High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (Music from the Disney+ Original Series)
Don’t be mistaken by its title—the soundtrack for the first season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is not a mere cover album. Think of it more as a fresh new spin on the wildly popular musical movie trilogy that soundtracked the lives of children and teens in the late 2000s. When it first aired in 2019 on Disney+, HSMTMTS reimagined how a high school theater club could be portrayed on television: not as a gaggle of adult-looking teenagers with soap-opera-level problems, but as a collection of young friends from all corners of the status quo, dealing with big emotions the only way they know how—through song. Featuring several original songs, two of which were written by the show’s cast, HSMTMTS put its stars front and center, with numbers that build on the original movie’s upbeat, poppy sensibilities. There’s the showstopping “Born to Be Brave,” a synth-pop successor to “We’re All in This Together,” and the coy, heart-skipping love song “I Think I Kinda, You Know,” led by leads Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett—each gets their own rendition of the song here, along with a mash-up that highlights their musical chemistry. Rodrigo takes center stage with her soaring, self-written piano ballad “All I Want,” the song that directly led her to a record deal and to the release of another, perhaps better-known, heart-wrenching song. HSM purists need not worry: There are plenty of covers on this soundtrack to please every fan. But if you’re looking for something new, you’re bound to find it in these reinvigorated classics. In a hilarious rendition of “What I’ve Been Looking For,” Rodrigo and Matt Cornett play a recently broken-up couple forced to sing this cheery romance with each other. And in “Stick to the Status Quo (Performance),” Joe Serafini plays a male Sharpay with the pipes of a diva. It’s a reflection of how much has evolved since the original movie’s air date in 2006, though its ethos hasn’t changed one bit—HSMTMTS’ heart is fully in the song.