Does The Mockingjay Soundtrack Strike The Right Tone?

Yes, we’re doing a Part Deux on our original Mockingjay soundtrack post. Because there’s a lot to say on this baby. SORRY NOT SORRY!

Gorgeous drawing but.. NO NOT REALLY.

Gorgeous drawing but.. NO NOT REALLY.

When it was first announced that Lorde would be curating the soundtrack, we were very apprehensive. Now that the full soundtrack listing and the first couple songs are here, we kinda feel like our dreadful gut instinct had it right (and genuinely, we hate it when that happens.)

Them There Eyes noted that all but a couple names are unrecognizable to her. She did call herself an “old fogie” and I’m gonna give her that (or maybe “old folkie”), because I recognize about half. And then I researched the other half. Some say that recognition isn’t the important element but YES. YES IT IS. For a soundtrack especially, you want artists that people are interested in enough to buy the songs simply because they’re a part of it.

That’s why Lorde was chosen to lead this sucker up. She’s very popular right now and she has rabidly creepy fangirls who probably don’t care who else is on the soundtrack as long as she is:

And I’ll admit, “Yellow Flicker Beat” is good. Not my anthem of the year, probably not going to be added to the personal collection, but we don’t cry whenever it comes on the radio. Still, THAT is the best this soundtrack has offered us to far. “Meh.”

On top of that, this doesn’t seem so much like Lorde curating as promoting herself. She’s part of FIVE SONGS on the fourteen song soundtrack, possibly six, as there’s still another song that has yet to be announced. Surely she was going to be involved and do at least a couple songs, but this honestly feels a bit like a Lorde EP and some other stuff thrown in there under the guise of promoting a movie.

Even when the music provided isn’t reeeeeally hers and crafted by other great artists like The Chemical Brothers and Miguel– yes, we actually like The Chemical Brothers’ other music and Miguel’s more typical babymakin’ R&B music style– the product is SO DISAPPOINTINGLY AWFUL.



“This Is Not A Game”?
THIS IS A NOT A SONG! If this, in the eyes of the record label, is the second best track the album has to offer up, we’re absolutely not buying this. Even the site that originally posted the song first said something along the lines of “It takes some getting used to, but if you listen to it a few times, you’ll warm up to it.” Having a background in journalism, my initial reaction was “Oh sweetie, you’re just getting paid to say that. *pats head*” And again, we usually enjoy the artists involved, so we’re baffled. WHAT. THE. FUUUUCK.

Some people are arguing that the intention of the artists has been to stray from their other music to better suit the soundtrack, but as Rory discussed with us on Twitter, lines like “Word to Gucci, that’s my hitta” don’t have a damn thing to do with The Hunger Games. And they’re not negated by the fact that lines about starting a revolution are in the same song. Anyone in music can sing about starting a revolution and they do… often. So really, how is this about The Hunger Games other than getting put on the soundtrack again?

Though Lorde has claimed to have some pretty eclectic music tastes in the past, the soundtrack just doesn’t reflect that. AT ALL. To us, that’s the unsatisfying part. The Catching Fire soundtrack is still our favorite because it offered a nice mix of different musical styles and artists. There was some straight pop, some hip hop, some folk… All in one happy bundle! The Mockingjay Part 1 is an electropop hip hop mash-up with a couple outliers. There’s barely anything that qualifies as diversity. The first soundtrack did this with folk music (with the exception of Kid Cudi’s “The Ruler And The Killer”, which stood out in the best way possible), but that soundtrack was also advertised specifically as an Appalachian folk collection derived from District 12.

Tell us, what does a mostly EDM collection represent? District 13? The Capitol? Panem as a whole? We don’t feel that it does. That’s why soundtracks need diversity. And this one failed majorly at that. It’s not about hating on hip hop as surely someone will surely turn around and say (we don’t hate hip hop or fun, beat-thumping music, you know!) but this soundtrack, from what we’ve seen and heard, is a better representation of a frat party or a club than the journey of The Hunger Games characters in Mockingjay. And when you’re not much into music and you want songs that help you connect to a story you love, this outcome sucks.

SUCKS, WE SAY!

