The Hanging Tree

The Hanging Tree Gets Re-Remixed

In the past, we’ve made it abundantly clear how we feel about The Hanging Tree remix. To sum it up, we think that the original remix sent out to all the pop stations is not true to the spirit of the actual song and its meaning. Also, it just sounded really tacky, cheap, and unoriginal.

hanging_tree_by_la_chapeliere_folle-d4c4h7nBut alas, the song itself has sold really well (mainly in its original version) and debuted at #12 on the Billboard charts (as compared to #82 for the soundtrack single, “Yellow Flicker Beat”). It seems that Republic Records wants to ride The Hanging Tree train alllll the way to the station.

Was the pop remix enough? OF COURSE NOT! Have you learned nothing?! To make sure they could get this song the absolute maximum exposure, we’ve also got an alternative remix now:

When we saw alternative, we got a little worried because the genre contains all manners of music and could, quite possibly, have gone off the deep end quickly. It’s basically the “et cetera” genre.

But then we listened and… it’s almost like someone out there tried listening to the fans of once! We’ve been saying that The Hanging Tree is not a hip, dance-y pop number. It’s minimalist and dark. And this remix actually makes an effort to focus on the vocals and the message with a low-key musical arrangement with haunting undertones. That plucking but that reminds us of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” makes us raise an eyebrow a little, but it’s still a major improvement.

The original will always be the best, in our opinion. It’s meant to be something powerful, sung without musical backup by a young rebel before a crowd catches on, a classic score swelling up behind their voices. Nothing is ever going to beat the movie version. But if The Hanging Tree HAD to be remixed for radio, it should have been something like this all along.

We Actually Want To Hear This Again. It’s A Miracle!
The Girl With The Pearl

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Victor’s Village Holiday Giveaway 2014!

It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiime of the year!

Well, kinda. We mean, Mockingjay Part 1 hype is mostly over and there’s roughly 8,000 things to do and everyone’s finances are pretty bleak… BUT we’re going to put a little pep in your step this holiday season with a chance to win some incredible Hunger Games themed prizes!

There’s no major tasks or hoops to jump through this year, mainly because we totally procrastinated on this sucker. You’re welcome!

So let’s look at the stellar prizes, shall we?

Custom Hanging Tree Lyrics Mug by CuppaCharisma

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As if winning this gorgeous mug with some poignant Hunger Games lyrics on it wasn’t enough, CuppaCharisma is going to customize the back of the mug with a bare tree and the winner’s first name!

Mockingjay Shot Glass Set by CosplayKreations

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A set of 3 of these etched 1.5oz beauties could also be yours! Glassware is a great way to show off fandom without getting too flashy and… what can we say? We like shots!

Catching Fire Best Buy Steelbook Edition
The Hunger Games/Catching Fire Wal-Mart DVD Combo Pack

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Looking to collect ALL the Catching Fire DVD editions or know someone who is? You’re in luck! Two runners up will receive either a Catching Fire Best Buy Steelbook edition or The Hunger Games/Catching Fire Wal-Mart DVD Combo Pack!

ENTER THE HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY HERE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Our holiday contest is open internationally. Contest ends on December 27th. Winners will be contacted on December 28th.

No matter what you celebrate, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

That Tone-Deaf Hanging Tree Remix

Remember when we saw the movie and LOVED The Hanging Tree sequence? How we bought the Mockingjay musical score and listened to James Newton Howard’s rendition over and over? How thrilled we were to see it rise to #2 on the iTunes charts (and #1 in many other countries)? How it debuted at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100?

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Katniss singing the next Capitol club hit? We don’t think so.

Well someone decided to fuck it all up with an upbeat remix that kills the emotion and message of the song. If you’ve been online the past day, you’ve probably seen a link to it, or heard it.  If you haven’t heard it yet, you may just want to sit it out. Our friends at Jabberjays.net and Hunger Games DWTC have great editorials about why this remix is just so wrong, and we agree wholeheartedly that it needs to be pulled. The original version is what made the song a hit, it didn’t need its entire heart and soul ripped out to play on radio. It just needed enough people to like it and request it. If you want to shorten the arrangement, cool. But change the WHOLE MOOD OF THE SONG INTO SOME KIND OF CAPITOL PARODY? This move was clearly led and made by people who don’t care about the message of the song, and had no clue about why we love it.

