Film fans across the globe are avidly awaiting the next installment of the Hunger Games, where the sequel ‘Catching Fire’ is already expected to be bigger, better and more intense than it’s feisty little forerunner.
In most cases a big Hollywood blockbuster is often accompanied by an epic soundtrack, and yep you guessed it the Hunger Games is no exception. With 15 tracks featuring the likes of Coldplay, Christina Aguilera and The National to name just a few, it almost certainly seems destined for success.
Will the heavyweights of pop be atmospheric enough to keep the Hunger Games alive? We listened to the album to find out...
Coldplay - ‘Atlas’
The opening track by Coldplay is the bands first ever song to be written exclusively for a movie, so we’re expecting pretty special things here. Over the years there are a few things we’ve come to expect from Coldplay, a fancy live light show and Chris Martin writing peace messages on his hand are just some of them. Aside from that though, Martin never fails to command an audience with his unique vocal tone and intrinsically well-written lyrics. ‘Atlas’ is no different; it’s a heartfelt opener with the band sounding more inspiring than ever before.
Of Monsters and Men – ‘Silhouettes’
Popular Icelandic indie folk band Of Monsters and Men have a hard spot to follow after Coldplay’s anthemic opener. The quintet does well to fit the films' moody feeling, yet there’s a lack of empathy and originality here. The song is also missing that certain charm that we’ve come to expect from the quirky group, which is a real shame. Nevertheless, the song will most likely blend into the film with ease, but it’s not a stand out track by any means.
Sia (feat. The Weeknd & Diplo) – ‘Elastic Heart’
Perhaps she’s not quite a household name yet, but Sia has made humble success with hits you’d recognise with David Guetta and Flo Rida. That’s not to say this lady isn’t a star in her own right though, where ‘Elastic Heart’ goes out to prove this. The funky little electro number adds a real sassiness to the mix, whilst also managing to keep it real.
Sia’s vocal talent is incredible, where she really shines through with her beautiful tonality and well penned magnetic pop song. Sure she draws sound similarities to Rihanna, but isn’t there always room for another feisty female?
The National – ‘Lean’
Zero effort is required when listening to this song, just sit back, relax and swoon. The melancholy track showcases gentle guitar slides and droning baritone vocals from Matt Berninger, which are perfect for a darker and more mysterious mood to add depth to the soundtrack.
Christina Aguilera – ‘We Remain’
Up next is a complete juxtaposition in sound as Aguilera’s ‘We Remain’ introduces itself as a catchy little number from the word go. Not one to shy away from a good old-fashioned film soundtrack the pop princess manages to maintain her crown for outstanding contemporary belter, where it has sing-along with your karaoke machine written all over it. We almost feel like we’re back in the 90s.
The Weeknd – ‘Devil May Cry’
The track captures a real element of emotion, where we feel an implication of how this track could capture an epic cinema moment. With an unexpected RnB beat mixed in with the fusion of classical twists and Michael Jackson-esque vocals this song really will keep you on your toes.
Imagine Dragons – ‘Who We Are’
Perhaps one of the heavier acts to feature on the album; Imagine Dragons do well to distinguish themselves from the other bands on the bill. The grungy textures, dirty bass line and rhythmic drums add a much-needed grit to the album, which is a neat comparison to some of the previous pop sheen. Now that we’re approaching mid album point the track hints at the films darkening and unraveling story line.
Lorde – ‘Everybody Wants To Rule the World’
Singing sensation of the moment Lorde has quickly become famous for her dark and chaotic songs, where at the tender age of 17 she’s already singing about experiences way beyond her years. This doesn’t stop the teenager having a good crack at the soundtrack malarkey, where she covers the 1985 hit originally sang by Tears for Fears.
Lorde’s rendition showcases her deep vocal register and cinematic sound, which impressively manages to give her standout vocal presence from other artists on the album. This girl means business and her haunting rendition of the late 80’s classic will literally leave you with goose pimples.
The Lumineers – ‘Gale’
Rustic in sound and a hint of cowboy swagger, you can just about imagine Katniss Everdeen roaming around District 12 dreaming of a better life (pre Hunger Games obviously). The acoustic track is short and sweet, but doesn’t stand out as anything more than another track filler.
Ellie Goulding – ‘Mirror’
Goulding sticks to what she does best here, bringing us an achingly powerful electro pop track. Her haunting melodies and clever implementation of synth build impact and add something new and exciting to the soundtrack.
Lyrics “I was the girl who was on fire” are nice little touches to the theme, where Ellie’s distinctive vocal sound doesn’t go unnoticed. The beautiful track is most definitely a standout song of the album.
Patti Smith – ‘Capitol Letter’
As an American singer-songwriter, poet and visual artist, Patti Smith was always going to add something different to the mix wasn’t she? Most famous for her influence during the punk rock movement in 1975, it’s clear that Smith hasn’t lost her roots and her aggressively assertive lyrics draw from those experiences. The song will definitely fit in with the moody theme of the film, but we’re not so sure if it’s really vendible outside of that.
Santigold – ‘Shooting Arrows At the Sky’
Santigold knows how to make a feel good track, which will get you dancing and singing along. ‘Shooting Arrows At the Sky’ is no exception to that expectation, which is a nice draw from some of the more downbeat and slightly depressing tracks.
Mikky Ekko – ‘Place For Us’
All of the albums better known names have come and gone, so now we’re left with the final three to wrap things up. The newbie does well to cement his grounding on the album, where Ekko’s voice is sincerely touching and perfectly thought provoking.
Phantogram – ‘Lights’
Electro pop at it’s blandest. This track does nothing more than to add another layer to the album, now it just seems like they’re adding extra tracks for the sake of it.
Antony & The Johnsons – ‘Angel On Fire’
The album fizzles out quietly with this moody track, where the atmospheric and sad tones are perhaps hints of what’s to come at the end of the film. When there’s an orchestra you know they mean business, this evocative track can easily be imagined conjuring up tears during a death scene. Slightly morbid but you get the idea.
We always knew from the big names on the album that there would be an impressive array of talent. The depth and thought behind some of these tracks though are second to none, building up an atmospheric and cinematic feel throughout.
Yes there are a few weak tracks in between the major players, but they still all manage to stick to the underlying themes of the film, which draws them all together in a nice little neat Hollywood package. If anything, the soundtrack only makes us anticipate the film all the more and if the music is anything to go by it’ll be a full-blooded sequel to be reckoned with.