There’s a lot to love about the “Frozen” movies – crowd-pleasing sisterhood, high fantasy, fairy-tale high jinks and an uber-cute snowman – but come on. It’s all about the tunes.
Disney movies have been churning out awesome songs since before most “Frozen” fans were born, and the latter bit of the 20th century was a golden era, giving us spectacular numbers like “Beauty and the Beast,” “Part of Your World” and “A Whole New World.” The Oscar-winning hit “Let It Go” (from 2013's original “Frozen”), though, can hang with the best in Mickey Mouse’s jukebox, and it's part of a soundtrack that's chock-full of standouts written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.
The new animated sequel “Frozen 2” (in theaters now) adds even more to the canon, plus returns a cast full of talented voices pulled from stage and screen: “Let It Go” chanteuse Idina Menzel (as magical queen Elsa), Kristen Bell (proudly oddball princess Anna), Josh Gad (adorable snowman Olaf) and Jonathan Groff (rugged iceman Kristoff).
With a host of new tunes, which is the best? Does “Let It Go” still rule? In honor of the new film, here are all the “Frozen” movie songs, definitively ranked:
15. ‘Frozen Heart’ (‘Frozen’)
A movie centered on the love between two sisters starts with a chanting number featuring a whole bunch of ice-harvesting dudes. The song’s just OK, but it does give us a first look at how utterly adorable Kristoff and his reindeer best pal Sven were when they were little.
14. ‘Fixer Upper’ (‘Frozen’)
A bunch of trolls take the spotlight to convince Anna that Kristoff is actually a catch even though he doesn’t seem like it, i.e. having a friendship with a reindeer that’s “a little outside of nature’s laws.” While not an essential tune to the plot, it’s a fun little romp that acts as a palate cleanser before the action-packed ending.
13. ‘Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People’ (both films)
For one thing, it’s not really a song as much as it’s a goofy interlude where Kristoff and Sven (by way of Kristoff) agree that humans can be exhausting. And then there’s the film's faulty grammar: Reindeer is the plural, no “s”! It’s a lighthearted ditty to flesh out Kristoff’s character in the first film, though its “Frozen 2” reprise proves meaningful, when Sven gives his pal a green light to let loose his feelings.
12. ‘All Is Found’ (‘Frozen 2’)
The sequel’s prologue takes us back to Anna and Elsa’s childhood, and this is the harpsichord-laden lullaby that their mom (Evan Rachel Wood) sang to them. A moody number about a legendary river “where all is found,” it foreshadows the deep mythology unveiled later in the movie and sets a darker musical tone.
11. ‘Some Things Never Change’ (‘Frozen 2’)
The new film takes the form of a more traditional musical, so this is the more traditional opening number, where Anna, Olaf, Elsa and Kristoff (plus Sven!) all get to introduce their bits connecting to the big “Frozen 2” theme: changes aplenty. Not only will it get your toes tapping early, but it’s one of the few times where you get to hear all of these talented voices in the same song.
10. ‘When I Am Older’ (‘Frozen 2’)
Olaf is already having various internal crises when the happy-go-lucky snowman ventures into an enchanted forest and is chased by a little fire demon and whipped around by the wind. The song highlights the contrasts of a snowman cheerfully trying to keep it together, telling himself it’ll all make sense later, while spurts of musical madness symbolize the chaos around him.
9. ‘Show Yourself’ (‘Frozen 2’)
Elsa’s story culminates in this song, which ties together the big-picture aspects (and Elsa’s mom) from “All Is Found” and the mystery of “Into the Unknown” as the queen of Arendelle begins to see her place in the world as well as understand her own backstory. Also, Menzel gets a vocal workout and it’s a joy to listen to her nail every note in sight.
8. ‘Love Is an Open Door’ (‘Frozen’)
The romance between Anna and Prince Hans (Santino Fontana) was not in the cards – he turned out to be an evil jerk, she slugged him so hard in the nose – but, man, they could duet. “Open Door” is a buoyant meet-cute between two royal youngsters and an ode to (fleeting) first love filled with fun lyrics (“It’s crazy, we finish each other’s …” “Sandwiches.” “That’s what I was going to say!”)
7. ‘The Next Right Thing’ (‘Frozen 2’)
Anna’s usually the peppier of the two sisters, but her most emotional song finds her at rock bottom, suffering a major loss and wondering whether she’ll ever see Elsa again (“The life I knew is over, the lights are out/ Hello darkness, I’m ready to succumb”). Grieving and hopeless, she bravely gets it together and conquers her doubt as Bell gets to belt like Menzel for once.
6. ‘In Summer’ (‘Frozen’)
Having a plucky snowman running around isn’t too far afield for a Disney film. His intro song, though, is what made Olaf an endearing gem: Gad’s little dude scats and shows off some soft shoe running down his favorite stuff about what to do outdoors in summer months, blissfully unaware of what happens to a snowman in the heat.
5. ‘Into the Unknown’ (‘Frozen 2’)
Elsa’s signature song in the sequel has a cool storytelling arc, with the ice-creating queen first balking at a strange melody summoning her and then answering that call, which sets her off on a new adventure. Yet it also acts as an intriguing duet where Elsa and an unknown singer (Aurora) go from being each other’s counterpoints to creating a perfect harmony.
4. ‘Lost in the Woods’ (‘Frozen 2’)
This’ll play best for those with a soft spot for 1980s rock ballads. (Kids, ask your parents about Richard Marx.) The throwback is Kristoff’s time to shine and, yeah, it’s filled with a backing band of reindeer, but there’s also some real depth to a guy getting left behind by his love, setting aside the machismo and laying out his feelings. Too bad it’s not 1986 anymore: Peter Cetera would have done a killer single version.
3. ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman?’ (‘Frozen’)
Your heart will grow several sizes hearing little Anna asking to play with her older sister, who is walled off with her magic in a bedroom. There’s a hopeful quality as Anna gets older and still wants to build a snowman, yet things turn melancholic as the younger sibling tries to reach out (“I’m right out here for you, just let me in”) and is met with silence.
2. ‘For the First Time in Forever’ (‘Frozen’)
Super-duper catchy and soaring, this track beautifully lays bare each sister’s persona on Elsa’s coronation day. Anna is joyfully racing through the castle with the chance to finally be completely happy around other people (“Don’t know if I’m elated or gassy but I’m somewhere in that zone”), though Elsa is dreading having to still stifle her powers and “put on a show” for those same visitors.
1. ‘Let It Go’ (‘Frozen’)
No other Disney song has come close in recent memory to its impact, period. And this is why you recruit a Broadway star like Menzel to completely knock it out of the park. Don’t discount, however, how well placed it is in the movie: We’re mostly in Anna’s corner and Elsa’s still kind of a mystery, but with one master stroke – and a truly fantastic empowerment anthem – it’s impossible not to be roused by Elsa embracing a new freedom (“That perfect girl is gone”) after her grand melodic catharsis. Cue all the goosebumps.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Frozen 2': Every song in both movies, ranked from worst to best