Annnnd we're back again.
Today's it all about the music - a topic I gather most of you have been waiting on.
Let's get at it!
Team Tangled - Aaron's Argument
I’ve had conversations with more than a few fans of these two films. Surprisingly, most believed this would be the hardest category for me to argue, as my opponent will undoubtedly tout Frozen’s ‘Let It Go,’ and ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’.
I found the dust up over Beck winning the Grammy Album of The Year against Beyonce particularly relevant in this debate topic because one or two songs do not make a great overall album. And this topic is not about which film has the better song, it’s about the collective music.
A great thing about these movies is both (in certain aspects) mirror one another. They have:
And so I'll read a book, or maybe two or three
I'll add a few new paintings to my gallery
I'll play guitar and knit, and cook and basically
Just wonder when will my life begin?
As father to a little girl, I think it’s important to note that not only does Rapunzel make continued efforts to improve her education, she’s learned how to care for herself, and keep her mind engaged.
And now, let us journey to Arendelle to learn how Anna has dealt with her (self-imposed) isolation and the prospect of attending a party in the song 'For The First Time In Forever.'
The window is open, so that’s door.
I didn’t know they did that anymore.
There’ll be actual, real live people.
As opposed to mannequins...
A beautiful stranger, tall and fair,
I wanna stuff some chocolate in my face.
But then we laugh and talk all evening,
Which is totally bizarre.
And I know it’s totally crazy
To dream I’d find romance.
I know my arguments must sound totally cray-cray, and I’m like, totally a dude, but why does Anna’s imaginations of talking with a guy make her want to stuff chocolate in her face? Oh, and thank you, Anna, for teaching our daughters it’s totally bizarre that a beautiful guy would ever desire speaking with them. Sends a good message of self worth, doesn’t it?
In fact, I don’t know that I could ever imagine such an instance as a prince wanting to hit on a gorgeous redhead or even-
AND ARIEL COULDN’T EVEN SPEAK AT THE TIME!
Let’s move on, shall we? Here is Tangled’s 'I See The Light' where Rapunzel and Flynn sing their love song.
All those days watching from the windows
All those years outside looking in
All that time never even knowing
Just how blind I've been
All those days chasing down a daydream
All those years living in a blur
All that time never truly seeing
Things, the way they were
Annnnd compare those above lyrics now with how Anna and Hans react when singing their “love” song in Frozen’s 'Love Is An Open Door'.
Hans: I mean it’s crazy
Hans: We finish each other’s
Hans: That’s what I was gonna say!
Ugh. I need some Tylenol. I’ll save the home-wrecking “love” trolls for my rebuttal.
Team Frozen - Gene's Rebuttal
By this time it should be getting very clear what Aaron's strategy is: complete mischaracterization. Here with the music, he's getting a little cavalier. Let's look at how he decided to match up a couple songs.
First, he claims to line up where each female lead sings about dealing with their isolation. Rapunzel sings "When Will My Life Begin". No argument there. A little upbeat for the circumstances but yeah, she's dealing with her isolation there. Then he puts Anna under the microscope when she sings "For the First Time in Forever".
There's just one problem - that's not the song where she deals with her isolation.
Anna's lines in that song, at that time in the movie, are a celebration of her finally coming out of isolation! Talk about having it backwards! If Aaron were to make a fair comparison he would've looked into the final part of "Do you Wanna Build a Snowman", when Anna's parents had died and her sister STILL would not come out of her room. That is when she's dealing with isolation via song.
Second, Aaron compares Rapunzel and Flynn's love song "I See the Light" to Anna and Hans singing "Love is an Open Door". Oh Aaron, you surely didn't think that would get by did you? You're a smart guy. You know full well that Anna and Hans are not the love story in Frozen, yet you continue this mischaracterization and seem content with knocking down straw men. Have at it, but you're not fooling anyone.
Finally, allow me to jump back to something Aaron led with. That is the point that one or two great songs don't make a great album. We're talking about the collective music here.
Great point Aaron. Couldn't agree more!
In fact, I'll agree to the tune of a Grammy for compilation soundtrack. I can do that because Frozen won that coveted award.
Tangled... not so much.
So yeah, it's not all about just one song. If it were I'd talk about how "Let it Go" won a Grammy, an Oscar and five other major awards all on its own. But it's not about just one song so I won't mention all that.
So Aaron, I guess if you're speaking up on Tangled's behalf here that would make you the Kanye West to Beyonce's Tangled. Hmmmm. Interesting spot you're in there. Well, if you're cool with it then so am I.
Thanks for playing, Kanye!