The Girl With The Pearl

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35 comments

  1. I think the best way to describe it is that it represents the verge of Katniss’ complete metal and emotional breakdown. Because that’s the only explanation I can come up with.

    And if that’s the case, I shudder to think what Part-2 will sound like.

  2. Judging a whole soundtrack off of two songs is complete and utter bullshit, let me start with that.

    Yellow Flicker Beat is fantastic. The beat is sad but uplifting, and the lyrics speak directly about who Katniss is and what she is doing. The roaring synths and big bass let us know that, yes, this film is set in the future.

    I think that’s the biggest problem with peoples’ opinion on the soundtrack. They’re expecting something different. The folk music isn’t going to work for Mockingjay. Did it work for Hunger Games and Catching Fire? Yes, because they were largely set in District 12, a folky place, or in the Arena. But that’s not what Mockingjay Part 1 is all about. Part 1 is mostly in District 13, which is all technological. There are hovercrafts, communicuffs, exploding arrows, elevators that move every which-way. Would folk music work in an environment like this? Absolutely not. The EDM and the big beats literally scream future and technology, which is the setting and plot of Mockingjay Part 1.

    Secondly, I have a hard time believing that people want more folk music in Part 1. Part 1 is the build up to the revolution. It is the call-to-action, and the rally for the fight. This music needs to be the pump-up music of a generation. Sad, folky songs won’t work to rally a broken country together to fight back and win a revolution.

    Lastly, don’t doubt Lorde. I guess you could, rudely, call me one of those “creep fangirls” (but who are you to get off making fun of someone being a fan and worshiping a celeb? You’re a fangirl, and fangirls don’t make fun of others for being fangirls). It is her soundtrack, and she can be on it as many times as she pleases.

    She is a genius. She knows exactly what she’s doing. So, no matter if you like the soundtrack or not, Lorde is 17 years-old and curating the soundtrack for one of the biggest movies of the year. What were you doing at 17? And what are you doing now? Exactly. Stay pressed, and enjoy the movie.

    1. And yet, the more she is stuck in 13, the harder she tries to hold onto her District 12 roots which is why the Appalachian folk sound is so important. Not only does it embody Katniss’ character and the other characters in the story. It embodies the spirit of the rebels. The true rebels, out there on the frontlines. The soundtrack should at least offer an ode to the ones who were lost in District 12.

      Yellow Flicker Beat is unarguably the best of the two songs that we’ve seen so far, but the lyrics are awkward. The only decent line in the song is “my blood is a flood of rubies, precious stones. It keeps my veins hot, the fires found a home in me”. It’s the only line that flows really well. Also, as I think the Victor’s Village has mentioned before, Katniss wouldn’t have described herself on those terms. “A princess cut from marble”? Katniss is scarred and broken at this point, no matter how hard the Capitol rebels try to make her appear otherwise. Inwardly she knows and that’s how she continually describes herself in the story.

      Speaking on the Revolution, shouldn’t there be more songs that reflect that atmosphere? The districts are literally falling apart here one by one as the peacekeepers are overtaken by rebels and people are dying in troves. It’s frightening, it’s adrenaline packed. The people need a call to action, a reminder of why they fight. A justification for their anger. And if they were listening to this music, they wouldn’t be getting it. Personally, I think something like a new cover of Pat Benatar’s “Invincible” would be perfect for this soundtrack.

    2. I’m guessing you just ended up here for this article, but otherwise you’d know that we make fun of fangirls/fanboys (especially of the THG variety, including ourselves) ALL THE TIME. There’s a difference between really, really liking a movie/book/musical artist and creating your own take on their Twitter handle and responding to their calls to pre-order something with “YES, MASTER.” If someone’s gonna put that much crazy out there, we’re gonna laugh at it.

