Recently, while visiting my brother and his family, I had a chance to witness a current phenomenon that I had until this point been unaware of. For the week of my visit, my five nieces — ranging in age from 17 months to nine years old — were almost constantly singing “Let It Go” from the Disney movie Frozen. I must have heard the song (or at least the chorus) over a hundred times. Even the baby was singing it…although her version usually consisted of little more than “Leh Ih Gah! Leh Ih Gaah!” (Seriously. The level of adorable was off the charts.)
Nine year-old Niece Number One even put on a performance of the song for the family, complete with set dressing (bunk beds with artfully arranged blankets as curtains and laser pointers for accent lights) and a costume (a blue sheet dress). The only one not singing all the time was seven year-old Niece Number Two, who had long ago abandoned any hope that she could watch the movie without all of her sisters singing over every song.
I live with a musician, in a house full of musical instruments, but Disney movie anthems are not really his gig. My eleven year-old stepson likes to sing and will often sing to himself around the house, but I can’t recall any time that he’s latched on to a single song and put it on repeat like this. So this isn’t a phenomenon that I was likely to have encountered at home. According to my stepson, however, all of his classmates with younger siblings have reported the same phenomenon occurring in their homes.
And why not? It’s a great song. Catchy, soaring tune. Empowering lyrics that just about anyone can find something to identify with. Feelings of isolation? Check. Carrying a terrible secret? Check. Feeling overwhelming pressure to be “good?” Check. Desire to finally be free to be yourself? Check.
Three year-old Niece Number Four even turned it into her own song of defiance, passionately belting it out at the top of her lungs just minutes after she had been disciplined by her father for feeding her dinner to the dog (again).
Let it go, let it go!
Can’t hold it back any more.
Let it go, let it go!
Turn away and slam the door.
I don’t care what they’re going to say.
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway.
I realize that I’m a little late to the party on this one…I wasn’t able to see the movie when it was in my local theater last November and had to wait until the DVD release to finally see what all the fuss was about. And if you’re wondering what fuss I’m referring to — at over $1 billion in domestic and international sales, Frozen has become the highest-grossing animated feature of all time. Disney hasn’t been able to keep up with the demand for Frozen-themed toys and other merchandise, and some parents are paying crazy prices on eBay for the sparkly blue Elsa costume.
This movie is the juggernaut of all Disney juggernauts. A lot of words have been written by better writers than me to identify just what it is about this movie that has led to all this success. If you haven’t already reached your Frozen-mania-threshold, check out those linked articles. And you definitely shouldn’t miss the post by Jude over at our sister site Queereka, where she tackles the accusation that Frozen is subversively promoting the “Gay Agenda” to our impressionable princess-loving children. Seriously. Go read it now. I’ll wait.
You could argue that the popularity of the movie begets the popularity of the song…but if that were entirely the case, we’d be singing a lot more of “Fixer Upper” and “For the First Time in Forever”. While the rest of the soundtrack is catchy and enjoyable — especially if you’re a fan of Broadway musicals — “Let It Go” is unmatched as a soaring anthem of empowerment and self-actualization that just about anybody can relate to. It seems a safe leap to say that the success of the song has been a significant contributor to the success of the movie.
I’ve been playing the soundtrack and enthusiastically singing along alone in my car every day since I returned from my visit, and I’m 44 freaking years old and just about as self-actualized as I’m ever going to get. I’m not alone in that regard — more than a few of my GP brethren have admitted wearing the soundtrack out themselves. That’s the genius of this song…it’s not that it’s bringing out my inner three year-old so much as it’s just so universally relevant that my three year-old niece can find just as much meaning in it as I can. If only I could sing it as well as she does.
Since this is a parenting blog, I feel a responsibility to finish by giving a shout out to the fine folks at How It Should Have Ended, who call out the terrible choices made by Anna and Elsa’s parents in the movie (ultimately creating the very problem they were trying to prevent). Stay through the credits…the coda is genius.