But they did it. And it’s a major bummer that something we were so happy about was bastardized and could be played to the masses as if it were the real Hanging Tree track. We’ve noticed that the song has disappeared from the soundcloud and YouTube sources, so that gives us hope this remix might get buried. But in case it doesn’t, what can we do? Well, we can ask radio stations to play the original version instead. Tell Republic Records. Buy the original track from the movie. Watch the original version on YouTube.

No remixes needed, thanks.

If I hear that remix on the radio, I’m changing the station, and then tweeting them to play the original version.

JJ

The Hanging Tree: Breaking All the Rules

Jennifer Lawrence may have been more apprehensive shooting the pivotal Hanging Tree scene in Mockingjay Part 1, than she was shooting most other scenes in the entire franchise, but I think her nerves benefited her performance rather than hindered it. Money talks in so many ways, if people don’t spend it items for sale are considered failures, if people buy them in droves they’re a success– The Hanging Tree by that definition is a success then, because it’s breaking sale records left and right. As of Saturday the 29th of November, The Hanging Tree is the second most purchased song on the US iTunes chart. In the UK it’s in the number seven position, and on the Continent in countries like the Netherlands it’s at number four, and Germany where it’s at number one. I’m not sure if the popularity of this song is due to the fact that it’s sung by Jennifer Lawrence, that it’s part of the Hunger Games mythology, or that it’s just a good song– so I’m going to chalk it up to all three factors.

Jennifer Lawrence has said it numerous times that she doesn’t think she’s a good singer. The proof is in the recording however, ’cause as much humming and hawing as she did pre-Mockingjay Part 1’s release, the audience and her co-workers and friends say otherwise. I’ll even admit that I believed the pre-movie hype that Jen’s singing chops were sub par, but I think all the objections she’s made may be the vocalizations of years of childhood insecurity rearing its ugly head. Jen, lemme put it into words that you will never read, ’cause this is a fan-written blog, and you’re clearly a smart young woman who stays away from the Internet 90% of the time– but, you’re a good singer, and you should be nicer to your self, and also stop listening to your dad– dad’s are notorious assholes to their daughters. Dad’s pour ice water on us to wake us up before school, they also tell us there are monsters in our closets, or that gummy worms are real worms, or that chocolate is dirt– or they make fun of our singing voices after talent shows–so, for the love of god, tell your memories of your dad making fun of you to the back the hell up, and look at the song buying charts, and feel a little proud.

Give Jen a hand, she sang in front of people and she didn’t die! She cried a little, but she did not die!

Them There Eyes

P.S Anyone hoping Hanging Tree gets nominated for an Oscar? If that even possible?

Rallying Behind The Hanging Tree

(Small spoilers for the Hanging Tree sequence in the film)

The Mockingjay score is available to buy today, and after hearing it during the movie, I bought it first thing this morning and it’s been my musical buddy all day. The score, and in particular, The Hanging Tree, is the talk of the fandom, and we couldn’t be happier. With fan-created hastags like #BuyTheHangingTreeOniTunes flying everywhere, the song is rising on the digital download charts. It’s nice to see fans take hold of something from the movie they love and rally behind it. So why ALL THE LOVE?

It’s a great sequence in the MOVIE

From the earliest reviews, this was the scene that everyone was talking about. In a hugely positive way. Even the grumpy reviewers who couldn’t get over the fact that this movie was a Part 1 seemed to like the Hanging Tree scene, which is ironic, because this scene would very likely have never been filmed, much less make a final cut, in a one-movie-only Mockingjay. The way the song moves from Katniss’s thoughtful, quiet singing to a rebel anthem fits so well in the film. We like music that actually fits the film!

And it made a beloved scene in the book EVEN BETTER

It’s the best of both worlds when you can translate a tricky book scene like this so well in the film. This scene was a major call-out of what fans wanted to see in the movie. There’s a lot of ways this could have gone very terribly wrong. But somehow Francis & Co found a way to do it in a way that made it even more moving than it was in the book.

