Thursday, September 23, 2010

After The Heights, They All Moved On To Better Things, The Soundtrack Didn't.

The Good: Better than the show, solid production, very listenable
The Bad: Campy, teen-friendly songs, Short
The Basics: Better than the television show, but by no means worth serious consideration or anything outside entertainment value.

Odds are, if you live in the U.S., you can hear the song "How Do you Talk To An Angel" every now and then on radio. The group that sang that song, The Heights no longer exists. It was the brainchild of Aaron Spelling in an idea that long preceded Making the Band and similar programs. The difference? The Heights actually had talent and weren't the band mold of the time. (Unlike something like O-Town which was out of luck as soon as the boy band craze died out a year after they were created.)

Outside the well-known #1 single, The Heights never went anywhere and it's an irony that "How Do You Talk To An Angel" hit number one several months after the series was canceled. The Heights soundtrack was all right and it was more commercially viable than releasing the show on VHS or DVD ever seemed to be. Even so, outside the one single, The Heights were unable to chart a single. So, why listen to this album?

The songs on the album are covers (i.e. "Feelin' Alright"), written by the band (only 4 of the 14 songs) or under the direction of musician Steve Tyrell (who seems to have a pretty solid grasp of lyrics). Half the songs on the album were either written or arranged by Tyrell.

Some of the songs are pretty good, like the foil versions of the same song "Common Ground" and "Battleground." The album is filled with songs that are socially conscious ("Children of the Night") or relationship themed ("The Man You Used To Be (A Song For Dad)") or about the pop-standrd theme, love ("Strongest Man Alive"). The thing is, a lot of the lyrics aren't bad. It's actually pretty surprising because the show wasn't terribly good and most of the singers were actors.

I believe the album is better for people who never saw or heard of the television show; the songs are fairly solid musically, at least for light pop-rock, though they are very much oriented towards teens, the Beverly Hills, 90210 audience. People who like Dawson's Creek would probably like the songs here - it's very teen friendly. As for adults? Some of the songs still resonate, most notably "Strongest Man Alive" and "I'm Still On Your Side."

Most of the singers here can be found by turning the television on: Alex Desert (who has a wonderful voice on "Friendship") was on Becker, Charlotte Ross ended up on NYPD Blue and Tasia Valenza seems to be popping up for voice-over work quite a bit.

The best track is the poetic "Natalie" and the weak link is "Joanne."

For other works by bands, please check out my reviews of:
Interpreting The Masters Volume 1: A Tribute To Daryl Hall & John Oates - The Bird And The Bee
Don't Look Back In Anger - Oasis
Saturday Night Fever - The Bee Gees


For other music reviews, check out my index page!

© 2010, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reproduced without permission.

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