      Here’s a great guest post that really explains our philosophy on fangirling. Essentially, you can LOVE something but should still possess the ability for critical thinking as new information is presented instead of just consuming because you were told to by the source of your fangirling: http://victorsvillage.com/2014/09/13/the-capitols-way/

      Where exactly did we say we wanted more folk music? We didn’t. We actually mentioned that we didn’t love how the first soundtrack was almost entirely folk music. And if you think the Catching Fire soundtrack was entirely folk music… *blink blink* I don’t know what to tell you. What we’re discussing is the need for DIVERSITY, for artists from all sorts of different genres that represent the grand scale of the story. Sure, D13 has technology that 12 does not (though the Capitol and the arenas from the other stories do) and some of the more erratic EDM style could certainly encompass that, but that’s not the whole damn story. Katniss is going through PTSD-related depression, Peeta and Johanna are alternating between being held in solitude and viciously tortured, Prim and mainly young people from 12 are discovering opportunity for the first time, etc. We don’t think ONE musical style predominantly covers all that. We just hoped for more variety.

      As for the singles.. they are how you are MEANT to judge the soundtrack. The singles released are supposed to be the best the soundtrack has to offer to entice you to buy the rest. Believe it or not, you’re meant to make the decision on whether or not you’ll buy the soundtrack on the singles and the track listing, not just the how much you like the artist who put it together or the film it allegedly represents.

      Also, here’s the problem with your “What were you doing at 17? What are you doing now?” rudeness: We don’t judge our lives based on other people, especially celebs, and we don’t think anyone should. At 17, I was doing what a whoooole lot of other Americans were: Senior year of high school, working part-time, afterschool activities, and hanging out with friends. As for now, I have a great job, an amazing husband, great friends, the occasional adventure, a THG opinion blog and another site on top of that. Never in my life did I ever pursue a music career, therefore any comparison to Lorde’s musical success is completely fucking invalid. I’m plenty successful in the ways I wanted to be in life, thank you very much, and I’m very happy with my life. Trying to shame me into feeling otherwise because I want more variety on a soundtrack than your celebrity idol has provided is just a douche-y move.

      1. You’re a fangirl. Just because you use big words and act like your college degree means anything, doesn’t make you any less of a fangirl. The “YES, MASTER” example is total bullshit. Do you know how music fans are today? That’s the lingo they use. All of them. Lorde fans, GaGa fans, Britney fans, Beyonce fans, Rihanna fans, they all refer to them as “masters” and “queens”. And don’t even try to tell me you didn’t idolize someone like that when you were younger.

        And please don’t tell me what single is supposed to represent. Honey, I’m an 18 year-old homo. I know music and what the industry is all about. The first single doesn’t always represent the tone and feel of the album. For example, Taylor Swift’s 1989. “Shake it Off” was the first single off of that album. That (basic) song hardly represents what the album is all about it. And that isn’t the first album to do so.

        I’m not sure if you’ve ever been tortured before, and neither have I, but crazy EDM is kind of the thing I picture with that experience. But there is also no proof that the soundtrack will be all EDM. Tove Lo makes low key, pulsing music (check out Stay High).

        I would LOVE to address the racist “hip hop katniss” meme you retweeted, but that speaks enough for itself.

        Bottom line, Lionsgate knows what they want. Lorde knows what she wants. She wouldn’t have been given this soundtrack if they didn’t have complete faith in her. And they would have thrown her off if they didn’t like what she was offering. Just because the soundtrack (and let me get a little more rude and immature here) doesn’t fit YOUR pretentious music taste, doesn’t mean it’ll be bad. Please don’t be the person to sit there for the whole credits just to bitch about the music online. As a movie theater employee, I respectfully ask you to leave so I can do my job.

        1. Yeahhhh we never retweeted that meme. Nice of you to try to pin that one on us, though.

          And no, never referred to any artist as my queen or master in my life, even when I was younger. I’ve heard it before, but it is hilariously corny, cute under some circumstances but not most, and I will continue to laugh at it.

          I don’t get how wanting multiple genres on a soundtrack meant to represent multiple elements of a story line is pretentious. And if you “know what the music industry is all about”, then wouldn’t your tastes be considerably more pretentious than mine? You’re contradicting yourself.

          Clearly this is a case of “Angry fan is angry because we don’t like exactly what they like.” You’ll just keep on bashing because you think, somehow, that will prove a point or change anyone’s opinions. And I’m bored by it now. Byeeee!

