Stellar Soundtrack: The Hunger Games – Songs from District 12 and Beyond

Soundtracks have always been one of my favorite ways to capture and retain the mood and memory of a film, as well as to discover new (and old) music.  They are akin to a professional “mix tape”.  And, oh, how I love “mixes”…of course I long ago graduated from mix tapes to mix-CD’s, but I’ve enjoyed countless hours spent compiling assortments of music over the years, in part inspired by my love for soundtracks.  Maybe one of these days, I’ll put together a list of some of my all-time favorite soundtrack albums…I’d love to hear yours, too, so please feel free to share!

T-Bone Burnett

One of the proven “Kings” of film soundtrack production is Grammy and Academy Award winning producer/songwriter T-Bone Burnett.  Here, he has done it once again, gathering a unique mix of musicians, both mainstream and lesser known, all of whom do an exceptional job of capturing the themes and mood of the book (and film) through their songs.  I first listened to this album after reading the book, before seeing the movie, and truly felt like I was reliving the book through the songs ~ via both sound AND lyrics.  In some cases lyrics are taken directly from the pages of the book ~ and they translate in every instance.  Each track has a place here.  Burnett chose his artists wisely…and they certainly delivered.

Very few of the songs on this soundtrack are actually featured in the film.  It is more a compilation of songs “inspired” by The Hunger Games.  There are definitely strains of both Oh Brother Where Art Thou and Cold Mountain in the album’s frequently folksy, Appalachian style, which I wouldn’t necessarily have imagined for this film.  But it works.  Very well indeed.  And there are plenty of non-folksy tracks to satisfy all tastes. Continue reading