Lavigne, Hoppus explore "Wonderland"

Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:48pm EST

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NEW YORK (Billboard) - Three days before Tim Burton's 3-D reimagining of "Alice in Wonderland" with Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway hits U.S. theaters, Buena Vista Records will release an "inspired by" album that offers its own share of star power.

"Almost Alice," set for release Tuesday (March 2), features original songs from pop and rock acts including 3OH!3, the All-American Rejects and Franz Ferdinand and a marketing campaign that highlights their broad appeal.

Avril Lavigne's new track, "Alice," has sold 45,000 copies in four weeks of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and will play over the film's end credits. The artist signed on to the project because of the film's unique charm. "I've always liked the story," she said, "and it was exciting to see Tim Burton put his cool twist on it."

When Buena Vista reached out to other artists to contribute tracks for the album late last year, the label encountered similarly enthusiastic responses from self-professed fans of Burton's work. The project came together as a radio-friendly addendum to Danny Elfman's original score to the film, which will be released Tuesday on Walt Disney Records.

The 16 tracks on "Almost Alice" include cuts by Metro Station, Kerli, Shinedown, Motion City Soundtrack and the Cure's Robert Smith, who offers a lively take on "Very Good Advice," the only song from Disney's 1951 animated version to be featured on the soundtrack. Blink-182's Mark Hoppus, who collaborated with Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz on "In Transit," said the strong lineup will encourage listeners to explore the full record.

"There will be people who will pick and choose certain songs to download," Hoppus said, "but this album will be something people are going to want to have as a whole."

MULTIPLE GENRES

Given the track list's diversity, the label has promoted the album to four radio formats -- pop, hot adult contemporary, alternative and rock -- with different songs attracting buzz from separate demographics. "Follow Me Down" by 3OH!3 featuring Neon Hitch, for example, debuted this week at No. 89 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 21 on Radio Disney's most-requested songs list, while alternative KYSR-FM Los Angeles has been receiving requests for "In Transit."

After Lavigne's "Alice" premiered on the "On Air With Ryan Seacrest" radio program in late January, Buena Vista began streaming songs from "Almost Alice" online in a partnership with MySpace Music. On February 19, 3OH!3 and Metro Station performed live at a fan event at L.A.'s Hollywood & Highland, which also had a costume contest and a cast appearance. In addition to two bonus tracks available through iTunes, an exclusive version of "Almost Alice" featuring three bonus tracks will be available through fashion retailer Hot Topic beginning Tuesday.

Buena Vista will boost promotion of "Almost Alice" during its week of release. Lavigne will perform "Alice" March 3 on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," while advertisements for the album will run before screenings of "Alice in Wonderland."

For Lavigne, contributing to "Almost Alice" was the perfect platform to lead up to her "somewhat more raw" fourth album, which is slated for a June release. "It was a cool way for me to get out there again," she said. "This was such an amazing project for me to be a part of that I never could have turned it down."

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