Release Date: Mar 20, 2012
Record label: Republic
Genre(s): Rap, Country, Folk, Americana, Pop/Rock, Soundtracks, Stage & Screen
If you're not already bitten by the Hunger Games bug, you may be unaware that District 12 is what's left of Appalachia in the not-too-distant future, or that the games pit 24 teenagers in a battle to the death. But those details loom large over this surprisingly faithful collection of original songs. Here comes Taylor Swift, armed with nerf-metal guitars, advising our heroine to sleep with one eye open, and Neko Case turns the character's transition from invisibility to fiery glory into a grandly swirling pop moment.
T Bone Burnett has become the go-to guy when it comes to roots-music soundtracks, and given the post-apocalyptic Appalachian setting of The Hunger Games‘s 12th District, he was the obvious choice to helm this one. The original novel’s legion of foaming-at-the-mouth devotees included countless recording artists, making it easy for Burnett to assemble a phenomenal lineup of acts to contribute to the film adaptation’s soundtrack. And, even if it doesn’t ever quite reach the glorious heights of Burnett’s O Brother, Where Are Thou?, The Hunger Games: Songs from the 12th District and Beyond is truly inspired in its execution.
One of the biggest signs that the team bringing Suzanne Collins' violent, riveting young adult book series The Hunger Games to the big screen was headed in the right direction was the choice of T-Bone Burnett as the soundtrack's producer. He did an award-winning job of bringing old-timey music to vibrant life for the Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and here he helps make sure that the music captures the series' places and themes as vividly as possible. The Hunger Games' story takes place in a post-apocalyptic North America reorganized into 12 districts that serve a decadent, corrupt capital and must sacrifice two children each year to a nationally televised fight to the death.
Review Summary: Not as good as the movie, but still an adequate auditory companion for those enthralled by the Hunger Games trilogy.To find a series that has caused this kind of a frenzy – bordering on downright pandemonium - you would probably have to go back to the commencement of the Twilight saga in 2008. Ever since the mass media caught wind of there being a film adaptation to the popular Hunger Games novel series, there has been everything from T-shirts to calendars fresh off the press for mass consumption. The target audience was so eager that they ate it right up before the movie even hit theaters.
Taylor Swift recently characterized The Hunger Games soundtrack as "Appalachian music 300 years from now - what Americana and bluegrass music would sound like in the future." That's an apt description from the young country-pop star who has two tracks on the album. Though it features recognizable names (Maroon 5, Miranda Lambert) and critical favourites (Neko Case, the Decemberists), the T-Bone Burnett-produced album admirably employs a nuanced approach and a consistent tone rather than using the opportunity to cash in on the film's young core audience. Arcade Fire nails the future-from-the-past vibe, while many of the purely Americana acts drag the album into plodding sameness - odd when so many artists have participated.
What’s the appropriate soundtrack for kids killing kids? That’s one of many tough questions that Grammy-winning producer T Bone Burnett had to answer while overseeing this set of songs inspired by the movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel about tweens and teens forced to fight to the death. Fans of the book might imagine its bow-hunting heroine, Katniss Everdeen, slinging arrows to the strains of something decidedly punk-rock. Personally, I’d like to think of her blasting Bikini Kill’s ”Rebel Girl” while she takes out Cato, Clove, Glimmer, and anyone else who underestimates her talent for ripping out tender teenage hearts and entrails.