Summer break is the prime time to sit back, relax and enjoy some of your favorite media from your childhood. If you were anything like me, I spent a lot of my childhood summers watching children's television programs like Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and, my personal favorite, Disney Channel.
Disney Channel is home to some of the most beloved TV programs like “Hannah Montana,” “Wizards of Waverly Place” and “Phineas and Ferb.” Also on Disney Channel were original movies like “High School Musical,” “Lemonade Mouth” and “Camp Rock” that not only captured the attention of our youthful minds but transcended beyond children’s TV and into pop culture media.
These Disney Channel original movies (DCOMS) captured children’s brains not only through colorful imagery and heartful plots but through the insanely catchy soundtracks that went along with them. To honor these simple, yet brilliant songs, here are the top 10 best tracks from your favorite Disney Channel original movies.
Before we begin, this list contains songs from DCOMS that premiered on Disney Channel and not in theaters. Due to this restraint, songs from films like “Hannah Montana: The Movie,” “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” and “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” will not be on this list. Now that we have that out of the way, here are the songs:
First on this list is “Determinate” from Patricia Riggen’s “Lemonade Mouth” (2011). Sung by the fictional band Lemonade Mouth, this high-energy track contains poppy drums, groovy basslines, crunchy guitar riffs and electronic beats to mimic the perfect early 2010’s EDM track. Some memorable parts of the song are keytarist Wen’s (Adam Hicks) tongue-twisting rap verse near the end of the track and lead guitarist Stella Yamanda’s (Hayley Kiyoko) sickening guitar riffs that add spice to the verses. Overall, this song is a memorable track from an equally memorable Disney Channel original movie.
Next on this list is “Something About The Sunshine” from “Starstruck” (2010), directed by Michael Grossman. This pop track is sung by the fictional pop star Christopher Wilde (Sterling Knight) and singer-songwriter Anna Margaret. With buzzing electronic beats and swinging keys, this track is another perfect reflection of the Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber era of pop music from the early 2010s. In the movie, this song plays while Christopher Wilde and his love interest, Jessica Olson (Danielle Campbell), drive around Los Angeles, California and go site-seeing, which is a great visualizer for this summer-y tune. In all, “Something About The Sunshine” is the perfect pop tune to blast all summer.
The next track on this list is “Bet On It” from the second installment of Kenny Ortega’s “High School Musical” series, “High School Musical 2” (2007). Sung by the series’ protagonist, Troy Bolton (Zac Efron), this song is about struggling with yourself even as you continue to move forward and solve your issues. It’s a catchy song with its iconic opening timpani, melancholy keys and buzzing electronic beats. Within the context of the movie, Bolton sings this song as he prances around a golf course. His choreography, albeit a bit silly, makes for a great visualizer and emotional tether to the track’s lyrical content. Moreover, “Bet On It” is an emotional, yet catchy song that will make you want to prance through a golf course just like Troy Bolton.
Speaking of “High School Musical,” next on this list is “Push It to the Limit” from the underrated film “Jump In!” (2007), directed by Paul Hoen. The song is sung by the movie’s main character, Izzy, played by Corbin Bleu (who also stars in the “High School Musical” movies as Chad Danforth). It’s a high-energy track with its groovy instrumentals and catchy melodies. Naturally, the song was made to feel like you’re there with Izzy as he trains to compete in a Double Dutch tournament, which makes for a great visualizer as you’re listening to the song on its own. With a mix of early 2000s pop and “Eye of the Tiger”-like workout music, “Push It to the Limit” not only pumps you up but gives you a great sense of nostalgia.
Next up is “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’” from Jeffrey Hornaday’s “Teen Beach Movie,” released in the summer of 2013. Inspired by 1960s surf rock, “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’” includes surf guitar riffs, kicking snare drums and tropical xylophones, which make for a summer-y pop rock tune. In the film, the song plays while the cast of characters does a fun dance routine along to its tune, which is arguably one of the most iconic parts of the movie. Overall, this track is a brilliant mix of old and new sounds and has the listener wanting to dance along with the song’s choreography from the film.
The next song on this list is The Cheetah Girls’ “Amigas Cheetas” from Kenny Ortega’s “The Cheetah Girls 2” (2006). This track is a brilliant mix between Latin music and dance-pop as it incorporates several instruments like bright horns, Latin-style acoustic guitar and poppy drums. Inspired by other girl bands like TLC and Destiny’s Child, The Cheetah Girls show off their vocals through harmonized choruses and verses that uniquely encapsulate each member of the band. In particular, the Spanish verse near the end of the song is one of the more standout parts of the track, which is sung expertly by Marisol Durán (Belinda) and Chunchie (Adrienne Bailon). In all, “Amigas Cheetas” is a fun Latin dance-pop bop that you can blast all summer.
Next is “Gotta Find You” from Matthew Diamond’s iconic film, “Camp Rock,” released in 2008. This slow and soft pop tune is performed by Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, who plays Shane Gray, a spoiled and arrogant singer of the popular fictional band Connect 3. In the film, this track shows his change from being a jerk to an understanding, caring person as he falls in love with the film’s protagonist, Mitchie Torres (Demi Lovato). The instrumentals of this love song showcase this change with its swaying acoustic guitar, simple drums and soft piano melodies. Although it may be a simple love song, “Gotta Find You” is the perfect slow track to listen to on a chill summer afternoon.
To pick up the pace, the next track on this list is another Latin dance-pop tune, “Bop To The Top” from the original “High School Musical” (2006), directed by Kenny Ortega. This track is sung by the eccentric Sharpey Evans (Ashley Tisdale) and her twin brother, Ryan Evans (Lucas Grabeel) as they are in callbacks for their high school’s musical. It’s a fun and groovy tune as it features a lot of horns, funky guitar riffs and Latin-style drums. Moreover, “Bop To The Top” is a grand Latin-pop track that is one of the more overlooked songs on the “High School Musical” soundtrack.
The next song is “Don’t Run Away” from the soundtrack of another underrated DCOM, “Let It Shine” (2012), directed by Paul Hoen. This song is sung by Cyrus Debarge or “Truth,” who is played by Tyler James Williams, best known for his work in TV shows like “Abbott Elementary,” “Everybody Hates Chris” and “The Walking Dead.” This R&B and hip-hop track is reminiscent of other R&B pop artists from the early 2010s like Jason Derulo and Usher. Overall, “Don’t Run Away” is an underrated track from an underrated film that everyone should watch this summer.
Finally, we conclude this list with “One and the Same” from Allison Liddi-Brown’s “Princess Protection Program,” released in 2009. This song is performed by Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez who both star in “Princess Protection Program” as Rosie Gonzalez and Carter Mason, respectively. This song is a killer pop-rock track with chugging electric guitars, drilling drums and rumbling bass lines. The lyrics showcase the growing relationship the characters have in the movie as they sing, “We’re one in the same / We’re anything but ordinary.” It’s a sweet and simple track from an equally sweet and simple film that listeners can rock out to.