Team Frozen - Gene's Argument
You'll never catch me saying that the songs in Tangled aren't great. You don't get nominated for an Oscar for Best Song and a Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack without that being the case. Frozen was nominated for those awards as well - and went on to win both of them. Oh, and the Grammy for Best Song for Visual Media with "Let it Go".
I think there is a reason Frozen excelled in awards season when it comes to music and Tangled fell short. For the most part, Frozen's songs are deeply intertwined with the plot of the story, whereas Tangled's songs are mostly intended to be fun or funny.
Tangled opens with narration to set up the parameters of the story and doesn't get into any singing until we have a pretty good handle on the background of some main characters. Even then Rapunzel just sings about how repetitive her day is. Frozen on the other hand actually uses a song to foreshadow and describe specific elements of its story before ever getting into dialogue. Let's look at a couple lines from the opening song "Frozen Heart".
"This icy force both foul and fair
has a frozen heart worth mining."
The icy force is clearly Elsa. We are told about her forthcoming frozen heart, but it is a heart worth mining. It's worth chipping away at little by little. That is exactly what Anna tries to do throughout the film. Whether she be locked in a room or secluded on a mountain, Anna is always trying to mine Elsa's heart.
"Cut through the heart, cold and clear.
Strike for love and strike for fear.
There's beauty and there's danger here
Split the ice apart
Beware the frozen heart..."
Frozen also has an arc within a song!
"For the First Time in Forever" is sung twice by both Anna and Elsa. The first time, separately on coronation day. Anna describes her excitement and hope for love and Elsa describes her fears. There's that contrast again: love and fear.
The reprise is when Anna finally reaches Elsa on the mountain and pleads with her to fix the weather. In the first, Anna's desire for love is outward, looking for "THE one". In the reprise she's expressing her love for her sister and seeks to "face this thing together". For Elsa, in the first song, she is reluctant to let anyone in but decides instead to "conceal, don't feel, put on a show".
In the reprise, Elsa is not only now pushing away her own sister now, but she's denying her ability to have the very freedom she so triumphantly sang about in "Let it Go". She's confessing her complete inability to have the freedom she wants, while doing the very thing which ensures she will never be left alone. It's both beautiful and tragic.
That’s not to say that all the songs in Frozen are to be taken completely serious. There is some fun sprinkled in as well.
Who can forget the adorable “In Summer” from Olaf, in which this snowman yearns for warmth. How great is the moment in that song where he pauses in front of a puddle, which is the only rhyming word that would describe what he would become at that point in the song, but he belts out “Happy Snowman!”
Then you have the quick-witted “Fixer Upper” sung by Kristoff’s friends, the trolls. They just assume these two should be together and they sing it in such an innocently condescending way that you just love the idea of this pair even more by the end.
Both movies have terrific songs. I’m not denying that. But the ceiling for the music in Frozen is just higher because the songs, overall, are more meaningful to the story and the development of the characters.
Team Tangled - Aaron's Rebuttal
If Gene could name me one song in Tangled that didn't contribute to character development and/or the story, I’d admit that I lost this topic.
Spoiler alert: He can’t.
Meanwhile, he names ‘In Summer’ and ‘Fixer Upper’ as “fun” songs and asks you not take them seriously. That’s like a lawyer telling a jury - “Nope, nope. Just forget this evidence. Doesn’t matter. Irrelevant. Strike it from the record, please.”
Gene, the lesson in Frozen’s 'Fixer Upper' is: “Oh, hey kids, if the girl you like is engaged to someone you don’t know, or even like, it’s totally cool (Dang it! See what Anna’s done to my vocabulary?) to break them up for your own selfish desires."
So she's a bit of a fixer upper
That's a minor thing
This quote engagement is a flex arrangement
And by the way I don't see no ring!
Apparently these home-wrecking love trolls take their cues from Beyonce’s Single Ladies.
As for Gene’s mention of Oscar and Grammy wins…pssh.
Let’s first acknowledge Disney annually owns both award ceremonies. Gene mentioned Tangled’s nomination for both awards, but omitted that it won a Grammy for Best Song ('I See The Light').
I omitted that point in my opening argument too. Why?
Because the Grammys and the networks thought so highly of these awards they didn’t bother airing them on TV with the other winners/nominees.
Also, when “Let It Go” won its Oscar, Frozen faced such stiff (and unrecognizable) competition as “The Moon Song” from Her and “Ordinary Love” from Mandela.
Meanwhile, the year of its Oscar nomination, Tangled lost to another Disney giant, and arguably the greatest animated film of all-time, Toy Story 3’s “We Belong Together,” written and performed by 20-time nominee Randy Newman.
That’s the same.
But lest Gene argue I’m cherry-picking, and neglecting his mention of the Grammy compilation “win” for Frozen, answer me this - in what sane universe does a children’s soundtrack defeat Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1? #rigged
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