This isn’t a very popular song to choose from the High School Musical franchise. Most people would quote “All in This Together” or even “Bet On It” before they would think about this song. For me, it was the song that made me cry when I watched it for the first time and it still gets me teared-up when Troy sings that opening line. I am lucky to have grown up on these movies and to have had role models in Gabriella, Kelsey, Taylor and Martha.
The emotion that comes with this song brings together the friendships of Troy and his class-mates, Gabriella and Sharpay and helps gives Ryan an opportunity to shine. Yes, the finale song “All for One” mixes an up-beat rhythm with some glorious dancing, but I can’t help but love the vibe of Kelsey’s piano instrumentation. It is subtle and sweet at the beginning and then hits it home with feelings of teamwork at the end.
There are so many lyrics in this song that encompass positive affirmations for oneself. Lines like “We’re not gonna lose, ’cause we get to choose. That’s how it’s gonna be”, and “There’s more to life when we listen to our hearts. And because of you, I’ve got the strength to start”, boldly express the confidence young teens need to get through the scary parts of their lives. It’s phrases like these that are needed more than ever for teens to grow into self-assured individuals. Teaching teens that their friendships and other relationships are so vital to developing as a human, and in addition, they must look to love for guidance. We require so much love to be happy and we all have the capacity to give it back to others.
With Gabriella’s logic, Taylor’s organizational skills, Kelsey’s musical genius and Martha’s optimism, I have been able to watch these characters problem solve and experience struggle in their lives. It really is different from the female characters that are shown on Disney Channel nowadays. I am speaking about certain characters who all look like supermodels at age 15. The main characters from Liv and Maddie do not strike me as girls who seriously struggle with making friends, and Zendaya’s character in KC Undercover is an example of an over-extraordinary girl. These young girls aren’t normal, and aren’t going through normal problems as teenagers. What happened to issues of bullying, exclusion, artistic silence, or even just having zits?
Another major bonus of growing up in the years that I did is the choreography of Kenny Ortega. He handled The Cheetah Girls, all High School Musical movies, and other iconic movies. The care he took with this song makes me very grateful that he wasn’t lazy with his work. I found this video a few months ago and had a full-on smile-fest watching the cast rehearsing in sweatpants. Kenny truly wanted to create a movie that would influence a complete generation of budding teens and it is clearly displayed that he didn’t take things lightly. If he had put less effort and produced a film with a confusing message or negative themes, it would have changed the way we (as ignorant kids) saw the world. I honestly believe that. It would have been completely different.
As for the future of Disney Channel? Well, I hope that the directors, producers, choreographers and cast know that value of what they are creating. It is super important for the generations to come that kids and teens are influenced in the right way. Proper morals, polite talk with others, and hearts set to love everyone. Everyday.