High School Musical debuted twelve years ago on Disney Channel. Let that sink in for a minute as you make the decision to revisit the soundtrack on vinyl or not. All eleven tracks from the original soundtrack make the jump from compact disc and digital formats to vinyl for the first time ever, with a special gold record that would make Sharpay ecstatic.
“Breaking Free,” “We’re All in This Together,” and “Get’cha Head in the Game” were all chart toppers that changed the way Disney Channel approached music and opened the door for all of the Hannah Montana’s, Austin & Ally’s, and Descendants that came after it. It’s worth revisiting these bops along with the rest of the soundtrack if for no other reason than their historical significance. In addition to every song from the film, it also includes the bonus tracks “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by the cast and a cover of “Get’cha Head in the Game” by B5.
Some legendary and iconic voices appear on this release as well, including Ashley Tisdale, Vanessa Hudgens, and
Zac Efron Drew Seeley. Unfortunately, this vinyl release does a great disservice to them. Somewhere in the process of transferring the music to this format, things got distorted and warped beyond reason. I thought it might be my record player, but I changed the needle and tried other pop albums (…Baby One More Time by Britney Spears) and it sounded great. On vinyl, Vanessa Hudgen’s belting on “When There Was Me and You” sounded like it was coming out of a megaphone. The biggest disappointment was “Breaking Free,” where the sound would dip and waver, adjusting the pitch from start to finish.
It’s possible that I got a defective vinyl, but my suspicion is that the issue is in the pressing. That’s a shame, because the packaging and disc are so appealing and it renders this a pretty collectable rather than a functioning LP. The percentage of fans who buy this without a record player is likely minimal and they would all discover the flaws in the sound quality as soon as they sit down to enjoy it.
This is the first vinyl release from Walt Disney Records that has underwhelmed me. I admit that I usually find that vintage records tend to sound better than modern releases, but not by much. High School Musical, however, sounds so bad on vinyl and doesn’t yield any improvements over the digital version that fans already own. But hey, at least it looks cool?
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.