I saw Idina Menzel sing “Let It Go” during the Oscars show, and I saw Majesty Rose sing it last night on “American Idol.” Composed by Kristin Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for the Disney film Frozen — in which a princess sings it after realizing that she no longer needs to keep her amazing ice-creating powers a secret and can now be her authentic self — this song won an Academy Award.
Someday I might see the film and put this song in context and thus not sound like an ignorant whiner, but for now I’ll just say that hearing this song’s lyrics twice made me depressed in the way that modern song lyrics — especially those ostensibly aimed at girls and women — often do. Its message boils down to: I’m great! I’m powerful! I’m no longer oppressed by others! I’m fabulous and free! Look at me!”
Which, psychologically, OK. Who wants to be trapped inside a tiny box crafted by others, based on their expectations of whom we should be? As a person with low self-esteem, I should welcome such songs, which now comprise an ever-larger genre all their own. But self-esteem songs just make me squirm. They’re affirmations, set to soaring music. They’re love songs, sure — but love songs sung to the self, with overly obvious, tedious, shallow, pandering lyrics that mark them as having been authored by people with high self-esteem for people with low self-esteem. Credibility fail. Academy Award aside, artistry fail. Your mileage may vary.