Disney’s newest film, Frozen, is such a strong film, it would have worked without any musical numbers at all. Fortunately, the soundtrack is as terrific as the film and helps elevate what would have been just a terrific movie into the realm of classic. With Broadway-caliber musical numbers by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the geniuses behind Avenue Q, as well as the Book of Mormon, this is a soundtrack that stands completely on it’s own as a great set of music, independent of the film.
In total, the new CD release contains 10 “songs,” and 12 tracks of the film’s score by Christophe Beck. Of the 10 songs, one is a cover of the film’s most powerful song, “Let it Go,” by Demi Lovato. It’s not terrible, but it’s definitely not better than the track in the film itself. One of the tracks is also a reprise, so that leaves 8 completely original songs.
This collection of songs runs the gamut of styles, whether it be the previously mentioned Let It go, or the hilarious “In Summer,” an ode to the sun as sung by Olaf, a snowman. Some of the songs are just catchy and fun, and others completely emotional. A standout is “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” a devastating song in it’s simplicity, capturing the anguish of two sisters and the emotional rift that has formed between them.
Of course, they aren’t all masterpieces, nor are they meant to be. There is a track called “Reindeer(s) are Better than People,” which is a quick, silly little song that works in the context of the film, but isn’t really a track that deserves much play on it’s own. I also wasn’t crazy about Fixer Upper, as it was a little generic for my tastes.
As mentioned above, “Let It Go” is the big power number of the soundtrack, and the one that is destined for the Oscars. It comes at an incredibly powerful moment in the film, and as performed by Idina Menzel, perfectly encapsulates the magnitude of what is happening. It’s beautiful, epic, propulsive, and one of the best things the Lopez’s have written.
Listen to the full song “Let It Go” Now, click the Play button below.
Rounding out the actual songs are the captivating opening, “Frozen Heart,” and the Broadway style numbers “For the First Time in Forever” and “Love is an Open Door.” These last two are probably the catchiest of the set, and seem like the type of songs that would have appeared in the Disney classics from the 90’s. This is very much a throwback film to those earlier styles of Disney storytelling, and the soundtrack follows that concept perfectly.
As for Beck’s score, he more than lives up to the work of the Lopez’s. Both adapting their songs into his work as well as coming up with some of his own themes, there are several tracks that are fun to listen to isolated from the film. He also does some beautiful work incorporating a sort of rhythmic chanting that captures the majesty and power of the film. It’s strong work from a strong composer.
Overall, there is a lot of variety in this set, and it’s a soundtrack definitely worth owning. Everything about this film is amongst the strongest work Disney has done in years, and that includes the music. With incredible voice-work from Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel and others, this is a soundtrack that kids will be able to instantly identify years from now. Much like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, etc., these songs are destined to be timeless in such a way that they become part of the pop culture musical lexicon. It’s a great soundtrack and I can’t recommend it enough.