“Now, back in the ‘60s there was a phenomenon called Beatlemania where fans just about lost their minds every time they even thought about the Fab Four. In the ‘70s, the Jackson 5 was the mania of the moment. The ‘80s was the time for New Kids mania, as New Kids on the Block became the heartthrobs of teens all over the world. And now in the ‘90s, there’s… Partymania? Well… maybe yes, and maybe no.”
- Mark Elliot, Casey Kasem’s American Top 40, 1/26/92
We know that The All-New Mickey Mouse Club boasted a fearsome crop of talent, the abilities of which wouldn’t become clear to the larger public until years after the show’s cancellation. In an incredible four-year span, Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, and JC Chasez all plied their skills on the Disney Channel. There are other names, too. Matt Morris is a producer and songwriter; he’s penned cuts for Aguilera and Timberlake, among others. Rhona Bennett began a five-year stint with En Vogue in 2003. Nikki DeLoach logged time in Innosense, a pop group featuring Spears; in 2009, she married Take 5’s Ryan Goodell. (Take 5 was a boy band formed in Orlando, but such was the consistency involved in branding boy bands that this explanation is redundant. I apologize.)
Yet none of those folks released an album under Disney’s watch. The Party did. Five Mickey Mouse Club members chosen partly for their talent, and partly because they constituted a marketer’s demographic ideal (two girls, three boys; three white kids, one Filipina-American kid, one African-American kid), The Party was Hollywood Records’ first serious bid for chart action. 1990’s The Party (tough to Google, tougher to download—just a heads-up) paired the group with a fearsome slate of producers: Steve Bray, Midge Ure, Jellybean Benitez. A good chunk of the cuts were covers—a Mickey Mouse Club staple was permutations of cast members doing fully chore...