        2. Are you completely incapable of critical thinking? You just soak in anything your faves say or do without question while calling them geniuses? That’s the mentality you’re supporting by trying to justify the “yes master” response. No one is saying their music tastes are superior to yours. Any criticisms brought up in this article or the comments about the soundtrack have been legitimate. These are criticisms that you have failed to counteract too. The fact is, so far the soundtrack doesn’t look very diverse and a song like “this is not a game” isn’t very appropriate for the setting of mockingjay. If that’s your kind of music, that’s fine. But for a lot of people it isn’t, and shouldn’t have to be. Mockingjay has a lot of stuff going on in it (one of the reasons why it’s my favorite book of the series). I really don’t think Lorde has encompassed that.

          With that said, I do feel like the score is going to be the best so far in the series and the movie is going to be fantastic regardless.

  3. You haven’t even heard the songs. You are literally judging a fraking list. You are saying the soundtrack sucks without having listened to it. Your judgement (because I can’t even call it an opinion) was really not even worth my time. Just wait till everything comes out and then judge away. I would bet you’ll be retracting a lot of judgey shit.

    1. Well considering that you can’t listen to the entire soundtrack without either buying it or a significant amount of piracy, you HAVE to make a judgement as to whether or not it’s worth buying based on track listings, artists and their music styles, and the singles released. It’s common sense.

      Of the two singles, one is good but not great, the other is awful. Singles are supposed to represent the style and overall tone of the soundtrack, the BEST of what it has to offer. So yes, it is a judgement call. And ours is that it’s not worth it. If you disagree, go ahead and buy it, chicky. We’re not stopping you.

      1. In general, people don’t offer reviews on things they haven’t experienced. As a consumer yes, I make a judgement call. To help inform that decision I will go to reviews where people have read, watched, listened, and given their opinion on a product, but I expect those people to have properly evaluated the product. You are attempting to be that source without having listened to anything or given it the proper evaluation it deserves. Whether you are a professional journalist or just a part time blogger this is common sense.

        1. At what point did we call this a review? At what point did we claim to be a “source” for anything? Not to mention that reviews cannot be sources because sources are a statement of alleged facts and reviews are subjective.

          We’re giving our feelings and opinions based on what we’ve seen so far. That’s a judgement call, not a review. But then again, there are also a bunch of people saying how amazingly brilliant it is without having “properly evaluated” it by the standards you’re listing above, which would make them massive hypocrites for judging our opinions without having any true basis on which to refute them, no?

    2. Are you kidding me? If it was such a waste of time for you to read it then why the hell did you take time to reply, especially with such an asinine comment. What makes your opinion so superior to mine? I’m not judging Lorde or any of the artists as people; I’m merely remarking on how this soundtrack (especially when compared to the other two) stands as a poor companion to the story. The soundtracks are something that fans get really excited about, and so far it’s been a big let down. Like the other person mentioned, you have to make a judgement call to see if you want to buy it.

      Can you honestly, really and truly, say that “this is not a game” reflects Mockingjay’s story? Can you justify the line “word to Gucci, that’s my hitta”? Can you justify Lorde promoting herself all over the soundtrack when the first two curators didn’t do this?

      I understand people have different music tastes and no one’s is superior to any one else’s. I have a wide variety of music in my library and I loved the fact that the other two soundtracks were so diverse. I’m not here to criticize the style of Lorde’s picks, but the quality of the songs themselves.

      The first two singles released are supposed to be the most popular on the soundtrack. In the first movie, Taylor Swift’s “Safe and Sound” was released. In Catching Fire, it was Atlas. If Yellow Flicker Beat and This is Not a Game is supposed to reflect the overall quality of the soundtrack, then I don’t think it’s gonna be very good (Plus some of the other songs have been leaked–they have pretty much the same electric pop style that the other two songs have).

      This soundtrack might have been better if it weren’t a soundtrack but rather a stand alone album. It’s purpose is to reflect the story of Mockingjay musically, and it doesn’t do this.

      I was unsure of how it would turn out before but I wasn’t making any judgement calls. I liked the fact that the franchise was promoting young artists (even if I didn’t like Lorde’s style). However, when This is Not a Game was released, I was so outraged by it’s complete ridiculousness. It’s almost offensive. Here we have a story about poor, working class, disenfranchised people fighting for their freedom and the artists is shouting out to Gucci? Who the hell is buying Gucci? Maybe one could argue that it’s a song from the capitol’s perspective, but just a few lines later the artist is talking about getting prepared to fight and win the revolution. No one fighting in that revolution is going to be worried about Gucci, I can promise you.

