I was a Bratz fanatic back in the day. Yasmin, Cloe, Sasha and Jade impacted my fashion sense more than I’d like to admit — I’m looking at you, leopard print shirt and leather shorts. They also impacted my music taste. If you don’t know what I’m getting at, let me introduce you to the Bratz: Forever Diamondz CD — the soundtrack to the iconic film of the same name, released in 2006. Written by Matthew Gerrard, mastermind behind various Hannah Montana songs, and sung by tragically nameless vocalists, it’s an essential snapshot of 2000s childhood culture. Without further ado, here’s a track-by-track review of the most memorable record by the controversially proportioned, yet laudably diverse “girls with a passion for fashionTM.”
1. Ooooh Fashion
If “Ooooh Fashion” sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a cover of “Fashion” by David Bowie. That’s right — the Bratz were doing good work, “[letting] all the children boogie” to the words of the Starman himself. They’ve changed some of the lyrics, so you don’t get to hear them singing “We are the goon squad, and we’re coming to town (beep beep),” but the force of the guitars and percussion makes up for that (seriously, this isn’t bad).
2. Wazz Up
“Wazz Up” has the same energy as “Rich Girl” by Gwen Stefani ft. Eve, so if you’re a fan of “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.,” turn this one all the way up. It’s notable for the lyric “Twist your body like a tarantella,” alluding to the “rapid whirling dance originating in southern Italy.” Once I read a book, and a character mentioned the tarantella, and I already knew what it was because of this song. This song probably helped me get into Yale.
3. Keep It Up
No wonder this one was written by our boy Matthew — it has a remarkably solid verse/pre-chorus/chorus/bridge structure. The refrain “Don’t you ever hold back / ’Cause you can never turn back time” has a vaguely menacing sci-fi feel, so it’s ideal background music for your young adult dystopian reading.
4. What’s Goin’ On?
Here’s the chorus of this song: “So mister, turn the radio on / All you girls wanna hang up your phones / And get on down to this / Before it’s come and gone / From TV shows to the radio, / What’s goin’ on?”
Somehow, my young brain conflated my love for the Bratz with my love for the American Girls, and I thought these lyrics were about World War II. (If you would like to propose an alternate theory, please email me at email@example.com.)
5. Best Friends
Long before 2010 sensations DJ Khaled, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross, and T-Pain encouraged us to “put [our] hands in the air” on “All I Do Is Win,” the Bratz Pack was urging us to “Put up a hand for [our] best friends.” The lyrics “Anything you go through, call us up and share … / Any burden that you carry will be ours to bear” actually send a heartwarming message about sacrificial love; take that, Bush-era parents who dissed the noseless Bratz for not being nose-positive role models, and stuff.
6. My Attitude
To be honest, I forgot about this one. M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls” came up on shuffle when I started writing this blurb, and I’m sure you could listen to that and have a similar, yet more enjoyable experience. Still, this track gets brownie points for the lyric “I’m an untraditional girl.” Who says having a passion for fashion automatically makes you banal?
7. Express Yourself
Okay, I’m turning off M.I.A. to put this bop on. It could’ve been the anthem of our generation, but we didn’t acknowledge it, nor deserve it. Again, props to Bratz for releasing music with such a healthy message — and making it so catchy. Food for thought: “Wazz Up”: ”Rich Girl” :: “Express Yourself”: “Hollaback Girl”?
8. You’ve Got It
This one isn’t great, but the lyrics are fun, I guess. “You’ve got it (Hey!) / The way that you sparkle, the way that you shine.” Send it to your best friend, or your lover, or that person you confessed your love to a week after Spring Fling.
9. Just Having Some Fun
Let’s be real; this is annoying. You can play it at your Woads pregame, but I probably won’t.
10. Let Go
This is next to “Hang On” on the tracklist. I always wondered whether that was intentional.
11. Hang On
This is next to “Let Go” on the tracklist. I always wondered whether that was intentional.
12. Forever Diamondz
Oh, buddy — what a title track. With a chorus like “Bratz: Forever Diamondz / Shining like diamonds / Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh (oh, whoa, whoa),” you know this one’s chaotic. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a Bratz: Forever Diamondz character alignment chart.)
13. Beautiful (Christina Aguilera Cover)
“DON’TLOOKATME.” The second you hear that incriminating whisper, you know how this is going to sound. It’s far better than the Kidz Bop cover of this song, but it’s still a cover of “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera.
14. Que Tal
SOME REDEMPTION FOR OUR ENDING. Recall the glory of “Wazz Up”; then imagine it translated into Spanish, and you’ve got this banger. Note that this isn’t the Bratz’ first foray into bilingualism — a year earlier, they released both English and Spanish versions of a track on their “Rock Angelz” album. To a young Latina girl projecting onto the ambiguously brown Yasmin (read : me), that meant a lot. The rap verse is especially sick; “La fiesta va a empezar,” indeed.
Absurd? Yes. Amazing? Absolutely. Next time you see me walking around campus with headphones, ask me what I’m listening to; it just might be this gem of a record (pun intended).
Brittany Menjivar | email@example.com .