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'Frozen' soundtrack is a great collaboration of talent

Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 23:12

With “Frozen,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the married songwriting team behind the Tony Award-Winning Broadway Musical “The Book of Mormon,” have provided Disney with the best set of songs featured in one of their animated features since “The Lion King.”

The record opens with “Frozen Heart,” a shanty of sorts sung by a group of ice sellers. Highly reminiscent of “Fathoms Below” from “The Little Mermaid,” the song sets an epic tone for the remainder of the album.

“Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?” and “For The First Time In Forever” are both fantastic numbers performed by former “Veronica Mars” star Kristen Bell. Bell’s singing voice is fantastic and her performance particularly in “For the First Time In Forever” has a distinct uniqueness to it compared to any similar styled Disney song in recent memory.

One song, “Love is an Open Door,” a duet between Bell and Santino Fontana, isn’t exactly poor but its modern style feels distinctly out of place with the more traditional Broadway-style numbers that constitute the rest of the song list.

The highlight of the album is “Let it Go,” a powerful number belted out by Tony-winning performer Idina Menzel. The track has a grand feel to it from the start and after about two-thirds in a brilliant change in the accompanying orchestration lifts the number to even greater heights. This one is destined to go down as a Disney classic.

Menzel also gives a great performance in a duet with Bell on the reprise of “For the First Time in Forever”.

Demi Lovato also has a cover of “Let it Go” on the album, but it’s a forgettable number that pales in comparison to Menzel’s jaw dropping version.

Songs such as the ensemble track “Fixer Upper,” Jonathan Grof’s “Reindeer (s) Are Better Than People,” and Josh Gad’s “In Summer” are all a series of catchy, charming and humorous tunes than should provide a lot of laughs and help break the tension some of the album’s more dramatic fare.

Of course, what’s a great series of songs without a great orchestral score to match?
Composer Christopher Beck follows up on his brilliant work in Disney’s Oscar Winning Short “Paperman” with an astounding effort here in “Frozen.” Beck’s score is not only perhaps one of the finest of the “Buffy” composer’s career, one of the best film scores of the year, and the best to feature in an animated Disney film since Jerry Goldsmith’s efforts in 1998’s “Mulan.”

The score, which features clear German and Nordic influence, sounds great whether your listening to a more dramatic piece or a calmer medley. The true highlight of Beck’s score lays in the composer’s utilization of the vocals of a complete chorus as seen in tracks such as “Vuelie” and “Heimr Arnadlr.” Absolutely beautiful pieces, they are undoubtably the high point of the score.

Also of note: those who purchase the Deluxe edition of the soundtrack will be treated to almost two dozen tracks featuring demo versions of songs featured in the film as well as songs that were written but ultimately cut, such as the excellent “Life’s Too Short” and it’s reprise.

The soundtrack to “Frozen” is nothing less than an absolute triumph, one which I have no doubts will at least go platinum. Songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, as well as composer Christopher Beck, with the help of strong vocal performances by an ensemble led by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzelhave, crafted a musical album for the ages.

 10/10

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