  4. Music and books are really both things that give off very personal experiences and emotions. That’s why scholars still debate about the meaning behind some of the most well known texts in human history. It doesn’t shock me that some here are completely disagreeing with Victors Village, and of course it’s the internet so anyone can say their opinion, the problem here is that people are attacking other people’s thoughts and really there is absolutely no point in that… anyways I agree the writer here. When I read Mockingjay, these types of songs and beats were and still are not what I would associate the feeling of that book with. If it is for someone else, that’s great. But I think the album is trying to accomplish too many things. “This is Not a Game” is really abominable to me, but my mom of all people pointed out it could be a capitol viewpoint, synthesized and bombarded with electronic melodies… feeling something but it comes out as nonsense. I thought maybe that could work. But ultimately Mockingjay is a sad, sad book. This is not what I would have envisioned.

  5. Wow, based off two songs… where one you actually liked, so based off ONE song, the entire soundtrack is a mess? I don’t get where you got the information that the soundtrack is an “electropop hip hop mash-up with a couple outliers” either.

    Elastic Heart was released as the third single which Sia admitted wasn’t even written for the Hunger Games, it was one of her personal songs which she decided to contribute to the soundtrack. It also sounded very weird and electric, but did that reflect the overall tone of the soundtrack?

    I’m no Lorde fan but it just baffles me how people are so quick to judge an entire soundtrack over one song, or more specifically, ONE SINGLE LINE about gucci.

    1. Yes, a single line because that single line speaks volumes about how seriously Lorde is taking this soundtrack. A song about people fighting for a revolution and someone says “word to Gucci”? It’s just plain disrespectful to the story and characters. And I know people will say “it’s just fictional characters, relax”. I’d like to point out, though, that there have been and are people in real life that fight for the same issues presented in THG. A song like “This is not a game” that trivializes that fight is disrespectful to them as well.

      Like I said, I’m not criticizing the sound of the song. There were styles in the other two soundtracks that I wasn’t particularly fond of at first, but I got used to them and learned to enjoy them because the lyrics reflected the spirit of the story so well. This song, however, does not and I’m more angry at that line than anything else because as I said, it speaks volumes on how seriously Lorde is taking it.

      Basically, Lorde has used this soundtrack as an opportunity to promot herself (which she didn’t even really need to do. Lorde has a big name. The Hunger Games is a big franchise. Together, they got enough publicity and recognition just based on that. Why does she feel the need to put her name in big bold print with anything having to do with the soundtrack as well as be featured on half the songs?)

    2. One song I thought was okay, another I hated. And this is the best the soundtrack has to offer. The singles meant to convince us to buy the entire product. Also, we got the musical style sense from the artist involved, most of which are electropop/EDM/hip hop artists. That is what they make. Sorry, we’re just not impressed. If you read my other comments, we’re not against the genre, we just don’t think it should be representative of the whole film. I will say it again… Diversity, diversity, diversity! Several different music styles! That is what we want.

      So yeah, having EDM on the Catching Fire soundtrack doesn’t bother me. Nor does it bother me that there’s pop and folk and a dash of alt rock in there. You know why? There was diversity in the soundtrack that encompasses the overall tone of the story well!

  6. Calm the fuck down.
    Y’all are SO annoying, you haven’t even heard the fucking soundtrack.

    But everyone who enjoys good music KNOWS who these people are and are excited for it; the only people complaining are hunger games stans..

    Just because she didn’t get mainstream pop acts like Katy Perry and Ariana Grande or people you know, doesn’t mean it won’t be good.
    And if they needed someone “famous” to promote the movie they would get someone like that,,

    It would be SO easy for her to get people from last times soundtrack in which y’all enjoyed like Sia, The Weeknd or Taylor Swift but she specificially said she WASN’T going to because she wanted it to be her own stamp on it.

