Since their album Accelerate, Jump5 has covered varying songs from the seventies and onward. Among others, they've covered greats like "We Are Family," "Walking on Sunshine," and "Shining Star," which happens to be the title of their latest album.
Shining Star holds all of Jump5's cover tunes from the past couple years along with a few rarities and one brand new track. In fact, this album feels like a quick follow up to their Spring 2005 release, The Very Best of Jump5. Shining Star really feels like volume two to a best-of series. Much of the album comes across as a bubbly fun beach-trip soundtrack, which fits very nicely into the sound Jump5 has created for themselves.
The album opens up "We Are Family," Jump5's blockbuster Radio Disney hit from Accelerate. The bubbly and very danceable track opens things out well, leading into Accelerate's second huge hit, "Walking on Sunshine," probably the best of the Jump5 covers. "Beauty and the Beast" follows, first featured on the album Disneymania released in conjunction with the special edition DVD of Beauty And The Beast, which features the Jump5 music video for the song. They definitely apply their own Jump5 sound to this dance pop track, making for a fun sing-a-long with the kids.
"Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride," from the Disneymania 3 album, is another fun Jump5 track, combining Hawaiian sounds and words into a fun surf song. "Freeze Frame" is the only new Jump5 cover released on Shining Star, originally released exclusively for the Sleepover movie soundtrack. It's very easy to pick up on the bouncy eighties sound, as Jump5 sings about a first love through an upbeat pop machine. "I've Got The Music In Me" is one of the more interesting tracks included here, taken from the Dreaming In Color album. The song offers a little more of a moodier pop tone that gives plenty of chances for member Britney to belt out the high notes.
It almost feels like "Welcome" should have been the first track on this album, since it rightly welcomes the listener into the family, and feels like an opening track rather than a mid-album one. Another fun cover from the Disneymania 2 album, "Welcome" is upbeat and again, danceable. Things finally slow down for a moment on "God Bless The U.S.A." from the second release of the Jump5 album. The group "popifies" the classic Lee Greenwood track, changing just a line or two so that Jump5 can thank God and not their lucky stars "to be living here today." Another strong track, this time coming from the Mix It Up album, "Celebration" brings in probably the most electric guitar heard on a Jump5 song, capturing the fun sound of the 1980 classic.
The title track, originally found on Accelerate, is slightly reminiscent of "I've Got The Music In Me," bearing the same moody pop sound. Rounding out the album is "Friends," the cover of that oh so classic Michael W. Smith song, which Jump5 manages to pull off well, slowing things down, but definitely hitting the chorus with a slowed-upbeat sound. One of my only complaints this time around is the final track, "Wonderful Christmastime," which seems to be randomly tacked onto the end of the record as a bonus track. The song might have its place on All The Joy In The World, Jump5's first Christmas album, but here, among so many classic tunes, it's hard to see how this one might fit in.
All in all, this is one of the more fun collections of Jump5 songs, but if you already own most of the other Jump5 albums, this one is mostly a repeat. If you're a die-hard fan, definitely pick this one up for "Freeze Frame" and the other two rare tracks, "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride" and "Welcome," or this could be a great introduction to the upbeat, bubble-gum sounds of Jump5.- Review date: 11/23/05, written by Shaun Stevenson
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