If you’ve got small children, you’ll know all about Menzel: she’s the voice of Queen Elsa in Frozen and of course sings Let It Go. Oh, how parents wish they could.
Before being Frozen she rose to fame playing Maureen Johnson in the Broadway musical Rent. She won a Tony award nomination in 1996 and played Elphaba in Wicked, for which she did win a Tony, for best actress in a musical.
The famous role as a princess may explain the cover on this: she’s looking a tad raunchier than one might predict (though respectably so; parents might want to play this to their kids), presumably to escape the blue princess-dress look from Frozen.
We didn’t know what to expect but it is very good, and much more nimble of foot than you might expect from a star of the stage; these are proper pop / RnB tunes (there’s even a spot of reggae) and despite the big arrangements they never sound stuffy.
Of course, Menzel has got a fantastic voice, not only in power and range but also in her ability to make it sound intimate. This, one can assume, is a big budget album that’s expected to do well, but while it’s slick and professional, it’s also got one foot in the cool camp, the one where people make their own music because they love it, whether or not they make money. She gets writing credits on most of the songs, though none are hers alone.
It’s all pretty good but we liked early standout Cake, the song that at least waves at reggae: “One man’s poison is another man’s cake” is the gist, though it’s possibly about a woman leaving a partner after an illicit affair. Small World opens the album with piano and her voice, a familiar start for Frozen fans, but turns into one of those classy 80s power ballads. Queen of Swords is an expansive, uplifting tune that might make the closing credits for a Disney film. I Do is a good pop tune.