The Hunger Games Soundtrack26.03.12 # Soundtrack # 3 Comments
The Hunger Games soundtrack. The story goes that by 1965, and the release of that year’s Goldfinger, the James Bond movies were earning such phenomenal sums – and with such rapidity – for Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman’s Eon Productions that the main duty of Eon associate Stanley Sopel in that period was to continuously fly out to Switzerland, laden with suitcases of money in need of banking.
Well, after the weekend just gone, Lionsgate is presumably advertising for its own Sopel, a strong-armed suitcase-carrier, what with The Hunger Games has not only posted the studio’s best-ever first-weekend figures, but also one of the biggest opening grosses of all-time, with only the final Potter film and The Dark Knight outscoring it.
So the movie is a genuine smash hit, having successfully captured that alchemical formula which allows a flick to hook in both a core audience (in this instance the army of teenagers eminently familiar with The Hunger Games via Suzanne Collins’ source novels) and the wider multiplex-frequenting public. But does the soundtrack album (which is really nothing of the sort; a mere handful of its 16 tracks feature in the movie itself) have that same all-round appeal?
Er, no, not really, to put it most succinctly. Subtitled Songs from District 12, the Hunger Games soundtrack proves samey and repetitive, with an overreliance on tasteful-but-dull contributions from indie-folk songstresses. Because although the featured efforts of the Secret Sisters, Neko Case, Jayme Dee and British teen songstress Birdy all variously showcase genuinely beautiful voices and music which is very nice, very tasteful and often rather lovely, there is also an utter drought of ideas, daring our surprise. The overall effect on the listener is akin to coating your brain with a layer of beige paint.
Lab-bred showbiz puppet Taylor Swift follows the formula with her Safe and Sound, only to revert to terrible type with Eyes Open, which sounds like the California Dreams gamely but cluelessly attempting to ‘rock out’. And it’s not only the gals who were apparently privy to the Games-plan either, with the Low Anthem, Punch Brothers and even funk-whacksters Maroon 5 adhering to the tasteful template with all the desperate rigidity of panicked passengers following a flight attendant’s instructions when exiting an ablaze aeroplane.
In such a setting, the Decemberists’ really rather mildly-energised One Engine sounds as exciting as a bareback beachside gallop during a thunderstorm, while Miranda Lambert’s Run Daddy Run also stands out, thanks mainly to the slightly backhanded sneer with which it is delivered. But it’s hard to escape the conclusion that these few highlights can be deemed as such simply because the majority of the album is so tame and mild-mannered.
TRACK 4. Safe and Sound – Taylor Swift (feat. The Civil Wars)
The Hunger Games Soundtrack – Track List
1. Abraham’s Daughter – Arcade Fire
2. Tomorrow will be Kinder – The Secret Sisters
3. Nothing to Remember – Neko Case
4. Safe and Sound – Taylor Swift (feat. The Civil Wars)
5. The Ruler & the Killer – Kid Cudi
6. Dark Days – Punch Brothers
7. One Engine – The Decemberists
8. Daughter’s Lament – Carolina Chocolate Drops
9. Kingdom Come – The Civil Wars
10. Take the Heartland – Glen Hansard
11. Come Away to the Water – Maroon 5
12. Run Daddy Run – Miranda Lambert (feat. Pistol Annies)
13. Rules – Jayme Dee
14. Eyes Open – Taylor Swift
15. Lover is Childlike – The Low Anthem
16. Just a Game – Birdy
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