The cinematic release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 has been one of, if not, the most anticipated theatrical event of the year. Providing a musical counterpart to the dystopian phenomenon is no easy feat – yet seventeen year old Lorde seems to take it in her stride, enlisting help from her musical peers by curating an appealingly original soundtrack.
Whether her haunting allure is to your taste or not, Lorde’s influence on the album shines through. Not only does she go solo in tracks such as the compelling lead ‘Yellow Flicker Beat‘, but she collaborates with Pusha T, Q-Tip & Haim just in the album’s opener ‘Meltdown‘. The track sounds as if it has gone through many experimental soundcloud users with its diverse house inspired undertones.
Current female stars Tove Lo and Charli XCX, as well as newcomer Tinashe offer some first-rate additions to the soundtrack. Charli XCX’s ‘Kingdom‘, a collaboration with Simon Le Bon has a dreamlike quality to it which is sublime compared to that exhausted pronunciation of the word ‘fancy‘ we’ve come to associate with her.
Though the album has its hits, there are the occasional misses. Seeing their names together, you’d expect a partnership between The Chemical Brothers and Miguel to be quite something in ‘This is Not A Game‘. However, there are moments where the music goes off tune and even though its intentional, it does not sound healthy on the ears. Moreover, ‘All My Love‘, a Major Lazer/Ariana Grande effort seems ill-suited to the album as a cohesive full body of work. Although a great dance track in its own right, does it scream The Hunger Games? We can’t really imagine Katniss Everdeen partying along that’s for sure.
Aside from the misplaced ‘All My Love’, what the album seeks to accomplish is to form a musical backdrop to the film’s scenes. For example, Raury’s ‘Lost Souls‘ could easily accompany Katniss as she tirelessly trudges through the wasteland of District 13. This sort of characteristic is what makes a soundtrack worthwhile, particularly if the audience remains seated, waiting patiently until the end of the credits to either search for a song title, or simply attempt to Shazam the closing song. Ultimately, the soundtrack does exactly what it needs to do whilst rightly introducing some rising names in music. So for that, job well done Lorde.