Soundtrack – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Mockingjay Part 1 SoundtrackOne of the most unfortunate things about the Hunger Games film series being only four films long is that the next film’s soundtrack will be the last.

The Hunger Games have played a huge part in helping to bring excitement back to the movie soundtrack and while the second instalment wasn’t as grand as the first, it’s still been an adventure in itself to discover the artists and songs that make up each, and now that other movies, such as Divergent, have jumped on board, soundtrack compilations are back in full swing.

The collection representing the musical side of Mockingjay Part 1 was curated by Lorde, meaning she had a heavy hand in selecting the artists who would contribute to the project. At first glance, it would seem like a tall order for someone as young as Lorde’s 18-years, but it becomes a quick realization that Lorde shares similarities to Katniss Everdeen: heroine, confident, determined, and possessing a no-nonsense attitude.

Lorde’s selection consists of electronic, synth-pop, hip-hop and R&B, which didn’t really match the image I had of music to represent the dark dystopia of Panem, but underneath the surface is a cohesive group of moody songs based around the story’s plot, evoking the focused determination of the story and doing so while also working well together.

Songs by Chvrches and Tove Lo fit in line with their own respective musical styles, but as musical chapters, they are relevant to the story. So is Kingdom by Charli XCX, who expands upon her established brand of pop tenfold with the gripping ballad featuring a verse by co-writer Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran.

Ariana Grande both looks and sounds out of place with her sweet vocals cleanly mixed on Major Lazer‘s All My Love, until the “mountain top” hook kicks out, feeling so natural in the outer districts that it’s probably the most at-home song of any on the album.

Lorde’s own musical contributions also help define the third Hunger Games, with her single Yellow Flicker Beat sitting at the forefront, while her hook on the Stroma-produced opening track Meltdown provides an early high point that helps set the stage, and raise the bar, with verses from Pusha T, Q-Tip, and HAIM. Later on, she plays a minimal role in the Chemical Brothers/Miguel combo This Is Not A Game that offers an equally high point toward the end.

The Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack stays ahead of the curve by forcing some pretty unlikely collaborations and highlighting some of tomorrow’s biggest names. It isn’t instantly as memorable as the first film’s music but unlike that one, this has the rarity of being made of of songs that work as well on their own as they do together. That type of planning, organization and consistency is deserving of recognition and thumbs up.
Four stars

1. Meltdown – Stroma f/Lorde, Pusha T, Q-Tip and HAIM
2. Dead Air – Chvrches
3. Scream My Name – Tove Lo
4. Kingdom – Charli XCX f/Simon Le Bon
5. All My Love – Major Lazer f/Ariana Grande
6. Lost Souls – Raury
7. Yellow Flicker Beat – Lorde
8. The Leap – Tinashe
9. Plan The Escape – Bat For Lashes
10. Original Beast – Grace Jones
11. Flicker [Kanye West Rework] – Lorde
12. Animal – XOV
13. This Is Not A Game – The Chemical Brothers f/Miguel
14. Ladder Song – Lorde

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