By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Bratz dolls flog merchandise on their Rock Angelz CD sufficient to guarantee every schoolgirl a piece-of-shit toy, a Bratz FM Wireless Microphone, or a Bratz Karaoke Console because "[everybody is] born to be a rock star!" I'm informed by Metal Mike Saunders that they follow in the footsteps of Barbie, who had "two very good albums" in '90 and '98, the first called The Look, with Rachel Sweet singing lead, then Beyond Pink, with "Christie" and "Teresa" doing songs courtesy of Ellen Shipley.
Never saw or heard either CD, but Bratz pop is fair-to-good and a bit more than infrequently spectacular, synthesized in factories where men hunch over guitar and drums, getting a charge out of conducting ringers and masquerading as a kicky band. Close examination indicates that some behind the curtain are from Sweden, and they've produced Rock Angelz as a mix of half-assed '90s Def Leppard plus gleaming Disney Channellike girlie singers, any one of whom could almost be Hope Partlow.
As for songs, they're all uptempo anthems with wooden-as-a-marionette lyrics. Bromides and slogans are mercilessly strung together: It's not about the money, or the clothes you wear; "friends" means "two"; "it's time for you to shine" and reach for your dream while daring to be different. Woo-hoo! The tunes are delivered with the vigor that can only spring from combining arena wee-in-your-panties pop hysteria with over-the-top enthusiasms for shopping. Since the music rocks, the singing Dale Carnegie/Zig Ziglar inspirational lectures smear into a glammy background. Ignore the packaging, or I guarantee a sweaty nightmare inhabited by puppets and dolls with very small noses somewhere in your future.