The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 & Beyond – Various Artists (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
RATHER like the recent Twilight franchise, The Hunger Games has got in on the act by releasing a soundtrack of songs inspired by the film, featuring a who’s who of some of the leading names in contemporary music.
But there’s a darkness and a sorrow associated with the movie that translates well to the soundtrack and in its selection of artists ranging from Arcade Fire, The Secret Sisters, The Decemberists and The Low Anthem.
Admittedly, there are some marquee names (or easy chart pleasers) such as Taylor Swift and Maroon 5 who look guaranteed to boost sales merely by their presence.
But in the main, this is a collection of songs that work well in their own right and which reflect the mood and essence of the film for most of the time.
Of the highlights, Arcade Fire’s Abraham’s Daughter gets things off a supremely atmospheric and foreboding start… a distortion laden guitar and some ominous drumming paving the way for an ethereal song of genuinely haunting quality.
The Secret Sisters’ Tomorrow Will Be Kinder maintains the vibe, albeit in stripped down fashion – a stark vocal set against a tender acoustic backdrop that opens with the telling line: “Black clouds are behind me.” It speaks to the optimism in the film that is a constant presence in spite of the suffering on show.
Neko Case’s Nothing To Remember offers a similarly striking set of female vocals, this time set against a livelier guitar backdrop, but one that contains an element of the ethereal about it.
Taylor Swift teams up with The Civil Wars on Safe & Sound to provide a telling duet with a distinct country-folk leaning, while The Decemberists add a certain folk-rock vibrancy to One Engine which arrives at just the right time in the album.
Such a moment comes in stark contrast, however, to the sparse, melancholy Daughter’s Lament, from the Carolina Chocolate Drops, or the intimate folk of The Civil Wars’ Kingdom Come.
Maroon 5’s entry, meanwhile, is delivered with Rozzi Crane and is another moody offering that is far from the pop side of song-writing they’re perhaps more synonymous with. It’s a notable song that works well on the vocal trade-off between the singers.
Of note, too, are The Low Anthem’s dusky Lover Is Childlike, Birdy’s Just A Game (with its mournful vocals set against melancholy piano), Glen Hansard’s rousing rocker Take The Heartland and Jayme Dee’s disarming folk offering Rules.
Put together, it’s a nicely realised companion piece for the movie that should delight its legion of fans, while also offering something to people who don’t even intend on seeing it. Just one note, though, why no Lenny Kravitz?
Download picks: Abraham’s Daughter, Tomorrow Will Be Kinder, Nothing To Remember, One Engine, Come Away To The Water, Lover Is Childlike, Rules
- Buy it (Amazon)
- Read our review
- Liam Hemsworth interview
- Elizabeth Banks interview
- The Hunger Games Photo Gallery
- UK Premiere Photo Gallery
- First-look Photo Gallery
- Character Poster Gallery
- The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 & Beyond OST Review
- The Hunger Games Motion Posters