There are certain things that I pride myself on having magically gotten right where it came to The Hunger Games, and one of those things is something very near and dear to my heart, and that thing just happens to be the soundtrack. Mind, I don’t mean the score, which I was very pleased with for the first go around. And the soundtrack, that I can also claim I was pleased with, keen actually– if you will. I think when we got the news last October (I know, almost an entire year ago), that Mr. T-Bone Burnett was hired as music supervisor, that I knew with every fiber of my being that if nothing went right with this adaptation– at least there would be a collection of music out in the ether compiled, composed, and produced by dynamic, and respected musicians that would proudly represent my over-blown expectations. T-Bone did an impeccable job with Songs from District 12 and Beyond, and I’m genuinely gobsmacked sometimes that three artists/ bands that I speculated would be good choices to invite into the fold, were actually asked and accepted to be part of the project. We don’t know if T-Bone Burnett will be part of Catching Fire, however I sincerely hope that he is, because despite many things that I believe could have been better and/or different where it came to The Hunger Games, the soundtrack was pitch perfect to me– and I wholly believe that’s a testament to Burnett.
Almost a year after getting the news that T-Bone had joined the cast of behind the scenes folk, we’ve started getting trickles of news on who just might be part of the second soundtrack. Today the lead singer for the alternative rock band We The Kings, tweeted a somewhat open ended and/or cryptic tweet, about having just composed a song for The Hunger Games. Aye, there’s the rub– his tweet said The Hunger Games not Catching Fire, so, take it as either him saying he’s written something inspired by the series, or he’s just awful with remembering titles, and has in fact written something for Soundtrack 2.0. As of this afternoon though I’d never heard of We The Kings, or if I had– I didn’t know their name, so of course when all the buzz around my head was that they may be involved in the franchise– I took to itunes and checked out the generous samplers Apple has to offer. And, well– they’re okay— but I don’t think they sound like a band that fits the sound T-Bone Burnett honed for The Hunger Games, they’re actually incredibly pop-y in comparison to the likes of Glen Hansard, Birdy, The Civil Wars, and Arcade Fire. I think sticking with the somewhat dark, and almost exclusive acoustic instrumentation is a smart path to continue down, also considering that the story only gets darker. Some might even argue as well, that bringing in even more traditional Appalachian style music might be a nice aspect of the story to emphasize, since the first half of Catching Fire takes place back in District 12. Saying all that though still makes me wish that a number of my other suggestions for the first soundtrack could be utilized on the second. Mumford & Sons was one of them, and I know many of the songs from their debut album reminded people (including myself) of the series, and I have no doubt that songs on their sophomore album (out 25, September) will remind us of it again. Besides, Mumford has already poked their heads in the door where it comes to taking part in film soundtracks, they composed an exclusive song for the new adaptation of Wuthering Heights, and it has to be said– it’s so bloody emotive, if you listen to it you may just join the mental campaign to get them to partake of our little favorite franchise.
A new idea I have is an old favorite of mine personally, so I know what they’re capable of on an almost intimate scale. Hey, it’s intimate if they’re singing their hearts out not 5 feet from you, it’s just not sexually, or romantically intimate– also if this has happened more than three times– yeah that’s sorta intimate. Anyway, old favorite is Mr. Matt Nathanson— whom I discovered when he opened for another old favorite (need to stop saying that phrase!), of mine way back in the early 2000’s. He’s honestly one of the best musicians I’ve ever seen live in concert, he’s in my top three list of live performers, ’cause yep, saying it again– that’s how I came across him, while he was performing live. He had a little plastic Jesus at his feet (tour mascot perhaps?), and was wearing very brightly colored tennis shoes (I miss the early 2000’s), and I don’t think he stopped moving during his entire set. Matt’s known for two things, his body of work being heartfelt, poetic, emotive, and heavy on imagery. He’s a story-teller really, which brings me to what he’s also known for– his sense of humor. Yep, while his songs can be described as emotional, his personality much of the time is that of a comedian, and he has this uncanny ability to quip on stage even as people are drying their eyes after he’s figuratively ripped their hearts out with a song. Knowing all this about him I think makes him a possible dark-horse addition to the second soundtrack, because even though as of late his music is known for its full-band sound, his roots are in solo and acoustic work. Also, dear god– his cover version of “Thunder Road” is just perfection to my music snob ears.
I have a healthy sized love for music, and an even more robust desire to subject everyone to my ideas and tastes, but I will save that for another day, until then– search the words below, and find a song.
Them There Eyes