    I’m SUPRISED you all haven’t heard of Chvrches, HAIM and Charli xcx (who had a duet that was #1 for 7 weeks in the US) but thats.. nvm

    So y’all could write essays on why its going to be trash when how do you know if you’ve never heard of the artists? I promise all the hunger games stans put in a room together and you’d never be able to agree on the songs. Look everyone is going to have a different interpretation/ vision from the book and parts of the movie or certain songs are NEVER going to please everyone but atleast realise your ideas wouldn’t either so..

    p.s. listen to the ladder song by bright eyes on youtube, lorde will be covering it and it seems very hunger games to me

    1. Never said we collectively hadn’t heard of Charli XCX, HAIM, or Chvrches. Know all of those. We went and researched music from the artists we didn’t know, too. We didn’t love a lot of it. Nice assumptions though. Also, when did we say we wanted acts like Ariana Grande or Katy Perry? *shudders* Who WOULD want that?! Nor do we need the same artists from previous soundtracks.

      You clearly have fangirl blinders on because you’re swearing at us and making outlandish assumptions while completely ignoring that our main issue is simply that we think the soundtrack needs more variety. If you like what you’ve heard and seen so far, fine. But what exactly do you win by attacking others for NOT liking it?

  7. So can I just chime in and say I don’t even know why these movies even needed soundtracks. What’s wrong with a score that includes a credits song? It’s not like this is TFIOS or Twilight. This is heavy stuff and when you’ve got a movie about nervous breakdowns, war, torture, mental torment, political intrigue, and a starving lower class, why do we even need Lorde to curate something?

    Give me JNH with YFB/JLaw Hanging Tree tacked onto the score and I’m TOTALLY FINE.

    1. Good point. I’m looking forward to hearing what is actually played during the movie more than anything else. There’s a tweet from THG official account about the soundtrack asking “what song are you looking forward to the most” and a majority of the replies were The Hanging Tree, even though it looks like that will be sold on the movie score album, not the soundtrack.

    2. My thoughts exactly Crystal. Maybe it this were a Baz Lurhmann film it would make sense to be all hot under the collar over the soundtrack, but then the soundtrack and the score would be almost synonymous. In this case, or this franchises case, the score and the soundtrack are there for two different reasons, one is money, the other is to push the film’s story along. Preachin’ to the choir!

        1. Yes, if done right, as was the case with the first two, the “soundtracks” (honestly leery of using that term as the majority of the songs aren’t in the movie itself, with the ones that are only in the credits) do indeed provide a good compliments to the story.
          However, because they aren’t actually playing during scenes, they aren’t the songs that set the mood as you’re watching the film itself. That’s how they don’t push the story along.
          Nice to have, but not necessary.

          On that note, has it become a common practice (If so, when?) to have a non-in-movie soundtrack (I don’t know what the official term)?

  8. Wow. I’m sensing a lot of anger from some of the commenters here. People, why do you have to be so hostile? Just because someone says they aren’t impressed with something another does? How in the world do you get along in life if you can’t accept another’s viewpoint? Jeez!!
    As to the soundtrack, I’ll admit I’m a bit apprehensive. I loved the first two soundtracks for the reasons stated above- diversity of musical styles. I especially loved how you could tell the story of The Hunger Games from the first soundtrack. This one, so far, doesn’t seem to have that one-two punch that the others did. Instead, I feel more of a punch to the gut. That’s my opinion. I don’t think anyone is a bad person, or they are horrible. I just think this soundtrack looks to be a bit limiting compared to the other two.
    Thank you for having the courage to put your opinion out there. It sucks when people think it’s ok to attack that. Take care and have a great day!

  9. You know… it’s almost epic how much activity this single post has gotten compared to the rest.

    Also it’s a bit funny for commenters to rant about “Hunger Games stans” (Um… you do know what this site is about, right?) while involving swearing and personal attacks.

  10. So not only is Arianna Grande doing a track for the soundtrack, but Lorde is going to be featured on that track as well. That makes how many tracks for Lorde? 4? 5? It’s pretty ridiculous at this point.

  11. I can’t you guys complaining about Ariana Grande. Remember Catching Fire? Xtina? Ellie Goulding? Imagine Dragons? Sia? Mikky Ekko? Some of the biggest pop stars right now and now Ariana is suddenly a problem because Lorde picked her.

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