Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Letting Christmas Go (Music Review: Idina Menzel, Holiday Wishes)

It had to happen. Elsa can't help but freezing everything, and icicles mean Christmas, right? So here we are, Idina Menzel has released a Holiday album titled "Holiday Wishes." I mean, look at the album cover - she gives the illusion of being covered in ice. But did we really need a Christmas album from her? I don't really get the Idina hate, because I think she is a fantastic singer. Yes, she belts and screams, and her voice can be on the loud and sharp side, but it is theatrical, it reaches the back row, and it's a marvel. It's exactly what I would expect from a Broadway diva! And this album perfectly showcases that voice. The word restraint isn't used here, and she sings all these songs full throttle. That, in my opinion, is a good thing. Menzel doesn't tone down the proceedings just because it is a Holiday album. Rote choices like "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "the Christmas Song" are on fire, thanks to her. The arrangements can be a bit unimaginative, btu who cars, Idina just runs away with these songs. I particularly like the breathless "All I Want For Christmas Is You" (The Mariah song - that has become a modern classic, hasn't it?) And she is theatrically passive on "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" (I imagine it as a theater piece, and it works) Even her self-penned "December Prayer" satisfies. All in all, this album is perfect for tree-trimming parties for show queens. You know if you're in the target market.

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