I participated in the Idina Menzel Holiday Wishes album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions and deep love of Christmas music are my own.
After the success of Frozen, Idina Menzel is basically a household name; that is, if you have a little girl in your life.
Before she was Elsa, however, she was already a Tony winning musical superstar. Broadway fans know her for originating the roles of Maureen Johnson in Rent and Elphaba from Wicked. Glee watchers know her as Rachel's birth mom, Shelby. Now, the powerhouse singer has a new Christmas album out entitled "Holiday Wishes." You see Idina is so much more than Elsa.
I love the light touch that was given to all of the arrangements; they're perfect counterpoints to Idina's big voice. The composers were also very sensitive to the songs themselves. Often, I feel like musicians try too hard to make a classic or traditional song their own and it ends up becoming more of a study in their genre rather than keeping true to the original melody. Staying true to the song means the artists' voice really shines, and this album is a fabulous example of that.
The only song that was slightly overworked, in my opinion, was "Silent Night". Then again, I think that particular carol is best stripped down to the barest essentials to keep the original intent intact.
Idina has a true Broadway sound to her voice and made good song choices. Of course, she had an excellent duet partner in Michael Buble for "Baby It's Cold Outside." I also liked that there was a variety of traditional and modern carols and songs.
Her rendition of "River" is hauntingly beautiful. But perhaps my favorite track is her original song "December Prayer." It has that tender-moment-in-the-second-act Broadway feel to it.
Beautiful arrangements, lovely instrumentation, stunning voice, sensitively treated classic tunes; what more could I possibly ask for in a Christmas album?
If you'd like to snap up a copy of "Holiday Wishes," you can download it from either iTunes : Holiday Wishes or Amazon: Holiday Wishes or buy the album from Target and get exclusive bonus tracks.
*I may have made up the word squillions.