Following my review of the newest release in ‘the Hunger Games’ franchise, I decided to review the accompanying album; it is being the compilation of songs from a variety of different genres that ‘fit’ the mood of the film. At least, I think that it is meant to be the purpose. The original companion album in 2012 had the subtitle ‘Songs from District 12’. This instalment has no such thing, only proclaiming it “the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”. Immediately, I can see this as a bit of false advertisement, as if it was the soundtrack, surely it would be the score by James Newton Howard.
The album has a variety of different artists, from Lorde and Ariana Grande to Tove Lo and Bat for Lashes. Lorde features quite heavily on the album, which does make some kind of sense as she did help produce the album. One of her entries, “Yellow Flicker Beat”, the film’s chosen credits song, while dark and apt for the film itself, is just as good as her contribution to the ‘Catching Fire’ soundtrack, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”.
The first half of the album certainly is the stronger half – “Meltdown” and “Scream My Name” were two of my favourite songs on the album. “Scream My Name” in particular fitted the atmosphere and the plot of ‘Mockingjay Part One’, while “Meltdown” had a catchy hook and refrain, provided courtesy of Lorde. I felt “Meltdown” had a Capitol-esque feel to it with frequent references to some of the themes within the film.
The digital extended version comes with “the Hanging Tree”, with vocals provided by Jennifer Lawrence; I think that this is a good move – the song was powerful to read in the books, and having the song on the digital album really secured the album’s link to the franchise. It was haunting and empowering at the same time, as more vocals and music, provided by James Newton Howard, are added to the track as the song progresses.
Overall, even though it is a good album, it feels as if it lost its way. Some of the songs choosing style over substance – “All My Love”, Ariana Grande’s contribution with Major Lazer, stood out in this sense. While some of the songs were clearly linked to the film, and thus making it apt, others just seemed to be there for the sake of it. My favourite may still be the first one, but the newest addition is still worth a listen to.