It’s impossible to deny the pop culture impact of Hannah Montana. What began as a Disney Channel show about a young girl hiding her identity as a famous pop star soon transformed the fictional character of Hannah Montana and actress Miley Cyrus into bona fide pop stars in their own rights.
The series was a hit for Disney, but it was the soundtracks and original songs that really took off. Over the span of four seasons and a movie, Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana consistently put out one glitter-covered teen pop track after another, crystallizing an early era of successful Disney Channel original music alongside High School Musical and The Cheetah Girls.
Cyrus famously went on to shed her blonde wig and evolve into a mega star who isn’t particularly fond of her past persona, though many fans still are. In honor of the 11th anniversary of Hannah Montana‘s debut on Friday, let’s pay tribute with a ranking of the fictitious pop star’s best tracks.
A brief note before we begin: this ranking includes only songs attributed to Hannah Montana, not Cyrus. This means certain songs from Hannah Montana: The Movie are ineligible for this list, such as “The Climb,” “Hoedown Throwdown,” and “Butterfly Fly Away,” as they are attributed to Cyrus. The same goes for all songs from the Meet Miley Cyrus disc on the two-disc collection Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus — these include “See You Again” and “Start All Over,” among others.
45. “Que Sera”
That’s right — Hannah Montana recorded an updated version of the popular standard “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” first made popular by Doris Day in the ’50s. As you might expect, Montana’s bubbly and upbeat version with new lyrics including “Delete me from your friends” is one of the lowest points for Hannah Montana.
44. “Just A Girl”
Aside from that fun little vocal flourish on the word “illusion,” this slow-but-not-really-ballad-slow song from the end of Hannah Montana offers little. Focusing on the topic of most Hannah Montana songs, the singer comments on the pressures fame puts on being an ordinary girl. Leave the “Just A Girl” songs to No Doubt, Hannah.
43. “You And Me Together”
On the series Hannah Montana, Cyrus actually performs this song with Brooke Shields, who plays the mother of her character, Miley Stewart. That’s probably the only memorable thing about this fluff track. A fun, uptempo beat can’t make up for the basic chorus and repetitive lyrics.
42. “Bigger Than Us”
Of all of Hannah Montana’s singles, “Bigger Than Us” was the most disappointing. While it does escalate to a big ending, most of the song moves along at an unchanging, unsurprising pace with an unimpressive chorus. Overall, underwhelming.
41. “I Wanna Know You”
Sorry David Archuleta fans; while this duet was nice, it was far from Hannah Montana’s best song. The song is sweet and bouncy, and the pair hit some nice harmonies, but the squeaky-clean blend of American Idol anti-bad boy and still tamed, Disney-ified Miley Cyrus imbues the track with a saccharine quality that feels like it was made to be in a commercial for unicorn gummy bears.
40. “True Friend”
Speaking of way-too-sweet diddies, none can top Hannah Montana’s ode to BFF-dom “True Friend.” For the same reasons as “I Wanna Know You,” this song that sounds like something Lisa Frank designed winds up toward the bottom of the list for pure syrupy sweetness.
39. “Are You Ready”
For the most part, the songs from Hannah Montana‘s fourth and final season are not the ones fans seem to remember, coming off as more overproduced than some of her earlier hits. That is most evident in “Are You Ready,” a frenetic song about hitting the club in which Montana repeats the title at a stress-inducing pace over a noisy background.
38. “What’s Not to Like”
In a rare exuberant song about the joys of fame and fortune without an undercut about also trying to be “a real, normal girl,” Hannah Montana throws her attempts at relatability to the wayside in favor of listing all the perks she gets as a pop star. Like most of her later songs, “What’s Not To Like” is clearly well-produced, and features the young singer belting a more interesting, syncopated rock-inspired chorus. But for all those improvements, the B-side from Hannah Montana: The Movie still lacks memorability. It’s a fun song, but not one that fan will necessarily replay.
37. “This Is The Life”
A memorable early Hannah jam, but definitely not one of her greatest hits, “This Is The Life” proved Cyrus could hold a note with its drawn-out chorus. While the verses exude the fun, pop-rock of classic Montana, the cornerstone of the song is the long notes that fill its chorus, which feel a bit out of place with the rest of the track.
36. “Wherever I Go”
One of Hannah’s goodbye ballads that take up a good chunk of her final soundtrack, “Wherever I Go” is a sweet duet with her Hannah Montana co-star Emily Osment. Like the next song on this list, it’s a nice tune, but feels more obligatory than anything else.
35. “I’ll Always Remember You”
As Hannah’s goodbye song to her series, and Miley’s goodbye song to Hannah, “I’ll Always Remember You” is a step in the rise and fall of Hannah Montana, but viewed in a vacuum it’s just another mid-tempo ballad.
34. “Make Some Noise”
Hannah’s take on an inspirational power ballad (with a pretty misleading title) feels more gratuitous than heartfelt, but the vocals are on-point and the lyrics are sure to resonate with much of the Hannah Montana demographic.
