Chances are you've heard of one or both of the award-winning Broadway musicals Wicked and Rent. Or perhaps you saw Disney's new modern fairy tale, Enchanted, last Thanksgiving. Or perhaps you caught Beowulf instead and heard "A Hero Comes Home" in the credits. If any of the above is true, then you have heard the voice of Idina Menzel, a Broadway superstar whose solo album I Stand was recently released.
Idina Menzel's Broadway debut was as Maureen in the original cast of Rent, the famous rock opera by Jonathan Larson, for which she received a Tony nomination. She recently reprised that role on the big screen in the cinematic version of Rent.
Idina went on to star in more well-known shows including Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party, Hair and most recently, Wicked, one of Broadway's current best-sellers.
After winning a Tony Award for her portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West in Wicked, Idina opened the show in London for her West End debut. She's proven herself to be an extremely talented and versatile singer and actress with a unique voice, which is one of the reasons she sticks out so much on Broadway.
I Stand is a pop album that isn't at all similar to a Broadway musical. Most of the music is written or co-written by Idina herself, and the subject matter is her life. In the past, I've thought a lot of Idina Menzel's songs were mediocre, but I put up with them to hear her sing. Her voice is just phenomenal and so different from other singers you hear today. However, I Stand is filled with many catchy melodies and clever lyrics. Each song has a different feel - there are slow, inspirational ballads like "Brave" and upbeat tunes like "Gorgeous."
The songs really reveal a lot about Idina, and honestly, her insecurity is refreshing. In a business where being perfect may seem as though it were the only option, Idina is willing to bare her soul to the world. The fact that these songs are honest only makes them more appealing.
Ultimately, I Stand is an enjoyable album. It's filled with good music, impressive vocals and a story that producer Glen Ballard says is "worth hearing." I was slightly disappointed with all the added effects in the majority of the songs. Personally, I think Idina Menzel's voice needs no embellishment, so the effects didn't add anything.
That's why I recommend buying the extended edition, which comes with two extra tracks, one of which is an acoustic version of the title song and demonstrates the true strength of her voice. The music isn't brilliant, but it's very enjoyable and impressive. Ultimately, I Stand would be a great addition to any collection.