I am a huge fan of Frozen. Its impact was much more than toys and box office sales. The music was incredibly important for Disney. While each song title held its own weight, they were each brilliantly crafted not only to move the audience but to also enhance the story. Most importantly, the original Frozen soundtrack brought something fresh to the “old princess story” we’ve seen over and over again from Disney.
“Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” is proof of this. The song’s success easily reminded us of why we fell in love with similar songs in Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast. The way it weaved and combined dialogue and song was a blast from the past. Before we look at the Frozen II soundtrack, let’s take a quick look at how we got here.
The original motion picture soundtrack to Frozen was one of the biggest hits of all time. When Frozen released in theaters back in 2013, the songs from its soundtrack echoed through walls of millions of school buildings for months on end. As an unapologetic Disney nerd, the Frozen soundtrack holds a special place in Disney history.
A new kind of Disney Princess…
“Let it Go,” performed by the incredible Idina Menzel, won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The Frozen soundtrack had 43 nonconsecutive weeks at #1 on Billboard’s list of top soundtracks and sold 10 million copies in 2014 alone. Undoubtedly, there aren’t many films out there that can match Frozen’s social influence. The concept of a “strong Disney princess” was a gold mine for Disney and even won many of the “Disney princess haters” over.
You can’t bring up Frozen without bringing up the characters which were so expertly crafted. Olaf was my personal standout. However, you cannot deny that likability and connection Elsa had with the audience. This wasn’t your typical “Disney princess” we’ve grown up with. Elsa had real flaws and made real mistakes that captured young hearts everywhere. Having a strong yet flawed character on center stage was the real draw and something many young fans quickly identified with.
(I’d like to give a quick mention and nod to Jonathan Groff for his incredible work on the show Mindhunters. Easily one of the best shows out there. If you haven’t checked it out, do so now. You’ll thank me later. Ok back to the review.)
Thus it’s not difficult to say that the soundtrack to Frozen II comes with some lofty expectations. The film hits theaters on Friday, November 22nd and will surely be a massive success for Disney studios. Personally, I haven’t felt this nervous about listening to a soundtrack since 2019’s The Lion King.
I’m going to give you my honest grades for each original track, and in the end do a comparison between the two soundtracks. Thanks for reading, everyone!
“All Is Found” by Evan Rachel Wood
Beautiful and enchanting instrumentals weave in and out of Evan Rachel Wood’s incredible vocals in this piece. There is something very atmospheric about this song. On first listen, this feels like something you would hear in a bar in Witcher 3 or Skyrim rather than Frozen II song. The strings in the background are eerily striking and make the hair on my arms stand stoic and firm.
This song also feels similar to what “Frozen Heart” did for the original soundtrack and film. It sets the tone in all the right ways. This hauntingly beautiful track is exactly what Disney fans want to hear. It’s different and something you wouldn’t expect from a Disney film. This is the first title on the soundtrack. If this is the direction the soundtrack goes moving forward, then I am very excited for what’s to come.
“Some Things Never Change” by Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff
First up, this team up track is light and fun. I envision Kristen, Idina, Josh, and Jonathan sitting around a piano, singing, and drinking a pint at a dive bar with this track. They are clearly having a blast. But I’m quick to go back to “Love is an Open Door” from the original soundtrack. Not that this is a negative by any stretch of the imagination; this newest track carries all the same vibes and feels.
It’s also a nod back to songs from The Muppets. It’s got the same catchy and positive feels that made tracks in The Muppets so popular. If you’re not tapping your knee to this title, it’s proof that you’re officially a zombie. This is a great track, no doubt. The negative? It’s very similar to what we’ve already heard before. The soundtrack got off to a unique start with “All is Found.” This song clearly gets the audience ready for what is about to transpire, which is a Frozen film through and through.
“Into the Unknown” by Idina Menzel & AURORA
The slow build up in this track reveals a massive example of why Idina Menzel is one of the greatest vocalists in the industry. Prior to this reveal, I was rather unimpressed after hearing bits and pieces of this track. Having zero context to the film, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The actual track is outstanding, and the production is top notch all around.
