Ok, let me be honest with you - I asked for this review. When I found out that The Very Best of Jump5 was up for grabs, I jumped (pun thoughtfully inserted) at the chance to review it. Why? Because when it comes to danceable, kid-targeted pop, nobody does it like this spunky (now-) foursome. In a relatively short five years, Jump5 have put out four studio albums, one Christmas album, a series of karaoke compilations, as well as other singles and Disney soundtrack contributions. Despite losing one member in the process, this prolific pop group has put together a greatest hits package that compiles some of their catchiest songs (as well as three brand-new ones) onto one fan-friendly disc.
As far as greatest hits collections go, The Very Best of Jump5 is fairly short. With twelve tracks condensed into a tidy forty minutes, Jump5 keep things short and sweet. Although it would be nice to see a couple more songs on there ("Why Do I Do" would have been a nice addition) the disc's brevity actually works to its favor, since eighty minutes of Jump5 would have stretched the hits too thinly. As it stands, the hits that did make the CD showcase Jump5 at their very best. These teens specialize in catchy, upbeat music that you can move to and, more importantly, these songs are filled with simple, uplifting messages that anybody, young and old, can latch onto.
The disc appropriately opens with "Spinnin' Around," Jump5's first hit from 2001. Still as catchy as it was four years ago, this song has also aged remarkably well, considering that the group has matured musically since their debut. Thankfully, Jump5 haven't yet abandoned their dance-pop roots and the group extends the head-bopping party vibe with songs like "Throw Your Hands Up," "Do Ya," and "Dance With Me." The new songs (the pop-rock sounding "Don't Run Away" and the chorus-driven "Beautiful To Me") fit right in with the established hits. These new offerings are the undeniable highlights of the album, featuring a more mature, guitar-driven sound that doesn't sacrifice the catchiness of their earlier hits.
The only drawback to The Very Best of Jump5 is the perplexing amount of cover material on the album. Including five covers on a greatest hits package is not a very good move, since it deprives the listener of more deserving Jump5 originals. Though the new recording of the Michael W. Smith classic "Friends" sounds pretty good (and is thankfully restrained), the rest of the covers just don't have that Jump5 flavor that makes the originals so exciting. "Beauty and the Beast" is a disappointingly light take on the Disney classic, while "God Bless America" and "We Are Family" are pretty tame and pale in comparison to the other tracks.
Despite this, The Very Best of Jump5 is still a worthwhile collection for any Jump5 fan. It's a great introduction to the group and the three brand-new songs make it a must-have even for long-time fans. This teenage hit machine just keeps on rolling and I for one am excited to see where they go next.- Review date: 5/26/05, written by Sherwin Frias
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