Welcome to a new section of my blog that I’ve decided to call Animated Musical Showdown! It’s an idea that’s partially inspired by Nostalgia Critic’s Old Vs New videos and EpicLloyd and NicePeter's Epic Rap Battles of History, with a slight hint of Screwattacks Deathbattle – only without the blood and gore! In this blog series, I take songs from classic animated movies and TV shows (Disney, Anime, etc) and put them against each other to see which one is the better tune.
And to start off (rather predictably) I’m putting together the songs from top animated movies Frozen and Despicable Me 2. Both have songs that just smashed the music world in Let It Go and Happy. But which is better?
Well, as Harry Hill used to say in TV Burp, “There’s only one way to find out...”
This is how it’s gonna work – there will be five “rounds” to this showdown (similar to my Top Five blogs) of which I will give a description of which elements work or don’t work, then award a point accordingly. Whoever has the most points at the end wins. Simple as that! I’m deliberately keeping it at five so that there is no chance of a tie happening – there HAS to be a winner!
Now before we start – a Disclaimer: Due to the possibly of “fan rage”, please be advised that all opinions and conclusions drawn in this video are my own. I am fully aware that BOTH of these songs have loyal followers, so I will be as respectful to them as I can – but at the same time I will be honest in my opinion.
Now that’s out the way – let’s begin!
ROUND 1 – Song Composition
In this section I look at the structure and composition of each songs – and which I think works best.
Arguably, Let It Go is the more complex of the two tunes, it has many layers of instrumentation and tone to it. It starts off with a simple piano tune as Elsa laments her lack of human interaction and her powers holding her back from the world. Later other instruments come together as Elsa’s confidence in her powers, and herself, grows – before building to a crescendo as Elsa finally “let’s go” and embraces her powers, deciding to shut herself off from the world. I will admit this song is beautifully structured and the music fits perfectly to Elsa’s mood, the instrumentation showing Elsa’s change from a shy woman into a powerful sorceress.
Happy, on the other hand, is a little simpler in its composition. It’s pretty much the same pace all the way through, with a simple drum beat, bass line and various backing vocals. The beat is funky and you just can’t help becoming swept away and dance along. It’s a feel good tune that lifts your spirits, unlike Let It Go, which is somewhat depressing in my opinion. Sometimes, it’s best to keep it simple and Happy is a great example of that. This is a song that you can put on when you’re feeling down and it’s bound to raise your spirits.
So even though Let It Go is more complex in its structure, well... it doesn’t really get you moving. Happy, on the other hand, may be simpler, but it has a good beat that is guaranteed to get you moving. So, on that basis alone, point goes to Happy.
ROUND 2 – Lyrical Content
Where I look at the lyrics of each tune and decide which one has the deeper meaning.
Let It Go is a song about Elsa holding back her full power for most of her life, having been locked away by her parents at a young age. Yeah, great parenting skills – why teach her to accept her gifts when they can just lock her away from the rest of the world?
Ahem, I digress.
Anyway, Elsa was taught to “Conceal, don’t feel”, but in the end, she just could not hold back her power. Once she is discovered, she is considered a monster and has to flee – after which she decides she is not holding back anymore and is just to “let it go”. It’s a song I think everyone can relate to. I’m sure there are tons of people out there who feel like they are being held back from their full potential, and how they just want to let go and show everyone what they can do. It’s a very relatable song – but there are some problems I found with this that I will address later.
Happy is a song about... well, being happy. Not much to say about that really. I mean, the title is called Happy after all, but it doesn’t really have a clever message to it.
So on that basis, I have to go with Let It Go as it has a much stronger lyrical message. Don’t say I never gave you guys anything!
ROUND 3 – Vocals
Here I look at the singers of each respective song, Idina Menzel in Let It Go and Pharrell Williams in Happy. Many of you are thinking this should be a no-brainer and the point should go to Idina – considering that she is a star of Broadway, West End AND an Oscar winner. So she should automatically win, right?
