For the First Time in Forever

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"For the First Time in Forever"
Song by Kristen Bell & Idina Menzel
from the album Frozen
Published Wonderland Music Company
Released November 25, 2013
Recorded 2013[1]
Genre Show tune
Length 3:46
Label Walt Disney
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Frozen track listing
"Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"
(2)
"For the First Time in Forever"
(3)
"Love Is an Open Door"
(4)

"For the First Time in Forever" is a song from Disney's 2013 animated feature film Frozen, with music and lyrics composed by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. It is reprised later in the musical. Both versions are sung by sisters Princess Anna (Kristen Bell) and Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel).

Production[edit]

The song was composed relatively late in the production process in June 2013.[2] This was only five months before the film's November 27, 2013 release date, when the filmmakers were scrambling to make the film work after realizing in February it still wasn't working.[3][4][5][6]

The original version of the song contained a line about "I hope that I don't vomit in his face," which was deemed unacceptable by Disney as a reference to bodily fluids.[7] The Lopezes' daughter, Katie, came up with the replacement line that ended up in the film: "I wanna stuff some chocolate in my face."[7]

As for the reprise, there was originally a different confrontation lyric for the scene where Elsa strikes Anna with her powers entitled "Life's Too Short" (the premise being that life is too short to waste it with someone who doesn't understand them), which itself would have been reprised later when the sisters realize that life's too short to live life alone. As the characters evolved throughout the writing process (specifically Elsa was turned from a villain to a tragic hero), the song was deemed too vindictive and was instead replaced with a reprise of this song, to create a motif.[8] "Life's Too Short" survives as a demo track on the Deluxe Edition of the movie soundtrack, and part of the melody was reused in Frozen Fever for the song "Making Today A Perfect Day".

When the necessity of a reprise dawned upon Anderson-Lopez, she wrote it in only about 20 minutes, and then successfully pitched it on her own to the Disney production team, as Lopez was already with the team in Los Angeles trying to fix "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"[9]

Synopsis[edit]

Original[edit]

Elsa sings a solemn and frightened counterpoint melody to Anna's bright and cheery song of anticipation. This dynamic is reprised later in the film when Anna confronts Elsa in her ice tower.

In the first version, the song shows Anna's happiness and naive optimism when preparing for Elsa's coronation. During the third verse, Elsa sings a counterpoint melody (with some of the same lyrics that are later used as the first verse of "Let It Go"), in which she expresses her fear of accidentally revealing her ice powers and her anxiety about opening the gates. During her solo, Elsa practices her role in the coronation on a box and candlestick in her a room. Elsa orders the guards to open the gates, and Anna joyfully wanders down a causeway into the town against the flow of guests arriving. The song is cutoff mid-note when Anna crashes into Hans's horse, and subsequently falls into a rowboat. This version goes up a half-step with each verse, starting in F major and ending in G major for the finale.

Reprise[edit]

In the reprise, Anna has arrived at Elsa's ice palace to try to get her to unfreeze the kingdom, after she unknowingly sparked an eternal winter. She also wants Elsa to come back so that they can rekindle their once close relationship as sisters . However, Elsa refuses because she feels she cannot control her powers and that she is better off alone where she can't hurt anyone. As Anna's tries to reason with her sister, Elsa's fear intensifies, resulting in her being covered in a blizzard of ice particles as a physical manifestation of her emotions, and she blocks out Anna's calming words. At one point Elsa turns her back to her sister to form a two shot west, a blocking technique normally used in American soap operas. Finally, paranoid and lost, Elsa lets out a yell, and accidentally blasts Anna in the heart with the accumulated ice particles, thereby freezing it (an act which Pabbie and the trolls note to be fatal).

The reprise uses a different melody from the original. Namely, Anna's parts are in a major key while Elsa's counterpoint is in a minor key, highlighting the opposite emotions the two characters have at this point in time. After Anna is inadvertently struck by Elsa's magic, the percussion includes part of the music from "Frozen Heart".

Critical reception[edit]

Anna picks up three ducklings while singing the original version of the song.