33. “I’m Still Good”
In Hannah Montana’s final dying cry, she tries to assure her fans that she’s “still good.” The season 4 song feels like the moment Cyrus was finally done with pretending to enjoy her Hannah Montana persona, at least in the lackluster music video in which Hannah’s lifeless performance is interspersed with messages from family members of troops. The song itself is fine, if uninspired.
32. “Ordinary Girl”
Did you think Hannah Montana would stop singing about her double life after four seasons of songs about the topic? Nope! “Ordinary Girl” was one of the signs Cyrus was evolving into her own artist and would probably be leaving the blonde wig behind. It was a rare Hannah Montana song with its own proper music video rather than just a filmed concert, although it comes off as more of an advertisement for a camera.
31. “Love That Lets Go”
While the more effective and beautiful Billy Ray Cyrus duet “Butterfly Fly Away” is ineligible for this ranking as a Cyrus song, Hannah Montana does get a duet with her father in “Love That Lets Go.” The ballad indulges in its own sentimentality to a fault at points, but remains a touching duet with nice harmonies.
30. “The Good Life”
In the same vein as “What’s Not To Like,” here Montana again lists the glamorous itinerary of her life as a pop star over a driving guitar riff. The more pop sensibilities of “The Good Life” suit Cyrus better than the similar “What’s Not To Like,” actually making the latter sound a bit sluggish in comparison.
29. “Don’t Wanna Be Torn”
Thus begins a quartet of Hannah Montana’s power ballads in which a young Cyrus swims as far into the genre of country as her blonde wig allows. In “Don’t Wanna Be Torn,” Hannah croons about a split decision, used on the show to illustrate the choice between two potential boyfriends.
28. “Every Part Of Me”
A more introspective song, “Every Part Of Me” improves on “Don’t Wanna Be Torn” with a more complex chorus that better features Cyrus’ vocals and a more traditionally country progression, adding some welcome variety to the Hannah Montana discography.
27. “Need a Little Love”
Sheryl Crow joins Hannah Montana on “Need a Little Love” to deliver one of the young singer’s best country-inspired performances. The sweet diddy shows of Miley Cyrus’ country chops, but is far from the most memorable, exciting, or touching Hannah Montana track.
26. “Mixed Up”
As the girls waving glowsticks in the “Mixed Up” music video well know, this is the best of the Hannah Montana pop-country power ballad collection, although perhaps the least country. The chorus is the strongest, with nice vocal riffs from Cyrus in the verses, and the bridge effectively builds to a solid ending.
25. “Gonna Get This”
One of the better singles off the soundtrack to Hannah Montana‘s final season, and one of her more successful collaborations, Hannah teams up with Iyaz (remember when that song “Replay” was big?) for an upbeat dance pop song with some reggae influence. It’s light and bouncy, but still far from Hannah’s best.
24. “Kiss It Goodbye”
“Kiss It Goodbye” is a clear standout in the final moments of Hannah Montana. It’s one of the singer’s most rock-inspired tracks, as she screams the song title over synths, guitar, and backing vocals. It feels like a song stuck between Hannah and Miley, as it was released after Cyrus’ pop rock solo debut, Breakout.
23. “Just Like You”
Another Hannah Montana classic single about juggling fame and being a normal girl, “Just Like You” is pretty much quintessential Hannah Montana in its purest form, with nothing added.
22. “Barefoot Cinderella”
Although “Barefoot Cinderella” is a late Hannah Montana song, its effortlessly catchy pop elements feel more like early Hannah. It’s not exactly a standout in the Hannah Montana discography, but it is a breath of fresh air in the final season soundtrack, which focuses largely on overproduced dance songs and syrupy ballads.
“Spotlight” is one of Hannah Montana’s more well-crafted, lesser-known pop songs. Montana sings about feeling at home on stage because “life’s a show.” While the track might be a frivolous bit of fun, Hannah experiments with some more unique and interesting musical aspects, such as a two-part chorus and shout-and-response bridge.
20. “Ice Cream Freeze (Let’s Chill)”
While the much better line-dancing tutorial song “Hoedown Throwdown” is ineligible for this list, in its stead, we have “Ice Cream Freeze (Let’s Chill),” which is still a fun take on the line-dancing genre in its own right. Released in 2009, at a time when Soulja Boy was making songs with their own dance moves cool again, Montana’s homage to frozen treats manages to hold its own.
19. “Been Here All Along”
In a rare emotional song for Hannah Montana, the singer pays tribute to troops serving overseas and their family members in “Been Here All Along.” Taking on a more mature and personal topic, the song sounded less like the Hannah Montana from that Disney Channel show and more like a serious artist.
18. “It’s All Right Here”
One of the uptempo highlights of Hannah Montana’s later years, “It’s All Right Here” typifies the bombastic, high-energy pop songs of Hannah on the cusp of becoming Miley. The belting vocals and driving guitar are nothing new for Hannah, but the unexpected slowed-down groove of the bridge adds a creative twist.
