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Idina Menzel overwhelms trite lyrics

Upon watching the original Broadway performance of Wicked, one might assume the intensity and power of Tony award-winning Idina Menzel, results from the role, the setting or the score. However, with her third pop release, Menzel proves that this intensity is her own. Her voice and presence is perfect for the Broadway stage yet overpowering in her studio project.

Menzel is best known for the starring role in the box-office smash Wicked, painting her face and arms green for the role of the Wicked Witch of the West. She also portrayed Maureen Johnson in the Broadway and film versions of Rent.

After winning a Tony award for her masterful performance and powerful voice, Menzel went on to co-star in the film Enchanted, as well as release I Stand, her third pop album, on Jan. 29.

The first track, also titled “I Stand”, provides uplifting lyrics and smooth vocals. It is pleasant, catchy and easy to listen to (practically the only requirement of a good pop song). However, the album rolls downhill from the first chorus.

Menzel?s powerful Broadway-style voice made her perfect for the stage. When boxed into a bubblegum pop song, she struggles to fit the genre, overwhelming trite lyrics and proving incongruent with the tune.

She manages the bigger, more serious songs better, such as “Better to have Loved” and “I Feel Everything”. However, listening this album on the way to school or on a run is comparable to watching Saving Private Ryan in the dark with huge speakers blaring. The intensity of the albums makes casual listening impossible.

Menzel reminded me why her Broadway performance was so fabulous with the last song: a studio version of “Defying Gravity”, her signature song from Wicked. She lends her personality to the song and the character, making the defiant and independent lyrics soar.

The single “Brave”, the first release from the album, contains a good melody and strong, uplifting lyrics – more than enough to make it a fan favorite. However, it lacks an outlet for Menzel’s strong point: her powerful voice. This makes her music pleasant but not individual.

Idina Menzel’s album is available at any local music retail center for about $15. For buying information, visit Barnes and Noble.

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