Idina Menzel: ‘Holiday Wishes’ Album Review

Courtesy of idinamenzel.com
Courtesy of idinamenzel.com

With the Christmas season just around the corner, Broadway star Idina Menzel is already making sure she’s one of the must-haves under sparkling trees across the country. Her newest album, Holiday Wishes is a collection of old holiday favorites with Menzel’s signature and an exciting feature artist. 

The album begins with a familiar Christmas song which immediately shows off Idina’s recognizable vocals and unique tone. “Do You Hear What I Hear” was created back in the 1960s by writer Noel Regney and composer Gloria Shayne. The song was a tribute to the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Idina approaches the song with a very contemporary sound that contrasts beautifully with the traditional choral background voices.  The pop vocals and added runs in the second verse prove that this is her personal rendition of the song. The song ends in a manger setting. But by the time the next song starts, if you’re familiar with the intro, you’ll feel the heat of the fire against your face. 

Menzel executes another contemporary version of an old song in track two “The Christmas Song.” While the chestnuts are being roasted, Menzel’s voice takes you on a journey to every song she’s previously famous for. Her range in this song is quite reminiscent of “Defying Gravity” from the Broadway Show Wicked.  

In “It’s Cold Outside” Menzel not only sings the Swing song perfectly, she invites the king of song covers himself Michael Buble to join her. The song has a live music sound that will make you feel as if you’re in a theater watching yet another musical. Then Menzel flips the switch with her cover of “All I Want for Christmas.”  Reaching all of the major high notes that Mariah Carey can, Idina does remarkably on this song. I dare to say that an R ‘n’ B record isn’t too far fetch for her. 

Idina Menzel’s album is a perfect arrangement of Christmas and Winter songs that for the most part are covers of classic songs. But in track seven, Menzel gives us a taste of her songwriting talent with her original song, “December Prayer”. Not only does the song exhibit her fine ability to construct a melody but the lyrics are truly defined and beautiful. “Watch an angel dancing in the air/To the song/The song within the silence/December Prayer.”

The twelve-track album also includes Menzel’s renditions of “Silent Night, “Holly Jolly Christmas”, and the all-time American favorite “White Christmas”. The Menzel version of “White Christmas” up-plays jazz instrumentals in the composition and added soulful vocals on the overlay. Idina Menzel’s Christmas album is the perfect combination of perfect pitch, extensive range and her ability to personalize any song or character role just like she does on stage. 

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