Lorde

Breaking Down The Mockingjay Part 1 Documentary Snippets

You know, holding out for the DVD isn’t nearly as hard as we’d expected. Why? Because half the special features are already online anyway!

Not that we’re complaining, of course! We have no problem on getting closer to the Digital HD watchers level. And we’re learning A LOT from these documentary mini-clips! For instance…

1) BREAKING SHIT IS FUN!

Destroyed District 12 was an actual demolition site– an abandoned factory plant– with some set pieces added in. And tearing apart District 12 was apparently really cathartic for the crew, especially Production Designer Philip Messina!

2) DISTRICT 8 ALMOST HIT HORROR MOVIE LEVELS

Though the film wanted to portray realistic injuries, Francis Lawrence asked that most of the make-up be toned down from the department’s original plans, because they wanted to make people look gnarly. REALLY GNARLY.

3) THIS CAST IS MADE OF AWESOME

Not that we didn’t already know this, of course. Still, it’s great to hear how Julianne Moore was enticed into the series and Mahershala Ali checked off multiple boxes on his career bucket list by working on these films!

4) RAPPELLING FASTER THAN AN ELEVATOR DROPS IS INTIMIDATING

This was one of the few moments of the story caught and videotaped during the filming process, but back then, we didn’t realize how big of a deal it was. Considering our stomachs sometimes flips when an elevator lurches too quickly, this is kind of a thrill ride.

5) IT’S MIGUEL’S FAULT

We didn’t really like the Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack much (CUE THE TROLLS! ..It’s a matter of opinion, y’all. Deal.) The most heinous song of all was The Chemical Brother’s and Miguel song, “This Is Not A Game”. We liked the intro of the song, but then it just went straight to hell. If we’re understanding Lorde correctly in this short, the intro is the only part of the song that The Chemical Brothers crafted. Soooo yeah… that disaster is Miguel’s fault.

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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

The Soundtrack– Let’s Get Judgey

Hold up your hand if you’re having trouble recognizing many of the artist names listed next to the songs on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt 1’s original Motion Picture Soundtrack? Okay, if the hand count is what I think it might be, I’m going to make an educated guess that a large percentage of you do not know most of those artists names. If you think I’m going to scold you, and call you all old fogies, you’re dead wrong, ’cause I only recognize three of the names on that list. And they are as follows: Lorde, ’cause if I didn’t know that crazy girls name I’d be moving to San Fransisco and starting a vegan co-op (Royals was banned in San Francisco– true The-Hunger-Games_-Mockingjay-Pt.-1-Original-Motion-Picture-Soundtrack-608x608story), I also know who The Chemical Brothers are! Score two for me! And last of all, but not least of all there’s Chvrches. Woot! Oh, and then there’s Kanye West– which, no comment, actually I think The Girl With The Pearl said it best. I vaguely know who Grace Jones is as well, kind of the poor man’s Donna Summer– right? And apparently I’m supposed to know who Charli XCX is, but I’m drawing a total blank– ’cause I don’t tend to listen to a lot of Top 40 Radio unless it’s Top 40 from about 30 to 80 something years ago (think The Beatles, or Bessie Smith, or George Michael and Prince). Maybe I should just get a t-shirt printed out for myself that says “Old Fogie”, huh?

I believe the consensus amongst the fandom is a lukewarm disdain for the collection that Lorde has put together? If I’m wrong, feel free to wax philosophic over the merits of her choices in the comments! But from over here in Old Fogie Land, I was hoping and praying for a collection of artists that were a bit more reconizable to a broader base of human folk. Now I didn’t expect her to go knocking on the doors of Of Monsters and Men, Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, or maybe Broken Bells, but it would have been nice if she did. I do however see the intrigue in her choices of names that are a bit more obscure to say the least, especially in comparison to the likes of names such as Adam Levine, Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Phantogram, or Imagine Dragons.

I can’t believe this is happening but, props to Lorde for taking some risks. We may not all buy the album, but many of you will– and money will be made.

Them There Eyes

The Yellow Flicker Beat of Lorde’s Heart

Today was the debut of the first song on the Mockingjay Part 1 companion album, “Yellow Flicker Beat.” Lorde had given some teases of the first few lines of the song, with marble princesses, scars of silver and gold, and blood made of rubies. This made some wonder if the song was about Johanna (the marble statue in the early Capitol video) or Effie with her ties to the Capitol. I was very much hoping that would not be the case. This is the first song, and presumably the first song that will play over the end credits. It needs to fit the tone of the whole movie, and needs to be about Katniss’s journey.

