Disney's Frozen is having a big January. Last week, the animated musical about two sisters based on the fairy tale "The Snow Queen" topped the box office, six weeks after it was originally released. Its soundtrack, featuring 10 original songs, is the best-selling album in the country, toppling Beyonce's self-titled album last week.
That run of success might have something to do with the fact that two different versions of one of those songs the inspirational ballad "Let It Go" are currently climbing Billboard's Hot 100 chart. In the film, it's performed by the Broadway veteran Idina Menzel, who voices the character of Elsa, the sister isolated by her tragic gift: Everything she touches turns to beautiful crystals of ice.
Ann Powers, NPR Music's pop critic, tells Morning Edition's David Greene that the song's dual success makes sense when you consider the movie's young target audience. The songs on the Frozen soundtrack hang together "as a narrative of not only self-empowerment but love between sisters, and those are themes that resonate heavily with tweens," she says.
The second version of the song, a pop production sung by the former tween star Demi Lovato, underscores the themes that make "Let It Go" resonate with tweens, in and out of the movie. "What I hear is the fact that every 10-year-old girl is coming out of her shell and coming into her own, and she needs this kind of song to grab onto," Powers says. "And it's really important that it not be overly sexual or sexy. These are girls that have been heartbroken by Miley Cyrus and her transformation. They need these kind of pure emotional songs."