Something is calling Elsa in this track that is both haunting and exciting all at the same time. Elsa is clearly at odds with herself as she begins her voyage early on during the film. I really appreciate this song after repeated listens. Elsa is unsure on what’s drawing her to the unknown. The best parts of this song include Idina Menzel and AURORA echoing each other towards the latter part of the track. Elsa clearly agrees to embark on this treacherous voyage.
“When I am Older” by Josh Gad
As for many of you, “In Summer” by Josh Gad was by far my favorite track in the original soundtrack. In the first flick, we saw Olaf wishing it were summer. This time around, Olaf dreams of growing up and going through puberty. “When I Am Older” is just as short as “In Summer,” however lacks the comedic punch of the original.
Overall, this is undoubtedly a very fun track. It’s a sweet song that features strong vocals from Josh Gad. There is zero question that Olaf is the role Josh Gad was born to play. Not having context of the film, this song brings up some big questions: Does Olaf have a girlfriend or partner? Is there another snowman in Frozen II? We’ll find out in less than a week.
“Lost in the Woods” by Jonathan Groff
An electric guitar riff during a Frozen song?! Hands down one of the best songs on the Frozen II soundtrack. To be fair and clear, I am in my mid 30s and a lover of all things 1980s. Jonathan Groff’s “Lost in the Woods” sounds nothing like a track from Frozen. Rather, it feels like Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love” from Karate Kid II from the 1980s. For me, this is pure bliss and one of the more memorable songs on the soundtrack.
I’m already having difficulty getting this tune out of my head. It’s catchy, it has a beautiful piano backdrop, and Jonathan Groff absolutely nails the vocals. His voice also reminds me a lot of “You’re the Inspiration” from Chicago. I couldn’t care less if this is a copy or an original. As we stand, “Lost in the Woods” is currently the best song on the soundtrack.
“Show Yourself” by Idina Menzel & Evan Rachel Wood
In one of the sweeter tracks of the soundtrack, Idina Menzel brings her vocal chops in this one and then some. “Show Yourself” features Elsa coming to grips after finding the answer to one of the major questions in the film. I really enjoyed how this song features elements that tie into “Into the Unknown.” Without seeing the film, it is clear that Elsa is on a journey of self-discovery.
It’s a great number, no doubt. However, other than Menzel’s vocals, it was a bit of a letdown. There is clearly a major plot device occurring during this song. Perhaps it will translate better, especially emotionally, on the big screen. I have to give major props to Frozen II and Disney on one regard. They have strayed away from developing “catchy” tunes and opted to focus on creating solid music that best serves the film. Six songs into my soundtrack review, and I couldn’t be more excited to see Frozen II.
“The Next Right Thing” by Kristen Bell
Whoa, Kristen Bell gives me the chills on this number. Where did the optimistic and lovable Anna go in this? Clearly Anna is moving on from something after a major realization in the film. She seems to be moving on from a loss and in the midst of some self-talk to motivate herself to push ahead. This track is moving, somber, and will surely garner some tears from its audience in the theater.
This song is about moving on and making sure to stay on the right path. I really enjoyed this track. It’s very different than anything we’ve heard in a Frozen soundtrack. My first thought goes to how similar it is to “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2. This is dark, and Anna is clearly missing Elsa in some regard. This is one of the best songs on the soundtrack for me.
Which Soundtrack is Better?
Let’s be clear. The Frozen II soundtrack is very good. However, it’s not nearly as memorable as the original soundtrack. The standouts on this soundtrack include “Into the Unknown,” “All is Found,” and “Lost in the Woods.” For me, the best songs on this soundtrack were the ones that went against the grain and brought something unique to the Frozen franchise.
This album is unquestionably worth a listen. Does this soundtrack make me more or less excited for the film? I’d say an emphatic YES. Coming in, it was always going to be difficult to match the lofty expectations with this album. However, I really respect the direction of many of the songs on the Frozen II soundtrack. The original soundtrack is better, but Frozen II brings its own spin to 2019. And when it offers something fresh, its snow joke.
My Frozen Music Power Rankings
1 “Let It Go”
2 “Lost in the Woods”
3 “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”
4 “Into the Unknown”
5 “The Next Right Thing”
6 “In Summer”
7 “Love Is an Open Door”
8 “All is Found”
9 “For the First Time in Forever”
10 “Some Things Never Change”
11 “Show Yourself”
12 “When I Am Older”
13 “Fixer Upper”
14 “Frozen Heart”