A Little More Menzel? You Got It!
The soundtrack of Disney’s Frozen has served to bring the voice of Idina Menzel to an even larger mainstream audience than had already heard her work from the stage (Rent, Wicked) and on the small screen (playing Shelby Corcoran on Glee). What you may not remember, however, is that Menzel’s first step in breaking out beyond her Broadway success – and her first non-soundtrack effort to make the charts – came via her 2008 album, I Stand.
Produced by Glen Ballard, who also co-wrote most of the material with Menzel, I Stand was preceded in 2007 by a new dancefloor-friendly take on Wicked’s “Defying Gravity,” a move clearly designed to bridge the gap between Broadway and a bigger audience. It worked, too: the track made it to #5 on the US dance charts. (The song isn’t found on all versions of the album, however, so be aware if you particularly want a copy that includes it.) As it turned out, Menzel ended up pulling an even bigger dance hit with a subsequent single, “Gorgeous,” while another track from the album, “Brave,” proved to be a top-20 single on the Adult Contemporary charts. And as long as we’re mentioning tracks from the album, “Don’t Let Me Down” is also notable, in that it’s written by James Blunt and former Jethro Tull member Peter-John Vetesse.
I Stand didn’t reach quite same heights as some of its singles, but while it wasn’t a chart-topper, it was Menzel’s first charting album on her own, making it to #58 in the States and #54 in the UK. Because we know you might not have picked up on it the first time around, though, we’ve compiled a playlist which features all of the songs from the album, a few remixes and B-sides, and even the post-album single, “Hope,” which didn’t chart but is still a pleasant little ditty in its own right.