In 1985, I’m sure no one at Hasbro thought 2015 would be the ‘Year of Jem’ but in a lot of ways, that’s turning out to be the case… for better or worse. There is finally a live action ‘Jem and the Holograms‘ movie arriving on October 23rd. Unfortunately, the clips released bear little resemblance to the “Truly Outrageous” cartoon from the 80s. But on the plus side, IDW added an EXCELLENT ‘Jem’ comic book to their line.
Now here is a product that almost no one thought they’d ever see, a ‘Jem’ tribute album! Sony/Legacy Recordings have teamed with Hasbro to release a full-length CD with tributes to the songs from the animated series, originally performed by Jem & The Holograms, The Misfits and The Stingers, entitled ‘Truly Outrageous: A Tribute To Starlight Music.’ Starlight Music was the fictional company to which Jem and her band– and early on, The Misfits– were signed. (Of course subsequent Misfits songs were released on Misfits Music and The Stingers on Stingers Sound.)
As a die-hard ‘Jem’ fan, I’m just going to get this out of the way:
DON’T BUY THIS. IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK IT IS.
I do NOT know the story behind this album, so I don’t know how it came about. It is clearly not made by fans of the show, though. If it were, it would actually be made up of covers of the actual songs. Instead, this feels like a tie-in to the movie, since from what I can tell, all of the acts on it are Youtube stars, just as how Jem is depicted in the movie. And… well, I’m pretty sure none of them are old enough to have ever seen the original show, except on DVD and from listening to it, it doesn’t sound like they even did that.
It might be one thing is the performers were like “Yeah! We just did a Jem cover song!” but I’m pretty sure it was more like, “You want me to do what? M’kay, I have 30 minutes free before my next Snapchat.”
These aren’t covers. These are all new songs that just happen to gave the same names as Jem songs. It seemed like the artists were just given a list of song titles and told to pick one and write a new tune with the same name. (This is assuming they wrote their own.) In most cases, the new tracks don’t even have the same message as the originals. They’re all just sappy, poppy love songs, even the ones by the raucous Misfits and the flashy-but-selfish Stingers.
Here is the track listing:
- BEAN (“Truly Outrageous”)
- Chrissie Poland (“LoveSick”)
- LACES (“Running Like the Wind” and “Gimme Gimme”)
- Barnaby Bright (“Destiny”)
- Madi Diaz (“Like a Dream”)
- Ben Thornewill (“All in the Style”)
- Meiko (“Abracadabra”)
- Suzanna Choffel (“Glitter & Gold”)
- SKYES (“I’m Okay”)
- Amanda Brown (“The Real Me”)
- Alice Lee (“Beat This”)
Only ‘Truly Outrageous’ by BEAN and ‘Destiny’ (originally by The Stingers) by Barnaby Bright include original lyrics, but they’re woven in with mostly original lines.
I don’t hold it against the artists. They’re all perfectly fine. They may even be great, as many of them have several other songs posted on Youtube, but I didn’t listened to any of those.
It probably would have helped (a little) if all the songs didn’t sound exactly the same. They all have the same mid-tempo beat and all sound like someone got their first synthesizer and decided to create an entire album using just that instrument.
The result is a collection of easy-to-ignore generic pop tracks like you’d hear in the background of a Disney tween sitcom during a prom scene.
Here is the title track, if you’d like a taste:
Here is the original Jem and the Holograms version:
Here is ‘Running Like The Wind’ from the album, performed by Laces:
Here is the Jem version:
If you can find any similarity between the two, please let me know.
If you are a true Jem, Misfits ir Stingers fan, this is a pass, unless you just HAVE to have anything related to the property. I don’t blame you. I bought it.
If THIS is what the movie is built around, I find the idea that anyone who releases this kind of instantly forgettable, generic audio wallpaper suddenly becoming a huge mainstream pop sensation harder to swallow than a sentient holographic computer.