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on January 30, 2014
Disc 1 is the base soundtrack, which is great. I'd likely rate Disc 1 alone 5/5.

I want to talk about Disc 2 or the "Deluxe Edition" extras. I think the thing that bugs me most about Disc 2 is the talking before a lot of the tracks. They give you a brief introduction to the track telling you why it was not used in the film or why it was created originally. These are interesting for the first listen through but after that really ruin the music listening experience.

A soundtrack should contain music. If you're going to put in audio commentary the very least you could do is put them in a separate track so they can be trivially deleted. Unfortunately in this case they're integrated into the track so to extract them you'd have to manually go through and delete the first 10 or more seconds.

There are about 7 "outtakes' on Disc 2 all of which have talking. It is a darn shame too because some of those 7 tracks would have been quite good without the commentary. Some of the demo tracks and Instrumental Karaoke are decent however and lack the talking...

I'm not sure if I'd "recommend" the Deluxe Edition or not. There really are a couple of great tracks on Disc 2. I actually prefer the "Demo" track of "Love Is an Open Door" (track #2 Disc 2) to the full one found on Disc 1, it has a much more "chill" tone which works really well for such a cute song.
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VINE VOICEon February 20, 2014
To try and analyze the legacy of Disney is a difficult one. Walt’s legacy has grown into the biggest conglomerate in the world that reaches into all aspects of our lives from films, TV, music, toys and theme parks. Disney is part of life, but it’s the stories that built the legacy. From the golden age of Disney that led to a small decline in quality, and then a resurgance that we saw with The Little Mermaid that lasted into the mid to late 90’s. Then Disney took steps backwards once again completely losing its identity and surely losing touch with what Walt established. Movies like Home On The Range, Meet The Robinsons, Chicken Little, Atlantis and others seemed to lack whatever made Disney what it was. This of course doesn't include Pixar. I do think Disney Animation is on the uptick. Tangled was wonderful and now Frozen takes Disney forward by taking two steps back to the times of Disney greatness. Frozen is indeed a magical Disney classic. It’s a loose adaptation on a beloved tale that is cemented with gorgeous animation, loveable characters and unforgettable music. Christophe Beck surprises with a simply wonderful score, and the wife/husnand duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez provide us with songs that would make the Sherman brothers and Alan Menken proud.

Frozen is a story that really boils down to the relationship between two sisters, and it’s that relationship that carries the story. The adventure along the way provides composer Christophe Beck with tons of great opportunities. Beck scored the Oscar winning short Paperman for Disney, and his impressive work there got him the feature gig here. He does not dissapoint. The Norweigian inspired score opens with a wonderful chant titled “Eatnemen Vuelie” featuring an all-female chorus collectively known as Cantus. The piece was not composed by Beck, but by Frode Fjellheim and serves as the bookending theme to open and close the whole experience. Beck’s original score is not overshadowed though. He manages to deliver a beautiful score filled with wonder, excitement, and a vibrant emotional reflection of our two main leads. Beck handles all the magic and wonder of the story with ease while still adding fun character touches such as music for Olaf. The style is pure orchestral goodness with the hint of a fairy tale feel. The motifs and themes Beck builds never get overpowered by the songs and in turn deliver a rich and emotional experience.

Now, the songs by the Lopez duo match the excellence of the score. Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez wrote songs for the 2011 film Winnie The Pooh, so they do have a history with Disney. Robert also wrote the songs for some high-profile musicals like The Book Of Mormon and Avenue Q. Never mind that those musicals have some of the funniest and vulgur songs ever put in musicals. Robert is on his best Disney behavior here. Frozen's songs are catchy and feel as if they do come from within the characters. They definitely do have a stage performance feel to them. That’s a great thing since every number feels like a performance yet still manages to feel organic to the character performing them. If I have one criticism it would be that “Let It Go” feels just a tiny bit too much like a pop song. Other than that the songs do add to Disney’s wonderful legacy.

