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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Column: Hunger Games

Okay, so can we all acknowledge the pure beauty of the Hunger Games music? Yes, I know all of you have probably willingly dragged yourselves to your local theatre to witness the “movie of the year” (don’t they call every action-packed popular book-turned movie that?), so you should be able to follow along quite nicely with my spiel.

With any high-profiting movie these days, Hollywood knows to put out multiple records. Hire a well-known and talented composer for the movie and build up the hype by adding a whole other list of songs written by famous chart-topping artists. Hey, it’s a formula that works both for me and for the record companies.

Let us delve first into the movie score itself. Composed by James Newton Howard. I have to confess my love for his work — I mean, my GOD. His beautiful creations for Peter Pan, The Dark Knight, I Am Legend and Blood Diamond already give him the credentials to last a lifetime. I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t download the entire Peter Pan soundtrack when it came out in 2003 and that the songs don’t still remain in the Top 25 Most Played on my iTunes. I’m not going to lie because there’s no shame in appreciating the magic behind the emotions in a story.

Yes, many critics have complained that James Newton Howard didn’t create enough of a memorable soundtrack with a single song that distinguishes this movie from the rest. They just haven’t really realized that no movie will be able to do that after Harry Potter … and it hasn’t hit them that the Hunger Games series, sadly, won’t reach the literary greatness of the Twilight series.

Please tell me you understand that I’m joking with that last statement. I’m a die-hard Harry Potter fan for life — I just understand and have come to terms with the fact that other book series need to emerge and make their way onto the big screen. So naturally, I’ll check out the movie scores to add any emotional songs to my collection.

But let’s now venture into the more popular and mainstream music that we’re all aware of: the soundtrack of the credits and the songs that represent different scenes of the movie. Titled “The Hunger Games (Songs from District 12 and Beyond),” this album contains some of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard this year. With a folksy, country and indie vibe to them, the songs transport you back to the heart-wrenching scenes that you couldn’t take your eyes away from.

Boasting artists such as Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Birdy, Arcade Fire and The Civil Wars, the album already sounded promising. But as soon as you reluctantly pressed play on the Taylor Swift collaboration with The Civil Wars, your jaw probably dropped. My friends who refuse to enjoy her music were surprised at the eerie sounds coming from headphones I had stuck in their ears. The music video itself is so different than her normal get-up of teenage angst, and I think it was a great choice that Swift’s team made to get her involved with something that would not only challenge her style but allow her to branch out to The Civil War’s fanbase.

If you haven’t heard of Birdy’s cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” then I don’t know who you are. Seriously, it’s a beautiful cover that I would contest is better than the original. She performs the song “Just a Game” on this soundtrack — I can’t be the only one when I say that I was super excited to see more work from this up-and-coming young girl.

I was disappointed that these songs weren’t actually incorporated into the actual movie, and I have no doubt that they would improve (if possible) this awesome movie. But I’m totally satisfied with listening to both soundtracks on repeat when I can’t afford to go see the movie every weekend. Every emotion and story line is displayed perfectly with every song on both records that all I need to do is close my eyes and pretend that I too am being fought for by Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson.

You know you want to torrent both of these records now. ELIZABETH ORPINA can be contacted at arts@theaggie.org.

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