‘Hunger Games’ Album Aims to Reinvent the Soundtrack Game
Maybe you were expecting the Hunger Games companion album to bear some similarities to the Twilight soundtracks… aggressive-sounding, and aggressively youth-oriented, no?
Think again. The track listing for The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 isn't the stuff that movie blockbuster souvenirs are usually made of. Take a look at the artist lineup—chock full of quiet or acoustically based acts like the Civil Wars, Neko Case, the Decemberists, and the Low Anthem--and you might think you've mistakenly been slipped the nominees' list for the Americana Music Awards.
But the decision to imbue the soundtrack with serious cred makes sense when you consider that the Hunger Games book series, once thought the province of the "young adult" market, crossed over to not-so-young adults a long time ago. Director Gary Ross' decision to hire esteemed friend T Bone Burnett to produce the soundtrack sent out a signal to those few remaining grown-ups who might not yet have caught Katniss fever: This is for you, too.
"Isn't it great to put something in the world that doesn't feel predictable?" asks Lionsgate's head of film music, Tracy McKnight. "I think the misconception is that, just because you have a book that appeals to a certain demographic, it's going to go a certain way. But what we tried to do was have a selection of music that really fit the story of The Hunger Games, and our only preconceived idea was about approaching artists who would connect to the material. We always knew we wanted to make a record that was a great listening experience from beginning to end. We're giving the audience something really special that they get to discover, instead of it just being pre-stamped and saying 'Here's your teen album.'"
Swift in the
Swift in the
"One of the reasons I wanted to be a part of this soundtrack is that the people in charge of putting this movie together are obsessed with making the music match the tone of the movie and the emotions expressed in the book," Swift told Yahoo! in an interview on the eve of the film's premiere. "They are in love with the characters and have thought about every detail that has gone into this movie. When I first met with the people from Lionsgate and T Bone, they said, 'We're trying to make music that reflects what Appalachian music will sound like in 300 years.' That authenticity was why I wanted to write music for this soundtrack."