Frozen is truly a terrific film with everything you’d want from a movie made under the house of mouse. Co-director Chris Buck has a long history with Disney as an animator on films like The Fox And The Hound, The Little Mermaid and Pocahontas. Buck also co-directed Tarzan. Co-Director Jennifer Lee is a bit of a newcomer just having co-written Wreck-It Ralph under her belt. However, the directing duo delivers a wonderful winter adventure that his headlined by some fantastic score and wonderful songs. Christophe Beck surly surprises with his abilities here and delivers a wonderful score. And team Lopez wrote fantastic songs that felt organic to the characters singing them. The whole film is a collaborative success and will be looked back on as the film that signaled Disney’s return to animation greatness without relying on Pixar. The soundtrack comes in two editions, standard and deluxe. The deluxe edition comes with a second disc of demos and alternate versions.
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on January 6, 2014
My sister and I went to see Frozen over the holiday and we both sang to each other bits and pieces of "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" for days after seeing the film. The memorable vocal numbers from the film are accompanied on this album by excellent selections from the instrumental soundtrack. I've enjoyed it so much I'm giving it to my sister for her birthday. Personally I would have preferred the album be organized in the order in which the pieces appeared in the film, instead of first having the vocal numbers followed by the instrumental numbers, but this is a relatively minor complaint.
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on January 24, 2014
Stunning. That is the only word that can accurately describe this soundtrack. From the opening traks to the very last note, this soundtrack will transport you to the magical kingdom of Arendelle, home to Ana and Elsa, our two main characters. Even if you have not seen the film (and if you haven't, you're missing out!), you get a clear idea of who the two sisters are, where they stand with each other, and what they both want out of life. Husband and wife duo Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez did a masterful job of writing music and lyrics that convey every aspect of their story without missing a beat. The instrumental tracks give you an accurate sense of the breadth of the frozen wasteland Arendelle becomes at Elsa's hand. Additionally, this 2 CD set contains a disk full of demo tracks that, while not chosen for the movie, carry the listener further into the lives of Ana, Elsa, and Kristoff.

Standout tracks include:
"Do You Want to Build a Snowman," which will make you smile and laugh as well as simultaneously break your heart.
"Let It Go," sung by Idina Menzel (I'm not a fan of the pop version sung by Demi Lovato--they should have left well enough alone, but every movie needs a song to play over the end credits, I suppose)
"For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)" sung by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, which masterfully weaves the two narratives of the sisters together.
"Vuelie" performed by Norwegian female choir Cantus, which sets the scene for a magical journey through the kingdom of Arendelle.
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on June 23, 2014
"Let it Go" may have won the Oscar, but there's no reason to skip over the rest of this very strong soundtrack. All of the songs are well written and expertly sung by their respective performers. The score work is also quite strong, often taking small musical themes from the songs and weaving them into the score in a way that is effective and not intrusive.

If there's a fault to be found it's that the tone is not always consistent, particularly in the songs. Some songs have a consistent feel ("Do You Want to Build a Snowman," "Let it Go," and "First Time in Forever" for example) but others have a tone that feels like its not even from the same film ("Frozen Heart," "Fixer Upper," and "In Summer" all have this issue.) Also the opening choral work, though true to the region of the world that the story appears to be set it, doesn't fit with the rest of the score either.

However, even though the overall flow isn't as smooth as it could have been, each individual track and song is strong and worth listening to.
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on May 2, 2014
We bought this after our daughters fell in love with the movie and its soundtrack - I'm sure they're the only ones. They were singing the songs anyway, without accompaniment, so we figured we'd help them out a little bit. Actually, we bought this in time for a 1500 mile road trip. They each have music players with headphones, which made for some interesting duets from the back seat. We also played it over the car stereo so we could all sing along. I may be the dad, but I think I have the best pipes for, "Let it Go", if I do say so.

This soundtrack has all the music, not just the blockbuster hits, so there's just a lot of good music. We don't buy many soundtracks, but I'm glad we bought this one. Now I can't wait to do karaoke with the other dads soon. I've been practicing...
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I really liked the fact that this included all the demo songs from things that were cut from the movie. And the explanations from the songwriters helped fill in a big question I had about the movie in the first place, namely why Elsa had to hide her powers from Anna and the rest. Hearing what was cut and didn't make it into the movie, now that makes a bit more sense.

Most albums for movies, especially Pixar / Disney movies, seem to be too much score, and not enough songs with lyrics. Witness the Monsters University soundtrack, or the Cars soundtracks. My son loves the songs and asks me to buy the albums for our iPod in the car, but we end up listening to just a few songs from the soundtrack then, because as a 10 year old, he wants songs they sing, not just the instrumentals. This one has a lot of score tracks, but it has plenty of songs to enjoy as well, even not counting the extra disc of those cut songs. And the cut songs are every bit as good as the ones that made it into the movie, so you don't hear them and think, "That was a waste of money, I should've gotten the normal soundtrack."

