I don’t mean “bad” like the Rolling Stones’ last album. I mean bad like a Bieber B-side. Disney’s “Let It Go” is an awful song, and the idea that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would select it as Best Original Song is monstrous.
The song contains confusing, even contradictory imagery. As an English teacher, vague imagery troubles me because a lack of focus usually means insincerity. I’ve seen it in a thousand essays and I hear it in this song. It’s like passing off Sara Lee cheesecake as homemade, and “Let it Go” is chock full o’ Sara Lee.
If the song’s a narrative, then I’ve read stereo instructions that were more insightful. If a metaphor, then how does the narrator change in the song? Is she moving away from or toward a mountain? Is she leaving her home to find freedom? If so, then how is “close the door” a positive metaphor? If flying, how is she with the “wind and sky”?
Breaking simple poetic and lyrical rules. These are rules you learn in freshman English class. Even Allen Ginsberg didn’t break them and he hated rules. One rule is don’t affect a song’s meter by shoving in too many syllables (listen to the line with “frozen fractals all around”…and “fractals”, by the way, is a real stretch for the sake of alliteration). A writer should also avoid cliched metaphors and similes (“Let it Go” trashes this rules with phrases like “one with the wind and sky,” “let the storm rage on” and “rise like the break of dawn”).
Neither the Academy nor the song’s authors understand preteen or teenage children. If a preteen or teen comes up to you and actually performs the miracle of telling you they’re upset, the single worst thing you can say is “Just ignore what they say, you’ll be fine.” No 12-year-old (except budding sociopaths) fails to measure themselves against their peers, and their moods thrive on it. That’s axiomatic. Disney’s advice in “Let It Go” is so impractical and casual that it’s criminal. I doubt anyone with competent parenting skills took a critical look at the song before publication. God help us if a parent hears that songs and thinks it’s good advice to give a teenager.
The song’s theme is tired and sagging. The saggy and sad theme is a good girl who refuses to be good anymore. It’s a coming-of-age story, it’s a Bildungsroman and it’s as overused this decade as a plumber’s handkerchief. If you don’t believe me, have you ever heard of…Brave, the Twilight Trilogy, the Hunger Games trilogy, the 50 Shades Trilogy, etc. Beating a theme into the ground is a time-honored tradition, but recognizing a song on the tail end of the fad with an Oscar? That’s unbelievable.
The repeated lyric “The cold never bothered me anyway” is nonsensical. Is the narrator comfortable with the possibility of social isolation or is she convincing herself she is? Either way, why is the music so dramatic? Wouldn’t a lighthearted approach be more appropriate? It might sound nitpicking, but realize that lyric is a repeated theme in the song and this is also an Academy-award winning song. It should stand up to scrutiny, not crumble before it.
Please know I don’t tear apart music lightly. In high school I felt music tastes should be divided like the Mason-Dixon line, but I’ve mellowed with age. I now subscribe to the “to each his own” philosophy.
But this song is so atrocious, and it’s selection as an award-winning song so misplaced, that something must be said. At least so future generations know we didn’t ALL like it.