Many would skip over Idina Menzel on the assumption that she makes music for Disney. This isn't necessarily unfair. The 'Let It Go' singer's fifth album, her eponymous idina. sounds like a collection of rejected Disney songs put to more universally acceptable lyrics.
The first half of the album truly feels like the music are just scrapped film songs. 'Small World' kicks the album off, her powerful voice being apparent throughout, but severely outclassing the weak instrumental. This problem resolves itself in the following track 'Like Lightning', yet the Disney vibe doesn't yet die out. By the time you hit 'Queen Of Swords', you're already sick of the album.
It's not until 'Last Time' that the music starts sounding like actual songs. The gentle piano dynamically backs up Menzel's somber and apologetic vocal performance, becoming one of the first genuine songs on the album. The song builds slowly with various elements, Menzel's voice becoming more passionate every time she sings "Don't let the last time I saw you / Be the last time." 'I Do' falls into the same hole, dynamic piano acting with a drum beat to back Menzel's growingly confident vocals about love. The harmonies soar prettily while they intertwine with each other, with strings and funky guitar adding a little extra touch.
That's where the good times on the record end, from a quality standpoint - in fact, it sounds like she's way too happy on the next few songs. 'Cake' is one of the strangest songs I've heard in awhile, and I'm not quite sure if there's some sexual innuendo hidden in those "I'm another man's cake" lyrics. She sounds like she didn't even care about the lyrics of 'Perfect Story' - the first verse is literally her reciting Jack & Jill. The acoustic guitar is nice, but trying to use the word "textbook" in an emotionally charged song just doesn't mesh well.
idina. is a soundtrack album. That's it's fault. There's only a few tracks that really stand out as real songs you would find on the radio instead of in a movie scene (specifically). Idina Menzel must've been trying to appeal to her already existing fanbase, creating an album that parents and children alike could enjoy for different reasons. To the average person, though, it doesn't really have much impact at all. Maybe it'll be a good starting point for Frozen 2.
Favorite Track: I Do
Least Favorite Tracks: Perfect Story, Cake, Queen Of Swords
Rating: 52 / 100