Excellent album for any fan of the movie.
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on July 13, 2015
We're a houseful of frozen fans, so I of course had to get the soundtrack. I loved that they included the other songs from the movie, however I am not going to lie we mostly just listen to the songs with lyrics. The sound quality is good, and there is not jump of volume level between songs so I am happy with that. I like that instead of putting the songs in order thus having a mix of lyric and non lyric songs they put all the lyrics songs first, which makes it easier to only listen to the songs with lyrics. I also like that the Demi Lovato version of Let It Go was included because I prefer that version of the song. All in all it is a great CD, if you are a Frozen fan, or have a Frozen fan in your life grab it, you or they will enjoy it.
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on April 5, 2014
This is a review of the "regular" Frozen soundtrack, not the deluxe edition, for what it is worth.

The disk is divided into two sections, the song section which is the first half, followed by the instrumental soundtrack. I liked the songs a lot, particularly the duets between Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell. The intermingled "Let it Go" and "For the First Time in Forever" melodies work quite well. That said, I did not enjoy listening to Idina's voice, with all its flaws. By the end of "Let it Go" it feels as though she is shrieking.

Demi Lovato's version of Let it Go I could "Let Go" pretty easily as well.

The instrumental music is average for an animated film. It is OK as background music, but not something I would turn on just to listen to. Certainly a step below some of John Powell's soundtracks for movies like "How to Train Your Dragon."

Overall, I would probably buy this CD again, as my kids really enjoy the first ten tracks.

Edit: I have listened to the songs on the second CD since writing my review and would say that I probably wouldn't recommend getting the Deluxe version. It has some demo versions of the Lopez's (who wrote the songs) doing "First Time in Forever" and "Love is an Open Door." There are also some fun/interesting early songs that didn't make the movie. "We Know Better" is not that great and it is easy to understand why it didn't make the movie. The song "Life's Too Short" and its reprise are the most interesting songs -- well written and enjoyable to listen to, but out of character with the final characterizations of Anna and Elsa. Frustrating that they put the Lopez's talking at the beginning of these out takes. It would have been far better to stick talking tracks between the music tracks. As it is, you get them introducing the track each time you listen.

There are more instrumental tracks, but they aren't any more enjoyable to listen to than the non-vocal tracks on the first CD.
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on November 25, 2013
I was at the premiere of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" in 1992. I remember the feeling that everything in Disney animation was about to change for the better and for a very long time. The combination of story, animation, and above all, song, was the best that had been seen in a film since the 1950's, during the Silver Age of Disney animation. What Alan Menken and Howard Ashman had hinted at in "The Little Mermaid" was given full, beautiful voice in the songs from "Beauty and the Beast," and I knew that a new Golden Age of Disney animation was on its way.

I had that same feeling when I saw "Frozen" a week ago. It is to the new generation of Disney films what "Beast" was to the Disney animated films of the 1990's: a wake up to everything that makes a "Disney" film a truly "Disney" film, and not a Pixar want-to-be. Not a Dreamworks pop-culture retread, but a film by the company that made the animated film a viable and living art form.

"Frozen" is simply THAT good of a film. And apart from spectacular animation, a heartfelt and beautiful story, and top-notch voice acting, what makes "Frozen" that good is the music.

A perfect combination of song and score, the music by Christophe Beck (instrumental score) and Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (songs), bring to life the story of sisters Elsa and Anna, princesses of Arandelle. Elsa has the magical power to control and create snow and ice, and as the movie opens, they are best friends who enjoy playing with snow and snowmen in the ballrooms of the palace. When an accident happens that causes things to change, the sisters are torn apart and the story begins.

Using traditional Scandinavian instruments, vocal techniques (including "kluning," a type of shepherds call), and a Norwegian choir (the all-female Cantus, who feature prominently in the opening titles), Beck's score is far more than just incidental music. It's as integral to the story as Alan Menken's instrumental music has been for his Disney animated films.

The opening piece, "Vuelie," is a breathtaking choral piece that sets the tone for the icy, Scandinavian backdrop as Lebo M's famous Swahili chants at the beginning of "The Lion King. Written by Norwegian composer Frode Fjellheim and adapted by Beck, the song combines traditional "Saami yoiking" and a Danish hymn. It evokes a cold and wintry feel while helping set the tonal culture of the film before the segue into a more traditional opening number.

