The Twilight Soundtrack Remains Incredible 13 Years Later

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Photo credit: IMDB
Photo credit: IMDB


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Much like Edward Cullen himself, the first Twilight soundtrack's overall vibe is sharp-toothed, lovesick, and a little bit emo.

The Twilight Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on November 4, 2008, weeks ahead of the film's November 21 premiere. By September 2009, it had sold 2.2 million copies, "a once-routine quantity that in an age of depressed sales has become tantalizingly rare," as the New York Times put it back then. Its popularity can't be solely pinned on fans' need to mentally relive the musical cues for Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson)'s courtship. It is beloved because the soundtrack is straight-up excellent.

At the height of their ubiquity, reception to the Twilight Saga movies and the Stephenie Meyer novels they're based on was generally mixed—though it should be noted that anything principally made for and loved by teenage girls is derided and presumed unserious, regardless of its quality. Still, even the surliest Twilight critics would have to agree that the choices were a hip and masterfully curated snapshot of early 2000s coolness. Just ask reformed surly Twilight critic Robert Pattinson, who in 2019 told USA Today that the five films' song selections "were quite ahead of their time." Per the interview, Pattinson seems to think New Moon had the best Twilight Saga soundtrack (BRB, blasting Death Cab for Cutie's "Meet Me on the Equinox.")

The team behind the movie, particularly music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas, included something for every stripe of alt-rock fan: Paramour and Linkin Park for the Warped Tour set, Perry Farrell for a dash of '90s rock nostalgia, Iron and Wine for the late-aughts music blog snobs, and Collective Soul for the...Christian rock crowd. It even features two contributions from Pattinson himself. Pattinson didn't write "Bella's Lullaby," on piano though; that's composed by Carter Burwell, who did the Twilight score. The soundtrack's perfection also shouldn't be surprising given that author Meyer is a huge music fan too, sharing playlists full of songs that inspired the books. She even dedicated the final book, Breaking Dawn, to the band Muse.

The official version of the soundtrack does have a couple of flaws. The songs are out of their order of appearance in the movie, for one. Track 1 is Muse's "Supermassive Black Hole," a platinum hit that soundtracks the Cullens' epic vampire baseball game. But shouldn't it kick off with the Black Ghosts' "Full Moon?" It sets a gorgeously spooky tone in the movie's opening, as Bella leaves Phoenix to meet her destiny in Forks. "Decode," the song Paramore wrote for the film because Hayley Williams loved the books, is front-loaded as Track 2 even though it plays over the end credits.

And then there are the songs that are flat-out missing. Radiohead's "15 Step" plays at the film's ending as the villainous Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre) spies on Edward and Bella at prom; hear it on their album In Rainbows. Rob Pattinson's "Never Think" appears, but his "Let Me Sign," the song that plays when Bella almost dies after being bitten by vampire James, is only available as a bonus track when you buy the digital album. You can't stream either song on Spotify.

In happier news, Paramore's Twilight songs, "I Caught Myself" and "Decode," are finally available on Spotify as of June 2021. That's perfect timing, given that all five Twilight Saga movies are on Netflix as of July 16.

Twilight soundtrack

Muse, "Supermassive Black Hole"
Paramour, "Decode"
The Black Ghosts, "Full Moon"
Linkin Park, "Leave Out All the Rest"
MuteMath, "Spotlight"
Perry Farrell, "Go All the Way [Into the Twilight]"
Collective Soul, "Tremble for My Beloved"
Paramore, "I Caught Myself"
Blue Foundation, "Eyes on Fire"
Rob Pattinson, "Never Think"
Iron & Wine, "Flightless Bird, American Mouth"
Carter Burwell, "Bella's Lullaby"

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