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‘Let It Go’ from Disney’s ‘Frozen’ stirs up Korean music scene

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Published : 2014-02-14 19:34
Updated : 2014-02-14 19:34

Elsa the Snow Queen from Disney’s animation “Frozen” (Walt Disney Animation Studios)

Two Disney princesses are leading the local music scene and setting new box-office records in South Korea.

Since premiering on Jan. 16, Walt Disney Animation Studio’s recent film “Frozen” has been making local box-office history, becoming the most-viewed animated film in South Korea by attracting over 8 million local viewers according to the Korean Film Council on Tuesday.

Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Snow Queen,” “Frozen” tells the story of Anna, a brave, determined princess who embarks on a journey to find her estranged sister, Elsa, whose “icy powers” have trapped the nation in perpetual winter.

Even more popular than the film itself is its music, given that the entire movie is reminiscent of an icy musical, with a tight storyline and filled with impressive singing by renowned vocalists.

In particular, “Let It Go,” the title track of the movie’s original soundtrack, has topped all of the major music charts in South Korea, a rare and remarkable feat for a foreign movie soundtrack.

“Let It Go,” sung by veteran Broadway singer-songwriter Idina Menzel, also the voice of Elsa in the movie, is essentially a powerful musical declaration by the ostracized Elsa the Snow Queen, who decides to “let go” of all her worries upon realizing that she no longer needs to hide her powerful abilities from others.

In South Korea, the widespread popularity of “Let It Go” has prompted many major singers and countless regular people to produce their own cover versions of the song.

Hyolyn from the popular K-pop girl group Sistar released an official Korean version of “Let It Go,” which was inserted at the end of “Frozen” in South Korean theaters. Featuring Hyolyn’s infectious husky vocals and sung in Korean, the remade version of the song has been enjoying as much popularity as the original.

A number of other renowned K-pop female acts have followed suit with their own unique covers of the song, including powerful vocalist Lee Hae-ri of the vocalist duo Davichi; Son Seung-yeon, the winner of South Korea’s popular singing contest show “Voice Korea”; and talented Korean-American solo vocalist Ailee.

Dia of the budding K-pop girl group Kiss&Cry as well as actress Lee Yu-bi also received heightened attention for their unique deliveries of Menzel’s song.

Even male Korean singers joined in the Disney music buzz, showcasing their own interpretations of “Let It Go.” Male singing duo 2BIC produced a soulful R&B version of the song while Korea’s signature trot singer Park Hyun-bin released a bouncy and upbeat trot remake.

Originally prompted by the popularity of “Frozen,” local covers of the movie’s title track have been spreading quickly via social media platforms, further boosting the popularity of the Disney movie among the South Korean audience.

According to official box-office data Tuesday, “Frozen” became the third-most successful foreign film to date, having attracted over 8.02 million local viewers. “Iron Man 3” attracted over 9 million viewers last year, becoming the country’s second-most successful foreign film.

Given the surging popularity of “Frozen,” some film experts are projecting that the film may become the first animation to attract over 10 million moviegoers in South Korea. So far, the only foreign movie that has surpassed the 10 million mark is James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster hit “Avatar” in 2009, with 13.30 million spectators.

By Sohn Ji-young (jiyoung.sohn@heraldcorp.com)

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