From the popular ballad “Let It Go” to the Golden Globe-nominated “Into The Unknown”, the two soundtracks from Disney’s Frozen and Frozen 2 are both comprised of strong catchy songs, but which soundtrack is the best? Brought to life by the same creative team behind the original Frozen soundtrack, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez returned to write seven new original songs for the Frozen 2 soundtrack. Here’s how the two soundtracks compare.
The Frozen soundtrack set quite a precedent back in 2013 when its original song, “Let It Go”, became a cultural phenomenon overnight. Performed by Idina Menzel, “Let It Go” has yet to be dethroned on Spotify as the most streamed Disney song in the modern catalogue of Disney music, which currently has over 300 million listens. According to Nielsen music, Frozen 2 shared in its predecessor’s success reaching No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart by the third week of its release, with 80,000 album sales in the United States and 51 million streams. Despite not having a stand-out hit similar to “Let It Go,” the Frozen 2 soundtrack is the better soundtrack of the two because it has a wide range of tracks that are consistently strong, and that deepen the audiences’ understanding of the characters and the world they live in.
While many of the songs featured on the Frozen soundtrack may be witty and fun, the content of the tracks are significantly less substantial when compared to the soundtrack of Frozen 2. As the first film in the franchise, many of the songs in Frozen are burdened with the responsibility of introducing the characters to the audience and only has enough time to explore one dimension of their personalities. “In Summer,” the snowman Olaf’s (Josh Gad) serenade to the season in which he describes his excitement about experiencing summer for the first time, highlights Olaf’s innocence as a character that was literally born yesterday thanks to Elsa’s ice magic. Anna’s (Kristen Bell) hyper-aware duet “Love Is An Open Door” presents her as a naive romantic, Disney’s own way of poking fun at its first era of Disney Princesses who fell in love with princes they’d just met. Since “Let it Go” is the only song with a more profound message, it carries the Frozen soundtrack.
As the second film in the franchise, Frozen 2 had the advantage of building on the base established within Frozen andallowed for the characters to develop more within their own individual ballads. Olaf’s solo “When I’m Older” boasts another level of maturity as he sings about one day having the wisdom to look back at his current fears and understand they were unnecessary by changing his perspective. Anna’s journey is elevated from the naive princess to the strong protagonist who learns to stand on her own after she loses her sister within the song “The Next Right Thing.” The Frozen 2 soundtrack explores a similar growth by not relying so heavily on Elsa’s ballads, “Into The Unknown” and “Show Yourself”, to push the story forward, making the entire album stronger as a result.
Not only does Frozen 2 further develop both the major and minor characters within the music of Frozen 2, but the music is also better incorporated into the overall plot of the sequel. A mysterious voice singing to Elsa in the wind is the instigator of the entire plot, which sends her on a journey of self-discovery through the Enchanted Forest. In the opening scenes of Frozen 2, Elsa and Anna’s mother, Iduna (Evan Rachel Wood), sings them the lullaby “All Is Found”, which becomes an important roadmap on their journey, informing Elsa that she’ll find the truth about the past and about herself at the river Ahtohallan.
While the Frozen 2 soundtrack is the stronger of the two, ironically, its strength arises from the very existence of the first Frozen soundtrack. By establishing the characters within the first film, Frozen 2’s soundtrack was all the more enjoyable hearing new melodies from the Disney characters fans already know and love.