Well the good news is that the song is indeed inspired by Katniss’s experiences. Lorde is a big fan of the books, and in her interview with KROQ today explained how she tried to get into Katniss’s head with this song.

Basically I wrote the song specifically for the movie, it wasn’t something that I had to draft up previously. I reread the books, and I just wanted to tap into everything that Katniss is feeling in that film and what’s the crazy stuff that goes on. One of the things that happened in the book which to me felt like this crazy turning point was her best friend Peeta tries to kill her, he’s been brainwashed and tries to strangle her. It just felt like something so irreparable and something that the characters couldn’t turn back from. I felt like Katniss was like ‘okay, I’m taking names. I’m coming for blood. You don’t do these types of things to my friends and family and get away with it.’ I just wanted to make something kind of dark and haunting.

We all have different tastes in music. If you’re a fan of Lorde, you probably love “Yellow Flicker Beat” because it’s very much a Lorde song. Lorde’s voice and musical style worked for Catching Fire on the cover of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” It was dark and powerful and fit well with the tone of the film. I wouldn’t have liked that song to be at the end credits, but it was a fine addition to the soundtrack.

yellow flicker beatWith “Yellow Flicker Beat,” we have an original Lorde song, written about how Katniss is feeling in this movie. There’s a darkness to the song, which is appropriate, so why am I not loving this?

I think the lyrics, especially at the beginning are very out of step with Katniss. She would never describe herself on these terms. That’s why people were confused about what this song was about with those initial teases. And the buzzing uhhhhhhh running in the background is a bit distracting, unless she’s trying to hint to us that Katniss is doing some kind of mediation while hiding away from the perils in her mind. Doubt it, though. I think it’s just Lorde trying to create some layers to the song and it not working well.

If you weren’t told this was about Katniss in Mockingjay, would you make the connection? Would it make any fan-made playlists? Sure, it’s got the obligatory reference to fire, and later lyrics of “this is the start of how it all ends/they used to shout my name now they whisper it” ring true , but the marble, silver, gold, rubies, red, orange yellow flicker beat language– that’s Lorde imagery. It’s Lorde being way more expressive than Katniss would ever be about her situation. The pop beat that takes over the song halfway through makes it catchy but also distracts you from the initial seriousness of the song. Who cares about problems? Now I feel like dancin’.

Soooo, what’s wrong with that? Isn’t that what happens in soundtracks “inspired by” the motion picture. Lorde doesn’t have to channel Katniss 100% to do right by the song. And a song more purely staying with Katniss’s experience might be a little boring. In the KROQ interview she acknowledges the challenge of writing for soundtracks.

You can’t take that many leaps, it becomes your song and not their song so it was definitely about keeping in that mindset and just thinking about ‘What would Katniss do?

I think Lorde genuinely tried to make this a song about Katniss, but it became more a song about Lorde, and the kind of music she likes to make. And that would still be an ok thing to have on the Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack. People like her songs and it would help album sales. But this song is supposed to be more than that. It’s the debut single from the soundtrack, and presumably will be the first song to play during the end credits. So after we’ve ended with whatever cliffhanger Francis Lawrence decided to go with, this song is going to play. That’s what makes me nervous. I want the song to make the end that much more powerful. Without seeing the whole film, we can’t completely know how well this song works, but I’m worried.

I worry a lot though, so I’ll just add it to the long list.

JJ

 

The Yellow Flicker of Mockingjay’s First Soundtrack Single

Today Lorde announced that her single from the Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack would be released next Monday, September 29. We can’t wait to hear the song and over-analyze the lyrics!

We got a three word clue with the title of the song, “Yellow Flicker Beat.” Okaaaay. Not much to go on. Beat of a heart? Beat of music? Beat up Peeta? All of them? Oh Lorde, are you being deep? Good, cause we’d like that.

Yellow flicker as in the start of a fire? Flicker of alarm lights? Why yellow and not orange? Is it because Peeta is not there to care (and is being beat up)?

Clearly this is not enough information for us to make any serious guesses.

We also got the cover art, which is very simple and understated. No frills, just like District 13 likes it.

yellow flicker beat

While it is very simple, at least it’s not just re-using a movie poster like the Atlas art from Catching Fire. Or this incredibly bizarre Katniss pose from “We Remain” that I just had to bring back for old times sake.