Both iterations have received very positive reviews. NeonTommy described it as "A classic “I want” song (think Part of Your World or When Will My Life Begin?) with a sprinkle of self-awareness", and said "this song puts a nice new spin on a familiar form...Lopez and Anderson-Lopez keep the tune fresh, and Kristen Bell’s charming and bright delivery of the peppy lyrics is endearing."[10] GeeksOfDoom said "Who would have guessed that Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel would make such a nice duo? Bell adds some humor with her effervescent spirit and amusing lyrics, whereas Menzel lends the signature Broadway voice. You know a song provides further significance when it moves the story, as opposed to stops the film completely, and this one perfectly represents the former. “First Time” conveys Anna’s hopefulness and openness, contrasting with Elsa’s close-minded and fearful vibe."[11] In a negative review, SputnikMusic said "“For the First Time in Forever,” with its lyrical clunkers like “Don't know if I'm elated or gassy / But I'm somewhere in that zone” and poor performance decisions like the ham-fisted pause before Elsa “opens the gates” and Anna’s meaningless harmonization shortly thereafter, represents the downhill slide and subsequent face-first mud landing of the soundtrack over the course of its runtime".[12] The Hollywood Reporter described it as a "big number", and "the centerpiece of the original songs".[13] StitchKingdom said: "The ‘I Want’ song, the composition and lyrics feed off Anna’s frenetic and anxious energy and awkwardness, a classic example of mixing sophistication with silliness".[14] Rochester City Newspaper wrote " For the First Time in Forever suffers from a fairly run-of-the-mill chorus tune, but smartly makes up for it with catchy verses, amusing lyrics (“Don’t know if I’m elated or gassy / But I’m somewhere in that zone!”) and a great performance from Kristen Bell, showing off protagonist Princess Anna’s quirky side while still longing for a ball, a man, and some basic human interaction."[15]

Reprise[edit]

"For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)"
Song by Kristen Bell & Idina Menzel
from the album Frozen
Published Wonderland Music Company
Released November 25, 2013
Recorded 2013[1]
Genre Show tune
Length 2:30
Label Walt Disney
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Frozen track listing
"In Summer"
(7)
"For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)"
(8)
"Fixer Upper"
(9)

NeonTommy wrote "This song balances really well between long, powerful phrases and banter-like recitative, and is a great illustration of the dynamic between Anna and Elsa. It’s also the first time where we get to hear Anna and Elsa sing as equals (the earlier version of this song is more about Anna than it is about Elsa), so it’s quite fun to hear this song between two sisters."[10] GeeksOfDoom wrote "The reoccurrence of the “sister song” signifies how Elsa has changed, much unlike Anna, who still sees the potential of their relationship. The song incorporates polyphony and intensifies their emotions as it builds to a crescendo. While it’s not a substantial addition – the scene could have played out just as well without music – it’s still entertaining".[11] StitchKingdom wrote "The words and melody are just about the only thing this song has in common with its namesake. Anna’s desperate plea to Elsa, this song also features one of the most complex arrangements found on the soundtrack, giving it a haunting and to a professional effect in a way seldom seen on the stage, let alone in family films. The song also treads dangerously along the operetta line at times which puts a unique spin on it."[14]

Other languages[edit]

Several other language versions of the song have also been successful. The Japanese-language version called "Umarete Hajimete" (生まれてはじめて, "For the first time in life") was sung by Takako Matsu and Sayaka Kanda, who played Elsa and Anna respectively. It appeared on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 in between April and June 2014, peaking at number 19, and was popular enough to be certified platinum for 250,000 digital downloads by the RIAJ in September 2014.[16][17] The Korean-language version, sung by Park Ji-Yun (ko) and Park Hyena (ko), reached 129 on the Gaon Singles Chart being downloaded 14,000 times, while the reprise version peaked at 192 with 8,000 downloads.[18][19]

Since 2013, some local TV stations and independent studios have been dubbing the movie in their local languages, creating some unofficial dubs. Namely: Albanian,[20] Arabic TV, Karachay-Balkar,[21] Persian[22] and Tagalog.[23]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2013–14) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[27] 62
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[28] 70
Ireland (IRMA)[29] 54
Japan (Billboard Japan Hot 100)[30] 14
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[31] 37
South Korea (Gaon International Chart)[32] 4
South Korea (Gaon Chart)[33] 19
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[34] 38
US Billboard Hot 100[35] 57

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[36] Golddagger 500,000^
Australia (ARIA)[37] Golddagger 35,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Performances[edit]

Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel performed both songs together at the Vibrato Grill Jazz Club in Los Angeles to celebrate the film.[38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Williams College (June 30, 2014). "Exploring the Songs of "Frozen" with Kristen Anderson-Lopez '94". YouTube. 19:24: Williams College. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ Williams College (June 30, 2014). "Exploring the Songs of frozen" with Kristen Anderson-Lopez '94". YouTube. 19:24: Williams College. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 
  3. ^ Gross, Terry (April 10, 2014). "Transcript: Songwriters Behind 'Frozen' Let Go Of The Princess Mythology". Fresh Air. NPR. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  4. ^ Hunsaker, Andy (March 18, 2014). "The Real-Life Ice Hotel That Inspired Disney's ‘Frozen’". CraveOnline. CraveOnline Media. Retrieved April 5, 2014. 
  5. ^ Laskowski, Amy (February 28, 2014). "Frozen Producer Heads to the Oscars". BU Today. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ Keegan, Rebecca (May 9, 2013). "Disney is reanimated with 'Frozen,' 'Big Hero 6'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Watkins, Gwynne (January 15, 2014). "Frozen Composers Assess 6 Fan-Created Homages to Their Songs". Vulture.com. New York Media LLC. Retrieved July 14, 2014. 
  8. ^ Williams College (June 30, 2014). "Exploring the Songs of "Frozen" with Kristen Anderson-Lopez '94". YouTube. 37:55: Williams College. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ Williams College (June 30, 2014). "Exploring the Songs of "Frozen" with Kristen Anderson-Lopez '94". YouTube. 39:30: Williams College. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Soundtrack Review: 'Frozen' | Neon Tommy
  11. ^ a b Disney In Depth: ‘Frozen’ Soundtrack Review
  12. ^ Review: Disney Soundtracks - Frozen: better sound track | Sputnikmusic
  13. ^ Frozen: Film Review - The Hollywood Reporter
  14. ^ a b REVIEW: 'Frozen' Soundtrack Disney's Best Since 'Beauty and the Beast' | Stitch Kingdom
  15. ^ CD Review: Disney's "Frozen" Soundtrack | Music Reviews | Rochester City Newspaper
  16. ^ "Japan Billboard Hot 100 2014/05/12". Billboard (in Japanese). May 12, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ レコード協会調べ 8月度有料音楽配信認定 [Record Association Investigation: August Digital Music Download Certifications] (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. September 19, 2014. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Gaon Digital Chart 2014년 3월 2주차". Gaon (in Korean). March 1, 2014. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Gaon Download Chart 2014년 3월 2주차". Gaon (in Korean). March 1, 2014. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  20. ^ Disney Albania (2015-12-11), Frozen - Let It Go - Albanian Version | Mbretëresha e Dëborës - Dubluar në Shqip, retrieved 2016-08-24 
  21. ^ Lucas Zúñiga (2016-06-26), Frozen - Let It Go (Karachay) [Movie Version], retrieved 2016-08-24 
  22. ^ Glory Tehran (2014-10-16), Frozen Persian Dub - Behind the Mic - Glory دوبله گلوری, retrieved 2016-08-24 
  23. ^ "Synchresis Inc. | Dubbing | Philippines". Synchresis Inc. | Dubbing | Philippines. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  24. ^ "Anna". Charguigou. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  25. ^ "Elsa". Charguigou. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  26. ^ "Disney принцеса пропя на български". inews.bg. January 23, 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  27. ^ "ARIA Chartifacts 19-May-2014". ARIA. May 19, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Kristen Bell – Chart history" Canadian Hot 100 for Kristen Bell.
  29. ^ "Chart Track: Week 10, 2014". Irish Singles Chart.
  30. ^ "Japan Billboard Hot 100 2014/04/21". Billboard (in Japanese). April 21, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Archive Chart: 2014-04-19". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  32. ^ "Gaon Digital Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. 
  33. ^ "Gaon Digital Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Chart. 
  34. ^ "Archive Chart: 2014-04-19" UK Singles Chart.
  35. ^ "Kristen Bell – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Kristen Bell.
  36. ^ "American single certifications – Kristen Bell – For the First Time in Forever". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  37. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2014 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  38. ^ "'Frozen': For the first time in forever, watch the cast sing live". Retrieved 2016-07-09.