Mike’s Favorite Original Songs of the Decade: #10 – “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” from Frozen
10. “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” from Frozen
How could you not begin the top ten with this song? This song is joy personified. The unbridled optimism of childhood. This is the moment in the film where you know it’s special. You know you’re in for an amazing movie. Because the beginning… cutting the ice, the bit about the trolls and the powers, okay, sure. But this song is really the moment you settle in and fall in love with the characters. This song became instantly iconic.
And, even better, it furthers the plot. There are two time lapses over the course of the song. Which, of course, can be one of the knocks against the song, that it’s only small pieces of a song and doesn’t actually do much more than the central ‘chorus’. But you know what? No one really remembers that. Everyone remembers ‘do you wanna build a snowman’. (Plus, shout out to the way they sing it. How can you not feel bad when she says “Okay bye…”?)
But I love the idea that this refrain of her trying to bond with her sister over building a snowman is a thing that highlights their relationship over the years. It’s such economic storytelling. It’s almost the ‘Married Life’ montage from Up in terms of how perfectly it encapsulates an entire relationship in a few minutes. And their parents die during the song! Which gives you that really touching third verse, which is really the reason this song is here. The fact that you have this refrain that you already understand is the thing that unites the two sisters, so now that it’s just them, you have Anna knocking on Elsa’s door, as if to say, “Please, if not now, after this tragedy, when will you talk to me?” And she defaults to the one thing she knows she has in common with her. The half-hearted way Kristen Bell delivers the line, too, is just perfect. It’s hard to have a song do as much for its film as this one does.