Christina_Aguilera_We_Remain_cover

We still don’t get it, Katniss. But we love you.

ANYWAY, we’re excited to hear Lorde’s song, and all the songs she pulled together in curating the soundtrack because it’s new stuff. And we like new stuff.

In the meantime, don’t miss the long-awaited return of HG Fireside Chat tonight at 10PM EST! TGWTP and TTE will be talking trailers and Luly is going to discuss her great guest post from last week!

JJ

The Lyrical Take On The Mockingjay

Apparently the trailer isn’t the only thing that’s taking its sweet time! Last year at this time, we were already had a chance to listen and read the lyrics to Catching Fire’s Grammy nominated “Atlas” by Coldplay. But this year? We got news that a song is being recorded, at least!

We’ll acknowledge that a 5 minute song is probably nowhere near as time consuming as a roughly 2 1/2 hour movie and can be completed quicker depending on the artist’s schedule, Soundtracks don’t usually come out until right before the movie, so they technically don’t have to rush. But it seems like a crazy big part of this whole production should be renamed THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART PROCRASTINATION.

Anywaaaay… The latest news started with a quick lyric post from Lorde:
Bwu98uNIcAACpml.jpg_large

It was soon confirmed that these were indeed lyrics for one of her Mockingjay Part 1 songs, specifically being recorded for the end credits– because if you’re going to curate a soundtrack, you’re conveniently going to put your own damn music in the position that makes it eligible for awards NO MATTER WHAT. The song will reportedly be “moody, dark, and powerful”, which is basically what we’d expect from any song about this movie. The film certainly ain’t gonna hold your hand and make you smile, after all!

While we don’t think the use of the word “princess” in the lyric is our favorite as the term itself suggests someone who is spoiled and desperate to be in charge– neither of which we believe accurately describes Katniss in MJ Part 1. And inevitably somebody will make a connection to “Royals” and we’ll hate it. But it’s interesting to see how a musician would try to express Katniss’ state of being.

Then again, two lines isn’t a full verse, let alone a single, so we can’t fully judge. …Can the powers that be get us the full single as soon as possible so we can properly judge it, please?!

Please Prove That Teenage Poetry CAN Be Good, Please!
The Girl With The Pearl

Oh, Lorde: The Mockingjay Part 1 Soundtrack

Today, Lionsgate made an announcement that actually surprised us (and not in a way that we immediately hated either, which is even more surprising!)

Yup, the Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack is going to be put in the hands of a 17-year-old. A successful 17-year old who makes catchy original music (albeit a bit overplayed), but a teenager nonetheless. One that every other young adult with a moderate knowledge of music is looking at, whining “Dammit! I totally could’ve picked the songs for the soundtrack too!”

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Oh, Lorde-y!

Here’s what F-Law had to say:

“I sat down with Lorde on the set of ‘Mockingjay’ this spring and I was immediately struck by how she so innately understood what we, as both fans and filmmakers, were trying to accomplish with the film. Her immense talent and keen understanding of Mockingjay’s characters and themes not only have enabled her to create a song of her own that completely captures the film’s essence, but her insight and passion for our project make her the perfect creative force to assemble the other songs on our soundtrack. I can’t wait to share what she’s done with the fans — it is truly remarkable.”

We continue to think positive because IN FRANCIS WE TRUST, but we have some questions.

Mainly, what happened to Alexandra Patsavas?! She’s the music supervisor who put together the stellar soundtrack for Catching Fire, a decent amount of other films (yes, including the Twilight saga, but the soundtracks were good!), and a lot of your formidable years if you’re in your twenties (via The OC and Grey’s Anatomy). We realize she’s involved in a lot of projects, but this one is BIG and exciting and it would have been nice to have her curating.

Secondly, how eclectic is Lorde willing to go in her “curating” choices? Her music isn’t easily categorized in one genre (alt pop? electropop?), but that doesn’t mean she won’t lean toward a certain style. There’s two ways she could go–
1) All T-Bone Burnett on us, with a very distinct sound and style based on a theme, like the first soundtrack.
2) A more rounded approach that captures multiple themes and moments, more like the second soundtrack.

Personally, we’re better fans on the second approach, but we know lots of people prefer the first. The first soundtrack outsold the second, so what do we know?

