record deal and the international stardom and more paparazzi photos being taken of her than poor little Jezebel reject Pax Jolie-Pitt.