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November 2011
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Footloose: Sizing up Soundtracks

Every generation has a couple of soundtracks that embodies the spirit of the times. Going fifty years in the time machine, the ‘60s had The Graduate and Hard Days Night, the ‘70s had Grease and Saturday Night Fever, and the ‘80s had Purple Rain and Footloose. Ah, Footloose. It’s time to kick off our Sunday shoes and take a look at this remake.

Just like the original Footloose film, the remake carefully threads the soundtrack’s songs deep into the fabric of the story. However, the soundtrack offers a fresh approach to many of the classic songs found on the original.

In the spirit of comparing apples to apples, following is a review of the songs that appear on both soundtracks. Time to find out if these remakes are Almost Paradise or if they’ll leave us holding out for a hero to save us from rehashed songs.


Song: Holding Out for a Hero

Original Artist: Bonnie Tyler

2011 Artist: Ella Mae Bowen

It’s hard to imagine that anyone could top Bonnie Tyler’s raspy version of Holding Out for a Hero, but that’s exactly what 15 year-old country artist Ella Mae Bowen managed to do. Bowen’s interpretation of the song is a soulful rendition that’s drenched in pain and hope well beyond her years. The Winner: Footloose 2011 soundtrack


Song: Let’s Hear it for the Boy

Original Artist: Deniece Williams

2011 Artist: Jana Kramer

Jana Kramer’s twangy version of Let’s Hear it for the Boy simply can’t touch Deniece William’s dance tune. While the song did have me cheering for Willard in the movie, compared to William’s version, it doesn’t stack up. William’s original version of the song hit Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for good reason – it’s a catchy, foot-tapping dance tune that has just enough R&B to make you cheer for her loving one-man show. The Winner: Footloose 1984 soundtrack


Song: Almost Paradise

Original Artist:   Mike Reno and Ann Wilson

2011 Artist:       Victoria Justice and Hunter Hayes

Victoria Justice and Hunter Hayes’ version of this iconic ‘80s prom ballad just doesn’t have the same chemistry as Mike Reno and Ann Wilson’s original hit. It’s almost an unfair comparison. Ann Wilson’s powerful voice has a beautiful tone that was made for swelling power ballads; Justice simply can’t compete. The original song completely eclipses the new version’s subdued vibe. The Winner: Footloose 1984 soundtrack


Song: Footloose

Original Artist:   Kenny Loggins

2011 Artist:       Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton’s version not only pays homage to the original song by keeping a lot of the familiar rifts and beats that we like so much, but he someone manages to make the song sound fresh. His country tone had me worried at first, but as the song progressed, it grew on me. By the end of the song, I was ready to cut loose. The Winner: It’s a tie. Both songs have you singing along, eager to get up and start dancing.


The Bottom Line

While both soundtracks are successful in capturing the spirit of the film, the 2011 soundtrack doesn’t quite live up to the original.

About Kristal Bailey

With a soft spot for movies that fall into the “So Bad They’re Good” category, Kristal Bailey regularly watches B-movies, 80s comedies, and sci-fi from the 50s and 60s. She also refuses to grow up if that means she has to hide her love for Disney and Pixar films. In her free time, she enjoys reading graphic novels or books that are soon to be turned into movies, watching hours and hours of television, and spending way too much time on Twitter.