The upcoming third installment of the “Hunger Games” trilogy brings with it an album mixed with artists famous and unknown, along with a relatively stable and thematic sound. If you’re a fan of Lorde, who curated the entire collection and whose own work is featured several times, then this album is most definitely for you. But if not, then it will be much harder to enjoy the album’s overall sound.
Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor, better known as Lorde, is a native of New Zealand and has taken the United States by storm within the past year. Her unique sound and young age are ironically perfect as she takes center stage in this album, commanding the list with a whopping four songs out of fourteen. In a way, her dominance over the album is symbolic, as she too is an empowered, famous young girl, much like Katniss Everdeen. In addition, her gothic look and sinister sound fit nicely with the tone of the movie.
Unfortunately for those who aren’t fans of Lorde, the singer-songwriter doesn’t bring much sound variance to the table. There is no remarkable difference between her previous hits and her new ones on this album. “Yellow Flicker Beat” attests to this lack of experimentation and constrained style. This lack of diversity brought on by the overload of Lorde makes the soundtrack a bit repetitive and boring to those who are not already followers of the popular musician.
That is not to say that the soundtrack is not worth a listen. It does include some mix of beats that provide you with an experience of the “Hunger Games” in quite the musical sense. The song “Original Beast” by Grace Jones takes the prize as the most representative song on the album. While there is no lyrical depth, or for that matter many lyrics in the song at all, the tribal background beat mixed with electronic sounds bump up the tempo in an otherwise slower collection of songs. It gives the impression of someone who is wild, untamed and unafraid; the developing attitude of the characters of the movie. This is the song where anyone can immediately picture Jennifer Lawrence in the middle of some big action scene.
The song that seems most out of place in the lineup is “All My Love” by Major Lazer featuring Ariana Grande. Its light lyrics and pop beat seem geared more toward a spot on the radio’s top-10 hits than the more eclectic “Hunger Games” soundtrack. Yet the daintier style coupled with Ariana Grande’s familiar high-pitched voice serves as a nice pick-me-up to the otherwise similarly-paced tracks.
The best song on the album has to be “Meltdown” by Stromae featuring Lorde, Pusha T, Q-Tip and HAIM. Stromae is a young Belgian singer-songwriter who is slowly gaining more and more recognition in the States, and it’s about time. His distinct sound and catchy lyrics have made him quite famous in Europe, with famous hits like “Alors on danse” and “Papaoutai.” Whether you know French or not, his music is definitely worth checking out, and his big break on the Hunger Games soundtrack may indicate his future growth in fame in the coming months. Although Stromae only produced the background music of “Meltdown,” it provides a good taste into his genre of music. In short, Stromae’s sounds add spice to Lorde’s voice and combined smoothly with the verses provided by Pusha T and Q-Tip. Its futuristic and mysterious sound fits the setting of the movie like a glove.
For the most part, the album follows the theme of foreboding with echoes and ominous sounds that creep in between the lyrics. It’s the sounds of an upcoming struggle and of danger ahead, which is exactly what the “Hunger Games: Mockingjay” is all about. Although Lorde steals the spotlight the album still attempts to provide a sufficient mix of young artists that make for an interesting soundtrack. Unfortunately, the overall lack of rhythmic diversity made the album fall somewhat flat.
Let’s just hope that the album does not foreshadow the quality of the movie. There is always the part two album soundtrack to look forward to, and hopefully it will come with a bit more variety. As for this album, it’s neither spectacular nor absolutely horrible. Consequently, this subpar standard is not enough to live up to its global “Hunger Games” hype.