17. “Old Blue Jeans”
One of Hannah’s earliest steps away from her usual sound. In place of the straight pop or minor rock influences she adhered to at the beginning of her career, “Old Blue Jeans” used synths and percussion in a more funk-influenced sound. It’s a nice change from the expected, and was an early sign that Cyrus could sing a catchy song without relying on a powerful chorus.
Hannah autotunes her voice in the verses and boasts about how she’s “super cool” and “super hot” in a speedy chorus. It also follows in the tradition of mid-2000s pop songs named “Supergirl,” including a Hilary Duff track and that great one from the Princess Diaries soundtrack.
15. “Pumpin’ Up the Party”
The chorus may not have much in the way of lyrics, but “Pumpin’ Up the Party” was an early sign of Hannah Montana’s musical variety. Still heavily rooted in teen pop, the song also displays influence in funk and groove, similar to the later “Old Blue Jeans.” The verses are the real standout.
14. “One In A Million”
“One In A Million” is one of Hannah Montana’s most successful romantic ballads, and for good reason. Originally by German singer Sandy Mölling, Montana’s cover did the song justice with low register verses and an emotional chorus about finding the right guy. Okay… well, as emotional as a Hannah Montana song can be.
13. “Who Said”
A definite highlight from the first season of Hannah Montana, “Who Said” was one of the rare original songs not about Hannah’s double life. Instead, the girl power anthem features Hannah listing all the things she can be, including Superman, 10 feet tall, and president. The structure may be repetitive, but it doesn’t detract from the fun of the song.
12. “Life’s What You Make It”
Another popular Hannah Montana single, “Life’s What You Make It” became the predominant song from Hannah Montana‘s second season. It gets points for being a fun and memorable part of the Hannah Montana experience.
11. “Let’s Get Crazy”
The first song to be released from Hannah Montana: The Movie and the show’s third season, “Let’s Get Crazy” ushered in a new, more polished sound for Hannah Montana. This higher production value, dance-focused pop track came to be the standard of her later years, and “Let’s Get Crazy” best exemplifies this evolution.
10. “If We Were A Movie”
Hannah proves she knows all about cinematic tropes in her ode to rom-coms “If We Were A Movie.” It’s cheesy bubblegum pop in the best way.
9. “He Could Be The One”
Hannah’s bouncy song about choosing between two potential boyfriends became her most successful single on the music charts, peaking at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song veers toward country pop, a comfortable genre for Montana, and critics have likened it to a Shania Twain sound. “He Could Be The One” is one of Hannah’s highest points during the later half of her career.
8. “Rock Star”
“Rock Star” is another song that plays on the Hannah Montana double identity, and is easily one of the best. Setting aside what a stretch Hannah Montana calling herself a rock star is, the uptempo, explosive track features guitars more heavily than any other Hannah song, even including its own guitar solo. The result is an unwavering burst of energy.
7. “You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home”
“You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home” serves as the finale of Hannah Montana: The Movie, and the most memorable song to come from the film (after Cyrus’ hit “The Climb,” which is ineligible for this list). The Taylor Swift-penned country pop song might have been the most Top 40-ready Hannah Montana has ever sounded. Fast, fun, and catchy, “You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home” is the crowning achievement of Hannah Montana’s later years.
6. “I Got Nerve”
“I Got Nerve” gave listeners an early idea that Hannah could handle a bit of rock influence as well as bubblegum pop. Hannah’s declaration of unapologetic self-confidence was a clear standout of her first season soundtrack, as she strongly punctuates her chorus over exciting percussion.
5. “The Other Side Of Me”
The other major standout from Hannah Montana‘s first season soundtrack is “The Other Side Of Me,” another song bluntly stating the double life premise of her show. For one of her early songs, “The Other Side Of Me” is notable for utilizing more vocal layering than most, as she echoes the chorus back at herself and coos under the verses.
4. “Let’s Do This”
Most people love Hannah Montana for her early pop songs, but never has she come closer to a top 40 country pop sound than in “Let’s Do This.”
3. “The Best Of Both Worlds”
You knew this one was coming. The song that introduced Hannah Montana to the world is also without a doubt her most memorable hit. Nostalgia and Orlando Bloom references aside, the fun song expressly states the concept of the Hannah Montana character in a well-written pop rock song.
2. “We Got The Party”
Hannah was always at her best when she was doing her signature upbeat pop rock, and that’s never more evident than her party starter “We Got The Party.” Throw in the Jonas Brothers, and you’ve got the hypest collabo of 2007 for the Disney Channel crowd. With driving guitar, rock-inspired vocals, and a bit more lyrical complexity than is usual for Hannah, “We Got The Party” is one of the few Montana tracks that holds up for its musicality rather than relying on pure nostalgia.
1. “Nobody’s Perfect”
From production to vocals to composition, “Nobody’s Perfect” remains untouched as Hannah Montana’s best song. The self-acceptance anthem begins with a light, twinkling piano before Hannah counts down the eruptive synths. It explodes into a screamy chorus that’s infectious. It’s loud, fun, and a little corny, but pure pop excellence — Hannah Montana at her very best.
24 March 2017 | 3:03 pm