That number is "Frozen Heart," sung by a chorus of ice gatherers. As the men work cutting the ice, the very traditional-sounding song tells the power of the ice, the curse of the ice, and relationship that this culture has with the winter. While it is appreciated for its strength and power, it is recognized as destructive due to the way it freezes everything in its wake. Visually, it's a fun song as the ice cutters work swiftly to load their reindeer-drawn sledge with giant pieces of ice. A young boy, Kristoff, and his pet reindeer, Sven, attempt to help with comic results.

The next song, "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" tells, through poignant lyrics and great performances by the young Anna and, eventually, the grown-up version, what Anna feels as she is shut away from her sister, who unbeknownst to her, has been asked by her parents to hide away her magical gift. As a result, Anna feels like Elsa has shut her out and grows up nearly alone. Once best friends with Elsa, she is now nearly on her own--and by the end of the song, as tragedy strikes, it is clear that she truly is. It's one of those great "showtune" style numbers that helps advance the storyline while also being a great song. It's sung beautifully by the young Anna (voiced by Agatha Lee Monn and Katie Lopez--the songwriters' daughter) and Kristin Bell as the grown-up Anna. By the last refrain, it's definitely a poignant moment.

"For the First Time in Forever" is what Howard Ashman called the "I Want" song in the film. At least, it's Anna's. Finally grown up, finally ready for her sister to be crowned queen, her life is about to change. All the loneliness and shuttered away feelings she's had growing up are finally over--the gates of the castle are about to open and she won't be lonely anymore. It's a great "production" number in the film with lots of great movement, character animation, and sweeping visuals. It's a great song. It's a great "Disney" song. It feels "right." And sung so winningly by Kristin Bell, it turns Anna into an even more engaging and endearing character. Halfway through the song she is joined by Idina Menzel as Elsa, and the former "Wicked" star brings her Elphaba intensity to her character.

It's not a surprise that Menzel can sing, and she does, perfectly and beautifully, as Elsa. The real surprise is TV actress Bell, whose vocal performance is as important to the character as Jodie Benson was to Ariel. Without Benson's youthful naivete shining through as Ariel, she might have come across as a far less sympathetic character. Bell is so good as Anna, so warm, so fun, so endearing, and--she is a fantastic singer. To hold her own against a powerhouse like Menzel is something. To make a song like "For the First Time in Forever" feel as classic as "Part of Your World" or "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" shows the power of a great song combined with a great performer.

The film boasts not one, but two great love songs, and "Love is an Open Door" is a contemporary, pop-sounding duet between Anna and Hans, the prince of a neighboring kingdom. It's a cute and fun number in the film (reminding me a bit of "Kiss the Girl" from "The Little Mermaid"), but it's lyrically quite inventive, melodically interesting. Again, it's sung wonderfully by Bell, whose clear and pure soprano is a great match with Santino Fontana, who sings Hans with great gusto.

By this point, the audience is wondering when Menzel, probably the best known performer in the cast, is going to let loose with her big power number. And in that, "Frozen" doesn't disappoint. "Let It Go" is a lock for the Best Original Song Oscar, with it's powerful manifesto of breaking free from constraints and finally being able to be oneself. What is amazing about "Let It Go" is that, while it could come across a bit bitter, in the film, it's an absolutely delightful moment. In this moment, finally allowed to be herself after years of concealing her true self, Elsa lets loose with her power and creates a stunning ice castle. She smiles for the first time since the beginning of the movie, and Menzel's vocal performance is one of joy--yes, the "cold never bothered me anyway," says Elsa, but it's not out of bitterness, but a realization that finally, for the first time, she can be who she was created to be. In a film full of great songs, this one is obviously a standout.

Jonathan Groff, a Broadway actor best known for "Spring Awakening," delivers a truly memorable performance as Kristoff, the now-grown up ice gatherer whose business has been stymied once Elsa unleashes her power on the kingdom. Although possessed of a beautiful singing voice, Groff only has one song in the film, the silly (and silly-sung) "Reindeer(s) are Better Than People," which is a cute, throwaway number intended to show the relationship between Kristoff and his best friend, the reindeer Sven. Groff sings for both characters (and speaks for them in several very funny conversations in the film). It's a cute song.

