The Hunger Games – Songs from District 12 and Beyond The Hunger Games – Songs from District 12 and Beyond

The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond

Let me preface this by saying I am a fan of Hunger Games. I was that girl with her nose in a book while walking to the bus stop. I’ve read the entire series and have probably spent way too much time talking about the cast choices for what has been projected to be a massive blockbuster.

That said this will not be some lovey-dovey homage to the soundtrack. I’ve been waiting patiently for this album and it better be good, actually it better be freaking great.

Well, the verdict is in: It’s not anything like I expected, but it’s still pretty damn good.

I was expecting the soundtrack for a tale based on a post-apocalyptic heroine battling a totalitarian society to have more fired-up head-bangers. I wanted to picture Katniss running through the arena with a bow and arrow in hand, kicking tribute ass. I also expected some intense love songs because after all, this is love story of Twilight proportions, minus the whiny, awkward protagonist and pretty vampires.

There are those some of elements, but the album has a sultry, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou soft feel. However, this mix of 16 songs has some fantastic artists and a few bona fide hits. Taylor Swift even surprises us by dropping the pinning puppy-love theme and producing two soulful ballads.

In “Safe and Sound,” Swift’s sweet, soprano vocals harmonize perfectly with The Civil Wars’ folky undertone. This tragic lullaby tugs at your soul and reminds us that we all need to feel safe even when you are surrounded by dangerous circumstances with a simple string accompaniment.

Her second song “Eyes Open” could be perceived as a love song or a cautionary tale. There is a sense of heightened awareness and a deep longing being weighed down by hard times and superstitious situations. The vocals are pretty typical of her style, but an edge emerges from the instrumentals that flow nicely.

My favorite song on the album has to be “One Engine” by the Decemberists. A strong drumbeat and the signature Bob Dylan-like vocals captivate you into nodding your head along. The subtle angst works well and there’s even an awesome guitar rift hidden behind the beat.

Another great song on the album, and also one of the rougher selections, also comes from a surprising source: Kid Cudi. “The Ruler and Killer” has that intense tempo with enraged themes that make you want to start a rebellion against, well, anything. The song wonderfully mixes Kid Cudi’s smooth, almost monotone vocals with Rage Against the Machine-type instrumentals.

Other songs on the album worth listening to are the fiery, fiddle playing “Take the Heartland,” by Glen Hazard and Maroon 5’s “Come Away to the Water” (featuring Rozzi Crane).

“Kingdon Come” by the Civil Wars was a surprisingly likeable as the acoustic guitar and strong male and female leads prove to be pretty powerful, picking up your heartbeat along with the tempo.

Can’t say that I’m a fan of The Low Anthem’s “Lover is Childlike,” it’s just a bit too slow and sappy for my taste and honestly the title kind of creeps me out. But again, it’s still tolerable.

Overall, this album is anything but upbeat. But let’s face it, Katniss is too cool and the story too dark to have any bubblegum pop crap on this soundtrack. Let’s hope the movie does this album, and the book, justice.

1. Abraham’s Daughter by Arcade Fire
2. Tomorrow Will Be Kinder by The Secret Sisters
3. Nothing To Remember by Neko Case
4. Safe & Sound by Taylor Swift
5. The Ruler And The Killer by Kid Cudi
6. Dark Days by Punch Brothers
7. One Engine by The Decemberists
8. Daughter’s Lament by Carolina Chocolate Drops
9. Kingdom Come by The Civil Wars
10. Take The Heartland by Glen Hansard
11. Come Away To The Water by Maroon 5
12. Run Daddy Run by Miranda Lambert
13. Rules by Jayme Dee
14. Eyes Open by Taylor Swift
15. Lover Is Childlike by The Low Anthem
16. Just A Game by Birdy

The Hunger Games - Songs from District 12 and Beyond, reviewed by Laura on 2012-03-23T10:36:38-07:00 rating 4.2 out of 5

Comments are closed.