Most of High School Musical's biggest fans knew that it would happen eventually. After the Disney Channel movie became the definitive teen craze of the year, to include its multi-platinum soundtrack and sold-out tour, the individual members got opportunities to claim the spotlight. Several of the solo songs debuted during the tour, so it was just a matter of time before the solo albums followed. Vanessa Hudgens struck first with her debut album, V, and Ashley Tisdale followed with Headstrong. Now it's Corbin Bleu's turn with Another Side. Yet he was the first to follow-up up with a Disney Channel Movie, Jump In, earlier this year.
The interesting thing about Bleu is that Chad, his HSM character, is not a far cry from his own personality. So while Another Side does in fact show more of his talents, it's fairly consistent with the heartthrob persona that his fans have come to know and love. He's charismatic, trouble-free, athletic and fun loving, on every song.
"Push It to the Limit" and "Marchin'" were both songs that he performed live during the High School Musical concert. The former was the catchy, up-tempo lead single for the Jump In soundtrack, where Bleu simulates sparring and training like a boxer (his role in Jump In) during the video and concert performance. The latter follows a similar route, bringing in a marching band as the background that he leads both metaphorically and literally. The lead single "Deal With It" and "Stop," which open the album, are the hottest tracks and have high hit potential. "We Come to Party" is similarly fun and funky, and he has a duet with HSM co-star Hudgens on "Still There for Me."
Bleu said in interview on the bonus DVD that he was happy about the creative input he had in making the album, most likely referring to the songs he co-wrote. He raps with presence and poise on "Mixed Up," another drumline track. He also had a hand in "Never Met A Girl Like You" and "Homework."
Much more so than he ever showed on High School Musical, Corbin Bleu has the ability to inhabit and thrive within a pop song. He is undoubtedly comfortable singing and dancing on stage and on camera, but he also understands how to put out a good record. Another Side serves notice that Bleu really has what it takes to make it as a singer, actor, and all around performer.
By Aaron Ellis