The next big production number in the show is sung by Josh Gad (Tony nominee for "The Book of Mormon"). "In Summer" is a paean to the warmest time of the year--sung with great love and gusto--and a lack of understanding--by snowman Olaf. A great sidekick in the history of Disney's great sidekicks (Dopey, Jiminy Cricket, Timon & Pubmbaa), Olaf is a hilariously naive but funny character, and his big song is full of puns and laughs. It's even funnier onscreen. Gad gives it all he's got with big, belting vibrato, and he makes what is a minor comedic song into a moment when my audience burst into applause.

There's a reprise of "For the First Time in Forever," sung by Bell and Menzel that feels like a number from countless other sung-through shows in that it is mostly dialogue sung by the two sisters as they try to decide what will happen next. It's Anna's efforts to try to get her sister to relate to her--to show that she understands what Elsa is going through. It's a beautiful moment, but it doesn't end well. While it works on the recording, this is one of those songs that really needs to be seen in context to be fully appreciated.

One last love song, "Fixer Upper" is sung by some well-meaning trolls to try and get Anna and Kristoff together. Without giving anything away, these trolls feel very protective of Kristoff and really want him to get together with Anna. A song that celebrates that everyone has troubles of their own--each of us is a "fixer upper" and love can really change that--it's a welcome relief in the film when it shows up. It's another more "pop" in sound, but it's quite enjoyable, and the payoff at the end is fantastic. While I wish it wasn't the last song in the film, it's a great number nonetheless. And the trolls, led by Maia Wilson, turn the song into a gospel-lite number that really soars by the end.

Over the credits, Demi Lovato's version of "Let It Go" plays. While Lovato does a great job, the song doesn't have half the power of Menzel's version.

Like it has since "The Little Mermaid," Disney once again hasn't put the songs in order of how they appear in the film, meaning you don't get to experience Beck's score interspersed with songs the way you actually would. Which is sad, because many people are going to miss some truly great film music.

Beck does a great job mixing melodies introduced in the Lopez' songs into the instrumental cues, but even better, he truly unleashes the spirit of Scandinavian culture in the score. Whether it's traditional instrumentation, vocal ensembles, or even local instruments, al the "folk" elements of the score bring extra life and an underpinning sense of drama and purpose to the story's events. The hymn sung by the choir at Elsa's coronation, "Heimr Arandalr," translates as "Homeworld Arandelle," and celebrates the history and culture of the world inside "Frozen." It's a beautiful piece, beautifully sung.

Each instrumental track is unique in its own way, and although I am primarily a fan of the pieces clearly influenced by Scandinavian culture, I am confident that Beck will continue to write and develop exciting music for Disney films. The instrumental pieces I most find perfect in stand-alone ways (unlike an action cue, like the wolf chase) are the adaptations from songs in the film. In this, he doesn't disappoint, giving us several outstanding pieces, including the "Epilogue," which brings the whole film together, including every song--even "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"

The Deluxe edition includes a second disk of demo versions of the songs and cues in the film, as well as a complete collection of songs cut from the movie as it went through production. The Lopez' introductions to the cut songs help give context and understanding to what went into each song and why it was cut. Standouts of the songs cut from the film (and which will probably show up in the Broadway version someday) include "We Know Better," a wonderful "sister power" song and "More Than Just the Spare," which anyone with an older sibling will be able to relate to. Sung very nicely by the composers, the cut songs show the amount of work that goes into an animated film and how big the changes in the story might get.

Beck includes many of his demo recordings for the instrumental score and all of them are quite nice--even when the synthesized strings get a little annoying. He includes the score for the original teaser trailer for "Frozen" as well as "source" audio for the folk instruments used in the background during the coronation scene. These are great for purists.

Rounding out the physical CD is a track only version of Menzel's "Let It Go." It's the original orchestral track used in the film, and it's certain there will be preteen girls all over the world practicing for their moment to shine in another Christmas production. Sadly, you only get one of these tracks with the CD, but the instrumental tracks for the other big songs in the show are available for download via iTunes. For all future showtune princesses (and their parents.)

As I said in my review for the film (at duanesm.com):

"The songs, by husband and wife team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, are uniformly excellent, and form a cohesive story that moves the film along, adds dimension and life to the characters, and helps the audience understand their hopes, dreams, and motivations. It’s the best collection of songs in one Disney film in the first time for, well, forever, and the composers deserve a multiplicity of awards both now and in the future for creating truly musical songs."

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Get your copy today!
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