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
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.