Day #37: Misreading “Let It Go”

The award-winning song “Let it Go” from the Disney film Frozen has been playing regularly on radios, Ipods, smartphones and other audio devices  since the film’s release.

Idina Menzel’s emotions pour out…her voice, her hands infusing snow crystals that dance and leap to create an an elaborate ice palace. By the end of the song, the character Elsa stands triumphant on the sparkling balcony before defiantly slamming the door on her past. It’s an affirming scene.

After watching the little animation clip from the film and reading the lyrics, however,  I have come to the conclusion that some people do not know what the song is really saying.

On more than one occasion, I have heard people use the song where  the lyrics “let it go” infers surrender. There are parodies where the song is used as a parable of forgiveness. I have even heard one remake of lyrics where the song is used to suggest that a struggle is not necessary.

The lyrics say otherwise.

There is a new found authority that the Princess Elsa unleashes as she sings, “Can’t hold it back any more.”  Triumphant in her own power, the song reverberates with boldness. Furthermore, “It’s time to see what I can do, to test the limits and break through,” do not read as submission, and “You’ll never see me cry,” is more challenge than apologetic.

Maybe all this close reading is actually paying off…

Music and Lyrics composed by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight,
not a footprint to be seen.
A kingdom of isolation and it looks like I’m the queen.
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside.
Couldn’t keep it in, Heaven knows I tried.
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see.
Be the good girl you always have to be.
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.
Well, now they know!

Let it go, let it go!
Can’t hold it back any more.
Let it go, let it go!
Turn away and slam the door.
I don’t care what they’re going to say.
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway.

It’s funny how some distance,
makes everything seem small.
And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do,
to test the limits and break through.
No right, no wrong, no rules for me.
I’m free!

Let it go, let it go.
I am one with the wind and sky.
Let it go, let it go.
You’ll never see me cry.
Here I’ll stand, and here I’ll stay.
Let the storm rage on.

My power flurries through the air into the ground.
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back; the past is in the past!

Let it go, let it go.
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn.
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand, in the light of day.

Let the storm rage on!
The cold never bothered me anyway…

 

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