Jennifer Lawrence is singing, y’all

We’ve heard Jennifer Lawrence repeatedly insist that she’s an awful singer, but we all know that’s just some overly modest insecurity talking. She may not have the professionally trained chops of a Broadway singer, but that works for the song. Her bluesy tone and style feels real and honest and just right for that scene. Anything more polished would feel fake and too much like the choreographed propaganda that failed. There’s a definite novelty to hearing Jen sing, yes, but it’s not just because it’s Jennifer Lawrence, the big movie star signing it that we’re so enraptured. It’s the way she sings it – and the arrangement of the piece by the Lumineers and James Newton Howard.

And now we’ve got a tv spot with the song too.

We’re hoping Lionsgate pushes this song for awards contention. Even with all the lack of awards love this franchise gets, we think this song has a shot.

It’s going to be running through our heads for quite a while, but that’s just fine.

JJ

Human Flesh, Christmas Carols, and Mockingjay Press

Despite the veritable plague that has over taken half of the principle cast, everyone seems to be putting their best foot forward, and in Jennifer’s case Strep Throat diagnosis or not, she’s stepping foot on nearly every stage, carpet, or otherwise, in a stylish black and white ensemble.

Today I was home in the morning, this was an unprecedented occurrence as I’m usually up and out to work by 8am most days. But not today, today I had the morning off, which meant one thing: I was able to catch Josh Hutcherson on Live with Kelly and Michael, AKA the second most irritating couple on morning American TV next to Hoda and Kathy Lee! So, while I figuratively bit my hand so I wouldn’t fling the remote at Michael or Kelly’s giant heads, I was able to watch two sugary sweet segments of Josh being regaled with pat questions about hair conditioning, and then less sugary sweet subjects like his desire to try human flesh if it was ever offered to him. This only made me think one thing, maybe Josh really wants to do a remake of Alive, the 1993 film about the Uruguayan rugby team that survived after a plane crash in the Andes by resorting to eating the bodies of their dead friends, and fellow passengers. And, none of that can be considered a spoiler any longer, because it came out in ’93, twenty or more years in my humble opinion is ample time to know the plot of films like like Alive. Yes, Josh is a weirdo, but he’s our weirdo– which brings me to Jennifer’s appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.

As of when I am writing this article on the west coast of the United States, Letterman has not aired yet. However, a two-minute clip of Jen’s appearance was released well before air-time of the show in its entirety. And this is what we learned from the clip: Jen and Dave still have an unshakable rapport. Jen looks amazing even though she’s probably still sick as a dog. Dave tried to get her to sing, but Jen was Jen– and ended up demonstrating her singing chops with an anecdote involving her father’s merciless teasing, and a guttural rendition of Holly Jolly Christmas. The most important thing to be learned from this clip however, is that apparently Jen’s voice will be the voice we’ll hear when Katniss sings The Hanging Tree in Mockingjay Part 1. So from the horses mouth, or the girl who likes horses mouth, we now know it’s true– Jen’s singing for reals in Mockingjay Part 1.

Have a holly jolly Christmas guys! Oh wait, it’s November!

Them There Eyes

Something To Look Forward To

Over the last several months, it’s sadly come to my attention that there’s a vital part of The Mockingjay story that keeps getting looked over, or forgotten from the fan perspective. The music, or most importantly, The Hanging Tree.

I’m no music expert, But I’m a music the_hanging_tree_by_alys23-d4temogfan– I listen to all sorts of genres, but one genre I listen to in particular has a thread that weaves its way throughout The Hunger Games series, traditional American folk music, or Americana. Music that originated in Scotland, England, and Ireland, but immigrated along with the influx of immigrants from the British isles in the 18th century, and earlier to North America. The Hanging Tree however is an original song, penned by Suzanne Collins, but in the style of the folk music that amazingly was preserved for more than 200 years in the Appalachian mountains, purely by the isolated nature of the location, and its people.