Mainly, we appreciate her because she just let's her hair HAPPEN. You dig?

Mainly, we appreciate her because she just let’s her hair HAPPEN. You dig?

But that leads to this: Who’s doing the soundtrack for Mockingjay Part 2 and how will the two mesh? Maybe you’ll disagree, but we think that while The Hunger Games’ and Catching Fire’s soundtracks are their own entity, the two Mockingjay soundtracks should complement each other. Yes, Lionsgate and the filmmakers will try to argue it’s two very different stories even though it’s from the same book (to justify the split, of course)– the emotional story and the war story or something similar– but it’s all Mockingjay and there’s a ton of similar emotions running through the WHOLE story. We think there should be a similarity and a wholeness between Part 1 and Part 2’s soundtrack.

Now, let’s get to her actual music involved…
Are we completely, totally blown out of the water by the idea of Lorde creating a single for the Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack? Not really. We imagine it’s more of a smart business decision to get a big-selling, popular name repping the soundtrack. Yes, Lorde WAS on the CF soundtrack, but she wasn’t the face of it. Coldplay was, despite the fact that their music typically appeals to a crowd much older than The Hunger Games’ demographic, and Christina Aguilera was, despite her music under-performing in recent years and her song being one of the blandest in the arrangement, to boot. On the other hand, THG went with tween favorite Taylor Swift and scored big in sales, despite many fans not loving her involvement.

So we don’t know if Lorde is the perfect choice, but all things considered, she’s probably the best artist rep so far. Let’s hope she’s good at picking out other songs with a variety of emotional meanings, too.

Betting On The Return Of T.Swift Since They’re Besties,
The Girl With The Pearl

#TICKTOCK9: Catching Fire Gets Musical

#TICKTOCK9 happened!

Things are getting fiery!

Things are getting fiery!

We know that we love our music here at Victor’s Village, so when we saw that the soundtrack listing was FINALLY HERE, we were pretty psyched!

We thought we had an idea what the soundtrack would be like, having listened to Alexandra Patsavas’ other movie soundtracks, but this is totally different. It doesn’t have a very indie feel like the Twilight soundtracks or sappy inspirational like Grey’s Anatomy. It doesn’t have a theme, like Songs from District 12 did for The Hunger Games with its Appalachian influences.

Without further ado, zee soundtrack listing:

Tracklisting
1.   “Atlas” – Coldplay
2.   “Silhouettes” – Of Monsters and Men
3.   “Elastic Heart” – Sia (ft. The Weeknd & Diplo)
4.   “Lean” – The National
5.   “We Remain” – Christina Aguilera
6.   “Devil May Cry” – The Weeknd
7.   “Who We Are” – Imagine Dragons
8.   “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” – Lorde
9.   “Gale Song” – The Lumineers
10.  “Mirror” – Ellie Goulding
11.  “Capital Letter” – Patti Smith
12.  “Shooting Arrows At The Sky” – Santigold
13.  “Place For Us” – Mikky Ekko
14.  “Lights” – Phantogram
15.  “Angel On Fire” – Antony & The Johnsons

We also got a 90-second preview of the Christina Aguilera song, “We Remain”. Listen in!

We have to admit, we’re not in love with this song as we are Coldplay’s “Atlas”. Christina has got PIPES! Some of the best in the industry. But her music and singing style sound very much the same in every song she’s done recently, and this seems to be no exception. Maybe hearing more of the song will eventually do it some justice?

We are very excited about some other bits, though! Of Monsters and Men! Sia! Imagine Dragons! The Lumineers! Lorde! PATTI FUCKING SMITH! All amazing artists, all of whom bring something totally different and original to the table.

There’s also a mix of artists we admittedly don’t know, like Phantogram, Antony & The Johnsons, and The Weeknd. We just barely know The National, Santigold, and Mikky Ekko (aka Rhianna’s barely-credited collaborator on “Stay”). But we’re ready and willing to get to know their music!

What’s most interesting here is the mix of genres, there’s pop, alternative, folk, and indie music. Experimental R&B and Hip-hop featured alongside the Godmother of Punk. The Catching Fire soundtrack is not going to let us settle down into one genre and enjoy. It’ll be a rollercoaster, but hopefully the music’s arrangement on the soundtrack will allow us all to enjoy its flow.

The Lumineers Named Their Track “Gale Song” and Our Hearts Are ALREADY BROKEN,
The Girl With The Pearl