Step Up 2: The Streets Soundtrack

Posted February 7, 2008

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Through a series of unfortunate or miraculous...

Original Soundtrack Album Review

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Through a series of unfortunate or miraculous events an attractive teenager ends up on the other side of town: if they’re white, they’re moving to the hood; if they’re black, they’re going to an upper-level school. They’re an outcast in their new world, ridiculed, ignored…until they discover the power of dance! Thanks to a few close friends, and hours of choreographed sweat, their booty-poppin dance skills win them the respect and adoration of everyone.

Sound familiar? It should, I just broke down the plot to Save the Last Dance, Center Stage, Take the Lead, Bring It On, Stomp the Yard, How She Move, Honey, Step Up, and of course, Step Up 2. That’s right, Step Up 2 is fresh for ’08 suckas! All kidding aside, I’ve seen almost every movie on that list. Don’t judge me, you know you’ve watched ‘em too. Sure they’re not exactly Oscar-worthy, but if you’re looking to kill a couple hours they’re perfectly enjoyable. Speaking of which, let’s get to work. It’s time to breakdown the Step Up 2 soundtrack. Shall we dance?

Every soundtrack is comprised of three components: the established hit, the mediocre track from a major artist, and the up-and-comer contributions. First up, the established hit, or in this case hits. If you haven’t heard Plies’ and Akon’s Hypnotized by now then, well, then you’re probably not on DJBooth.. The beat’s acoustic-based melody is appropriately hypnotic, Akon proves why he’s battling T-Pain for the king of the charts status, and Plies’ rough rhyme style fits perfectly. It was a good song the first 2,074 times I heard it, now even the intro monologue makes me throw up in my mouth. I’m not quite completely sick of Low, but that day is not far off. Listen, that song is a hit because of T-Pain. You could replace Flo-Rida with almost any other rapper and it’d still smash, replace T-Pizzle (as I’m now calling him) and it doesn’t even make college radio. Sorry Flo-Rida fans, there’s no way you’re convincing me otherwise. If you always wanted to own both these songs, but only have enough money for one cd, congratulations – Step Up 2 is here.

Now for the songs by major artists that aren’t good enough to include on their own albums, and Step Up 2 prominently features two disappointing offerings from Missy Elliott. If Fat Joe thinks he’s disrespected he should try being Missy for a day; she’s always gets put in “best female rappers” category, when the truth is she’s better than 95 percent of male rappers too. Missy is a giant in the industry, which is why Ching-A-Ling comes up sounding short. Sure it’s got the typical Missy-esque electronic bounce, plus some clever as hell rhymes, but put Ching-A-Ling next to One Minute Man or Get Ur Freak on and it’s no contest. The same goes for Shake Your Pom Pom, except even worse. No one consistently comes with more original style than Missy (who else would rock a giant inflatable garbage bag?) but Pom Pom is flat out stale. In fact the whole thing makes me a little sad, now I’m gonna have to listen to Gossip Folks on repeat and try to remember the good times.

The best part of any decent soundtrack is listening to up-and-comers compete with the big boys, and some of Step Up’s best songs come from some decidedly non-major artists. Cherish attempts to broaden their horizon behind their snap music roots, and they largely succeed on Killa. Despite the fact that I’m not normally a fan of the spacey-club production style, and Yung Joc’s not exactly my favorite MC, Killa consistently manages to stay stuck in my head for hours. But the real surprise of the soundtrack is Brit & Alex’s Let It Go; the surprise being that I don’t hate a song by two British pop singers who look like chubby Paris Hiltons. I’ve got to give it to em, Let It Go has the most daring production on the soundtrack, a far cry from the cookie cutter approach I was expecting. Which in a way is the perfect description of the album as a whole; just like it’s cinematic counterpart, it’s not exactly a work of art, but it’s not supposed to be, it’s supposed to be entertaining. If you liked the movie you’ll like the soundtrack, if not then I wouldn’t bother. It really is that simple. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna move to Compton and fulfill my dream of becoming a dancer.

DJBooth Rating - 3 Spins

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Posted February 7, 2008
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