The Appalachian mountains is where District 12 is located though, so that means that if and when we hear The Hanging Tree sung on-screen in Mockingjay Part 1, or 2, it may sound like this, rather than the multitudes of fan-made versions that from my experience are decent, but rarely take traditional folk rhythms, and lyrical cadences into account.

The Hanging Tree is a haunting song, a dirge, like “O Death”, which was brought back to the worlds attention when it was used in the Cohen Brother’s film O Brother Where Art Thou in 2000. That was 15 years ago though, and nothing like the Oscar winning O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack has come about since. And, get this– T Bone Burnett the producer of The Hunger Games soundtrack, produced O Brother. The Hunger Games soundtrack was good, I’ll give it that– I like to pretend however that it was better, and that certain pop singers had not recorded certain songs that were written and performed by a certain other Oscar winning singer/ song writer originally. The Hanging Tree, like the song I’ve feigned to above, will probably get the same treatment– erm, how do I say this nicely–? Jennifer Lawrence is not the best singer, in fact in the film The House at the End of the Street where she played a teenager with musical proclivities– they dubbed her voice out during the portions of the film where she was required to sing. So, I think for The Hanging Tree, we’re going to get someone else’ pipes being heard by that placid lake. That is unless Jen has become an amazing singer since House at the End of the Street was filmed.

Until then, if you’re at all interested in hearing and seeing more American traditional folk music performed on film, I recommend the 2000 film Songcatcher, O Brother Where Art There of course, Cold Mountain, and Inside Llewyin Davis.

Them There Eyes

Fathers, Be Good To Your Daughters

Welcome, welcome, to our latest guest post!

Today, Hunger Games Bookclub is here to talk about father-daughter relationships, an amazing fan film portraying the book’s most important (and almost totally unseen) one, and how a few moments can turn a child into a badass… or at least a lovely person.

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Learning her roots… literally!

Parenting. I’ve heard it described as the hardest job you’ll ever love. I’m not sure what image your mind conjures up at the word, but let me set the record straight. When you become a parent, you’ll find yourself saying a lot of things you never thought you’d say. Like “stop licking the carpet” or “quit biting your brother’s butt”. (I’m not kidding.) Oh yeah, you’re also going to say the dreaded “because I told you so”. It’s just going to come out of your mouth, unbidden, despite all the times as a child you promised yourself “when I have kids of my own, I will never say…”

But, parenting has some moments that are quite glorious: those times when you get to have a conversation with your children that feels heavy with importance – the kind that will influence them the rest of their lives. Did Katniss’ father have any idea how life-saving it would be to tell Katniss that as long as she could find her name, she’d never go hungry? Sometimes parents can be too busy, too distracted, too whatever to notice the opportunities for these conversations. But it would be good for their children and their children’s future, if every parent would keep their eyes open and look for these golden moments.

In Katniss’ case, she spent time hunting with her father. She learned the skills needed to find edible plants and to hunt animals, bringing food to the table that kept her family from starving after Katniss’ father died.

Dad and daughter moment! *sniff*

But what did they discuss when hunting in the woods those early morning hours? Mainstay Productions has given us a glimpse into that early world of Katniss with their newest film short, The Hanging Tree. Written by Down with the Capitol admin, Shylah Addante, this film may be short, but it’s a keeper. You can watch it here.

The film short starts with Katniss’ father sharing an important practical piece of information that she will need to know: the fence is not electrified unless you can hear it hum. This news is shocking to Katniss. She has not realized that the Peacekeepers are lying to the people. It leads into this marvelous momentous conversation between Katniss and her father about what happens OUTSIDE the fence.

I don’t want to ruin it for you so I won’t give any more details about the film short… you’ll have to watch it yourself. Although this script was not penned by Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, I think it is faithful to the relationship we glimpse between Katniss and her father in the books, and also the themes that we see woven so artfully between their pages. What is the role of government? Why is there poverty? What is freedom? How far are we willing to go to keep our freedom? What or who is worth dying for?

Those are the life-changing conversations that every father has opportunity to have with his daughter.

You never know… that little girl might grow up to lead a revolution,
Hunger Games Bookclub