Six years ago, the world was introduced to Disney’s “Frozen,” an animated musical that told the story of a magical queen and her sister set in a world of ice. The message of familial love expressed through a killer soundtrack made up what was the highest-grossing animated film in 2014. People couldn’t go anywhere without hearing Idina Menzel’s phenomenal “Let it Go,” and every Halloween night since the film’s 2013 release has been riddled with little girls dressing up as Anna and Elsa.
When “Frozen 2” was announced, the success of the first soundtrack cast a shadow of intrigue over the forthcoming sequel’s accompanying album. Thankfully, the producers of the original “Frozen” soundtrack — Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez and Christophe Beck — returned for the sequel.
The musicians have penned seven new songs for the soundtrack and, as many of the cast members have said, they cannot write a bad song.
The first song in the tracklisting, “All is Found,” is sung by Evan Rachel Wood, the voice of Anna and Elsa’s mother, Queen Iduna. This song is a hushed lullaby a mother could use to sing her child to sleep. Wood’s soft and maternal vocals make a great addition to the musical cast.
One of the most light-hearted songs of the album is “Some Things Never Change,” which is sung by the four main cast members. This song tells of the autumn season beginning and the characters’ growth over the years. With a catchy chorus, upbeat grand piano rhythm and the happy expression of the cast’s voices, it creates a sense of optimism and contentment — light enough to lift anyone’s spirits.
A major criticism from the cast and crew about the original “Frozen” soundtrack is that Jonathan Groff, who plays Kristoff, wasn’t utilized to his full musical potential, as he only sang one short ditty throughout the entire album. Groff now has his time to shine in his solo performance on “Lost in the Woods,” a track which, surprisingly, is styled like an emotional ‘80s power ballad. Groff shines in this song, as he not only provides the main vocals, but also double-tracks his voice in an heralding demonstration of his vocal talent. The catchy song provides a grandiose, orchestral sonic landscape with a booming electric guitar and keyboard, creating a soundscape reminiscent of Elton John and REO Speedwagon’s “I Can’t Fight This Feeling.”
With the sequel set three years after the ending of “Frozen,” it makes sense that the soundtrack takes a more mature tone. While most tunes seem optimistic, some tracks try to tackle more serious subjects, much like Kristen Bell’s “The Next Right Thing.” The song takes the audience to Anna’s emotional dark place. Bell’s tearful voice starts the song, and she continues on to sing about depression and not knowing what to do next. It’s possibly one of the darkest songs in Disney history. However, the song ends on a happy note, with Anna getting up on her feet and singing about the right thing to do — something yet to be revealed in the film.
Menzel made musical history with “Let it Go,” and there was no question to fans as to whether or not she was going to have another hit song in the sequel. Menzel makes off with two fantastic tracks, each one a hit in its own way. When first hearing “Into the Unknown” featuring AURORA, it immediately resembles “Let it Go” in a thematic way with the same meaning of self-empowerment and personal freedom. Both songs are about Elsa longing to be free and getting to know herself and her powers better.
Menzel also has another song called “Show Yourself” featuring Wood. If any person is feeling down about themselves, he or she needs to listen to this song. The song begins with Menzel’s quiet and careful vocals delivering themes of self-empowerment and loving yourself. As the song continues, it builds in urgency with each verse. Wood comes in toward the end of the song, singing parts of her lullaby and encouraging Elsa. She gives the listener a sense Elsa has let everything go, as Elsa is ecstatic, empowered and finally happy.
The album also includes three covers of songs from well-known artists such as “Into the Unknown” by Panic! at the Disco, “Lost in the Woods” by Weezer and “All is Found” by Kacey Musgraves.
All in all, this album is fantastic. It’s definitely more mature of an album compared to the first “Frozen” soundtrack. Even though some songs seem like another version of a song in the precursor — like Josh Gad’s “When I’m Older,” which just sounds like a toned-down “In Summer” — it still feels different because the audience can sense the characters’ growth. The producers have created hits once again and have given the audience an album that is modern, realistic and better than the original.