Favorite Friday is a meme in which I discuss some of my favorite things. Some Fridays it’ll be based on a topic, while others it’ll just be about some of my recent favorites.
Growing up, I was a huge fan of Disney Channel. In fact, my enjoyment of its shows and stars continued well into my teenage years. My love of all things Disney Channel naturally included the music. Not just the soundtracks to shows and movies, but albums different Disney stars released.
Over the years, I’ve loved many a record by these Disney stars. I still love most of them to this day. But only a few truly stand out from the pack. In order to be considered for this list, the album had to be released while the band or artist was still on Disney Channel. Thus, anything released since is not eligible.
What Disney Channel releases do I think are a cut above the rest? My choices may (or may not) surprise you.
Insomniatic by Aly & AJ
This album is actually the one that inspired this post. I randomly felt the urge to listen to the sisters’ first two records, so I opened up Spotify and got to it. Into the Rush is cute, but Insomniatic blows it out of the water.
This album retains Aly & AJ’s authentic nature, while also being a more polished project. It’s also vastly more mature. Insomniatic features the iconic tracks “Potential Breakup Song” and “Like Whoa,” but it’s so much more than that. It manages to tackle relationships and breakups in a thoughtful and nuanced manner.
Insomniatic includes Aly & AJ’s best song to date, “Flattery.” Seriously, listen to that song and tell me they didn’t achieve peak greatness that day. The whole album is great and easily one of the best projects by any Disney star. I’d stay up all night listening to it if I could.
Lines, Vines, & Trying Times by Jonas Brothers
This is probably an unpopular opinion, as most JoBros fans would likely say that A Little Bit Longer is their best album from their Disney days. But, respectfully, I have to disagree. Minus a couple missteps (“Poison Ivy” and “Don’t Charge Me for the Crime” are regrettable), this record is eons more mature than anything they’d released before. Yeah, that’s going to be a common theme for this post. The albums that stick with me the most are the ones with the most depth.
I will forever maintain that the reason this album flopped is because it was ahead of its time. LV&TT is filled with underrated gems like “Much Better,” “Paranoid,” “Before the Storm (with Miley Cyrus),” and “World War III.” It’s musically experimental, playing with horns and piano.
If you’ve written off this album, give it another chance. It didn’t connect with me as a teen, but adult me loves it. Do yourself a favor and try it one more time.
The Time of Our Lives by Miley Cyrus
Technically, this is an EP but this is my blog and I can do what I want. How is it that Cyrus created her best body of work promoting her now-defunct Walmart clothes line?
This EP balances pop and rock in a way that works really well for Cyrus and the lyricism is— what else— incredibly mature. The Time of Our Lives includes one of Cyrus’ most iconic singles, “Party in the USA.” However, it also includes the heartfelt ballad “When I Look at You,” the aggressive “Kicking & Screaming,” and the deliciously wonky “Talk is Cheap.” In essence, The Time of Our Lives is right in Cyrus’ wheelhouse.
Because it’s not a full album, The Time of Our Lives is often overlooked and it really shouldn’t be. It features song-writing by Jessie J and Kesha. It finds Cyrus at her most experimental (yes, including Bangerz). It takes what Breakout started and improves on it. Honestly, it’s a damn good time.
Here We Go Again by Demi Lovato
I mean, you all knew this was going to be here. How many times have I said I long regarded this as Lovato’s best album? All of the times. And I’m absolutely right.
Can you believe Lovato created this entire masterpiece in two weeks at the tender age of sixteen? And that she recorded it in, like, two days? And that John Mayer and Jon McLaughlin both co-wrote songs with her for it? And that she wrote “Catch Me” all by herself? And that it went number one on Billboard despite getting zero promotion outside the “HWGA” video playing on Disney Channel?
Here We Go Again is a pop rock phenomenon with a jazzy flair. There is not a single bad song on it. From the sassy “Solo” to the edgy “Got Dynamite” to the heart-wrenching “World of Chances,” every song is a revelation. Given how good it is, it’s no wonder I’ve listened to it over and over and over again ad infinitum.
What are your favorite albums by Disney Channel stars? Let me know in the comments!