|Recording information: Atlantic Sound Studio; Black Sheep Music, Chicago, IL; Saltlands Studio, Dumbo, NY; Spanish Castle Magic Studios; STratosphere Sound, New York, NY; Valencia Recording, Baltimore, MD; Westlake Recording Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Zenseven Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
|As part of the marketing campaign for the Tim Burton-directed Alice, the Walt Disney Company commissioned this various-artists album, which might as well be called "Songs from, Inspired by, or Related to Alice," but is instead dubbed Almost Alice. The idea was to have a collection of pop/rock performers come up with material having something to do with Alice in Wonderland, including, as the lead-off track, Avril Lavigne's "Alice," which actually plays under the end credits of the movie. Lavigne's song is a typical piece of self-assertive adolescent pop/rock, with its tag line "Don't you try to stop me," just the sort of thing to be chanted by a pre-adolescent who doesn't want to go to bed. Like many other tracks here, it seems ideally suited for heavy rotation on Radio Disney. The songs tend to have sledgehammer hooks as simple as schoolyard chants, all the better to be bellowed from the backseats of mini-vans across America. There are a few oddities, however. The Cure's Robert Smith, one of several singers moonlighting from his group (there's also a duet by Mark Hoppus of blink-182 and Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy), turns in a cover of the Sammy Fain/Bob Hilliard song "Very Good Advice" from the 1951 Disney animated film Alice in Wonderland, and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals perform a version of "White Rabbit" close to Jefferson Airplane's 1967 original. Back in the day, that song was castigated for its supposed drug references; more than 40 years on, it's probably included to give grandparents a reason to smile. ~ William Ruhlmann