Cover of the regular edition of the Divergent soundtrack
The comparison of Divergent to the Hunger Games is inevitable. Both take place in a future dystopian society with a strong female as the protagonist in a story based on a novel trilogy. Like the two Hunger Games films before it, Divergent has made strong use of a soundtrack to help accompany the story.
Unlike the first Hunger Games soundtrack, however, there isn’t a strong central theme in the songs selected for the Divergent music. This is the real weakness for the soundtrack that shows its inconsistencies early on.
While the opening track, and album’s first promotional single Find You by Zedd, is a pleasant introduction, it isn’t until nearly halfway through that the quality returns to that level with the M83 song I Need You. Beyond that, the next best tracks come from Pretty Lights and Big Deal toward the end.
The most unfortunate thing though, is that the soundtrack was a huge opportunity for Ellie Goulding, who seems to be the central focus of inspiration for the movie’s sound, judging by her three contributions (four on the deluxe edition) and appearance in the film’s score. Beating Heart is the only new song recorded for the film and is the least interesting of her songs as it sounds like a watered down version of her normal style.
While that doesn’t speak to her sound at all, as the others all come from her awesome Halcyon record (albeit the version of Hanging On here is a decent remix), it is lost potential for her since her brand of folktronica/electropop fits hand-in-hand with a story such as this. Her presence should have been larger than it is.
The Goulding sound was in mind beyond Ellie’s contributions through other selections including one of the bonus tracks, Waiting Game by Banks. Banks has a sound very reminiscent of Fiona Apple and Norah Jones but on this purposely chosen track, she’s very Ellie, and even though it’s relegated to the deluxe edition, it’s the star track and enough to suggest Banks as an artist to watch for.
Divergent seems to have been deemed a second rate Hunger Games and it’s obviously something the producers are aware of. The soundtrack doesn’t have the pull that its older cousin had judging by the lack of star-artists but it’s not a total loss. Even though the songs go all over the place and the contrast between them is sometimes alienating, there are some worth looking in to that may have life beyond the movie.
1. Find You – Zedd [featuring Matthew Koma and Miriam Bryant]
2. Beating Heart – Ellie Goulding
3. Fight For You – Pia Mia [featuring Chance The Rapper]
4. Hanging On [I See MONSTAS Remix] – Ellie Goulding
5. I Won’t Let You Go – Snow Patrol
6. Run Boy Run – Woodkid
7. Backwards – Tame Impala and Kendrick Lamar
8. I Need You – M83
9. In Distress – A$AP Rocky featuring Gesaffelstein
10. Lost And Found [ODESZA Remix] – Pretty Lights
11. Stranger – Skrillex [with Killagraham from Milo & Otis and Sam Dew]
12. Dream Machines – Big Deal
13. Dead In The Water – Ellie Goulding
14. I Love You – Woodkid
15. Waiting Game – Banks
16. My Blood – Ellie Goulding