Well, here’s the thing – I actually don’t consider Idina Menzel a great singer. Please hear me out. I’m NOT taking anything away from her achievements and have total respect for everything she’s done. But, I have to be honest, I did hear some of her stuff she did before Frozen (she did a song on the Beowulf soundtrack) and I have to be honest, it didn’t really do anything for me. I just find her too shouty for my liking. She’s good at the lower notes, but when she tries to hit the high notes, she just sounds like she’s forcing them and they don’t sound natural to me. I actually cringe a little when I hear the high notes in Let It Go. Sorry guys. I’m not saying she’s a bad singer – she wouldn’t be doing all these Broadway shows if she was – but there are better singers out there if you want my view. The actress that plays Anna in Frozen I actually thought was the better singer out of the two if I’m being honest.
Pharrell Williams, I don’t have a problem with. He has a great voice and can really hit those high notes. There are times when he reminds me of old school Rhythm and Blues, or classic Michael Jackson, which is cool with me. There are times when I do find his voice a little whinny, I won’t lie – but on the whole, I feel like he can sing pretty well and have no real issues with his voice.
So, taking the above into consideration – even though I’m sure I’m gonna piss people for this, I have to go with who I personally think is the better singer. I’m gonna give the point to Pharrell Williams. Sorry Idina, nothing personal.
ROUND 4 – Recognition
Here I look at the reception that each song has got and try to decide which song has the best recognition from the public.
This one is tough to call. Each song has been critically acclaimed and parodied numerous times since their release. Hell, Happy pretty much has remained in the top ten in UK since January this year – and that’s no small feat!
But, then again, Let It Go DID win an Oscar and I can’t ignore that. So I’m gonna keep this short and give Let It Go the benefit of the doubt as an Oscar does outrank a top ten single, at least in my eyes. So Let It Go wins this point. Sorry, Happy fans.
ROUND 5 – My Two Cents
Ok, we are tied at 2 a piece. This is the decider. And this is the part where I tell you guys my overall views of the songs and which one I think is better. Remember this is just my opinion what I’m about to say – as was the rest of this blog.
Before I do, I want to kind of undo something I said on a previous blog. In my Frozen review I said I hated Let It Go. And that was a little harsh, so I want to apologise for that. I don’t hate the song as such – but despite all the praise and awards, I disagree with people saying it’s the best Disney song ever. There are better Disney tunes out there, Hellfire and Be Prepared are two that spring to mind. Also, I personally think Do You Wanna Build A Snowman has a lot more emotional content than Let It Go.
Anyway, onto my opinion. Let It Go is a good song, but not great. It has great instrumentation, a strong lyrical content and, if you watch the film, amazing visuals. But the vocals kill it for me, in a bad way. I just find Idina Menzel’s voice too shouty and grating for my tastes, which is one of the reasons I can’t listen to this tune. Another problem I have is something that people may have overlooked. Yes, it’s great that Elsa is letting go and being herself – but let’s not forget that in doing so, all of Arendelle will be stuck in eternal winter. So it’s like “Yay! Elsa is being herself. Boo! People are gonna suffer because of it.” Kinda mixed messages, don’t you think? I dunno, take from that what you will. The third reason I don’t really like this song is that it has been played to death! So much so it’s not even funny anymore!
You can say exactly the same for Happy. This song has ALSO been played to death as much as Let It Go. But here’s the thing. I can listen to Happy a thousand times and still enjoy it as much as the first listen. Happy is a feel-good tune that lifts your spirits when you’re feeling down and gets you moving with its cheerful beat and upbeat lyrics. Let’s say I come back after a hard day’s work and I’m really pissed off and need cheering up. I have two CD’S directly ahead of me, Happy and Let It Go. Which one do you think I’m going to put on? Spoiler: It’s Happy. I just feel this tune is that little better. Sure, it may not be as complex as Let It Go, but as I said, keeping it simple is usually a good thing if people are going to move around to it.
So, with all that being said *deep breath* despite this potentially being an unpopular statement, and the stink eyes I'm going to get for saying this, I have to say that Happy is a better song than Let It Go. So the point goes to Happy.
Which means that with 3 points to 2, Happy is the winner!
Hope you guys enjoyed reading this and you aren’t be too upset with the result. Please let me know your comments below. Also I AM taking requests for other songs to do showdowns with. If you wish for me to do a particular showdown of your favourite songs from Anime, Disney or cartoons, please let me know.
Thanks for reading! Have a – happy – weekend! XD
All images above copyright of their respective owners. No copyright infringement is intended.