No doubt like many people on this spot, Frozen has become my new obsession. I have, in particular, become interested in the many different language versions of the songs. As "Let It Go" is far and away the best song in the movie, I'm especially interested in its various non-English versions.
After listening to many, many different versions, I've compiled a list of my ten favorite non-English versions. I judged by not just the quality of the singers' voices, but the translation of the lyrics. I don't really care if they differ drastically from the English lyrics; I judged them by how much I liked them on their own.
I've included the titles of them all, and I've written them all in Latin script, even if that particular language is not normally written in Latin. I've also included the names of the singers, in case you are interested in looking up their other works. It's certainly exposed me to some singers I probably wouldn't have heard of otherwise!
I also want to thank the people who uploaded the different versions to YouTube, and those who kindly provided English translation of the lyrics. Thank you for your hard work, it is much appreciated!
And now, the list!
10. Thai version (Ploy Mun Pai ["let it go"]) performed by Gam Wichayanee.
I haven't been able to find the translated lyrics for this version, so I judged it entirely off Ms. Wichayanee's incredibly powerful voice. She belts it out with almost as much gusto as Idina Menzel.
Listen here: link
9. Hebrew version (La'azov ["to leave"]) performed by Mona Mor.
The Hebrew lyrics are very similar to the English ones, translated faithfully to fit the language. Ms. Mor's voice is eerily similar to Ms. Menzel's, maybe not quite as powerful but beautiful nonetheless.
8. Latino Spanish version (Libre Soy ["I am free"]) performed by Carmen Sahari.
The lyrics are again very similar to the English, but as the title implies, more emphasis is placed on Elsa finally feeling free, which I like. Ms. Sahari has a very belt-y voice, which doesn't quite convey the same vulnerability as Ms. Menzel or Ms. Mor's, but the sheer power is amazing.
7. Russian version (Otpusti i zabud ["let go and forget"]) performed by Anna Buturlina.
The translation is a little more free than some of the others, but it's still beautiful, and Ms. Buturlina's voice is just wonderful.
6. Dutch version (Lat Het Gaan ["let it go"]) performed by Willemijn Verkaik.
Ms. Verkaik (who also provides Elsa's German voice) probably has the best voice of anyone on this list. The reason the Dutch version is not higher up is because the Dutch lyrics are not so awe-inspiring. They're good, and they capture the spirit of the original lyrics well, but they're a little too on the nose for my liking (the part where she sings about building her castle while she builds it is a good example.)
Good version and an amazing voice, but the rather humdrum lyrics keep me from placing it higher on the list.
5. Polish version (Mam tę moc ["I have this power"]) performed by Katarzyna Łaska.
Ms. Łaska has a fantastic voice, but the main reason I love this version so much is the stunning lyrics. They deviate from the English lyrics quite a bit, but that doesn't matter because they are just so damn good. There's a sort of icy beauty about them that most other versions don't have. Her voice isn't *quite* as good as the top four, which is why this version is only number five, but I have to say the Polish lyrics are some of the best.
4. Italian version (All'alba sorgerò ["at dawn I will rise"]) performed by Serena Autieri.
The lyrics for the Italian version are VERY freely translated; they have little to do with the English lyrics, but I like them because they convey something that I don't think any of the other versions (including the English) do: Elsa's bitterness about having to hide who she is. We don't see a lot of that in the movie, but I would imagine somewhere buried beneath all that fear and self-loathing is just a smidgeon of anger at having to pretend to be something she's not. The Italian lyrics convey both her relief at finally being able to be herself and a just bit of resentment.
I also LOVE Ms. Autieri's voice. Maybe it's because it's in Italian, the traditional language of opera, but she seems to me to have a more operatic voice than most of the singers, who are more Broadway-esque. Not to say that one is better than the other, I'm just pleased to hear operatic singing in a Disney movie. Harkens back to the gorgeously operatic singing in Sleeping Beauty.
3. Hungarian version (Legyen Hó ["let there be snow"]) performed by Niki Füredi.
The Hungarian lyrics are probably the most freely translated. Almost no lines have anything whatsoever to do with the English lyrics. Yet they have that same icy beauty that I found so enamoring in the Polish version. Much more emphasis is placed on snow and ice in the Hungarian version than in any of the other versions I've found. This has the slight drawback of making the lyrics less about Elsa's feelings, but they are just so stunning that I can't fault them for that. And Ms. Füredi has one of the best voices of them all.
2. Danish version (Lad Det Ske ["let it happen"]) performed by Maria Lucia Heiberg Rosenberg.
Ms. Heiberg Rosenberg probably has the deepest voice of any of these singers. It takes away from Elsa's vulnerability, but it makes her that much more powerful, which fits with the Danish lyrics. Those lyrics are, by the way, somewhat different than the English ones, but they convey much the same spirit: relief that Elsa is able to be who she is and rejoicing in the beauty of her powers. All in all a stupendous version.
And now we've come to the number one spot. The previous nine are all extraordinary versions of this song, but they can never match the magic and majesty of...
... the German version (Lass jetzt los ["let go now"]) performed by Willemijn Verkaik.
Ms. Verkaik did an admirable job as the Dutch voice of Elsa, but the rather bland lyrics held her back from her full potential. The German lyrics, on the other hand, are awesome (in the original sense of the word) and add so much beauty to her incredible voice. They stick fairly close to the English, but there's more of an emphasis on Elsa being forced to repress her emotions and feelings, which adds to the catharsis of the scene as she finally is able to "let it go."
The moving lyrics and Ms. Verkaik's breathtaking voice combine to make my favorite non-English language version of "Let It Go."
What are your favorites?