Freeform’s “31 Nights of Halloween” may be a week away, but that hasn’t stopped things from getting a little “Freaky” every now and then. By the end of the event, Freaky Friday will have aired seven lucky times on the network this month. But which version of Freaky Friday are they talking about? The “Ultimate” one, of course! By “Ultimate,” I don’t mean that this is the definitive filmed version of the story, but that it practically launched Lindsay Lohan’s singing career with a song called “Ultimate.”
Before she was a Greek beach club mogul and reality TV star, Lindsay Lohan was the Christina Aguilara to Hilary Duff’s Britney Spears. LiLo may have been on the Disney scene first in 1998’s The Parent Trap, but her Disney Channel debut in the DCOM Get a Clue in 2002 came on the heels of the breakout success of Lizzie McGuire in 2001. Duff’s debut non-holiday pop album brought bops like “Come Clean” to the world in August 2003, the same month this remake of Freaky Friday premiered. “Ultimate” even gave “So Yesterday” a lot of competition on Radio Disney, the only radio station that mattered in that era.
While Disney doubled down on backing Hilary Duff’s music career (her pre-”Sparks” era was on Buena Vista Records), they were oddly tepid with Lohan. Instead of taking “Ultimate” and building an album around it the way they did with Hilary Duff’s The Lizzie McGuire Movie anthem “Why Not,” they had her record a few songs for other films like The Princess Diaries 2 and cast her in a pseudo-musical, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, which had a delayed release and came out after the success of Mean Girls.
In the same way that Mean Girls catapulted Lindsay Lohan’s fame to a level beyond Hilary Duff’s post-Disney work, her Universal recording contract produced some incredibly personal and profound bops that Duff’s Avril Lavign-style punk-pop efforts couldn’t match. Her debut non-Disney single, “Rumors,” was an on-the-nose attack at the media and the way they were portraying her party habits as she entered her early 20’s.
Lohan was the queen of Disney remakes during this era. Not only did her career begin with The Parent Trap, her next film for ABC’s “The Wonderful World of Disney” was Life-Size, which heavily borrowed from Mannequin and Disney’s A Mom for Christmas. Add Freaky Friday and Herbie: Fully Loaded to the catalogue and by the time she was ready to hang up her mouse ears, she spent the majority of her pre-adulthood career in Disney films inspired by previous works. Funnily enough, a song from her debut album on Universal Records, “Speak,” was included in the soundtrack for Herbie: Fully Loaded and the “Love Bug” co-starred in the music video for “First.”
Fame is fickle and fleeting and the careers of both Duff and Lohan began to wane as the 2000’s marched towards a new decade. A new wave of Disney stars soon emerged following the breakout success of High School Musical and both Duff and Lohan soon found less roles coming their way, and their recording careers more or less came to an end. Duff had a brief music revival in 2015 and now it’s Lohan’s turn, with a single title recently announced. As with her past work, “Xanax” promises to be a personal track for Lohan and one that I’m eager to hear when it drops.
You can catch Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis in the body switching comedy Freaky Friday on the following days and times during Freeform’s “30 Days of Disney.”
- Monday, September 23rd, at 12:00 am
- Tuesday, September 24th, at 11:00 am
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.