If you have not seen it already, I’m sure most of you will soon to see what the hype surrounding ‘The Hunger Games’ is all about. Even if you have not experienced this global phenomenon in a theater near you, you can experience a part of it with the original soundtrack to the film. The variety of artists is a bit jarring – from Kid Cudi and Arcade Fire to Maroon 5 and Miranda Lambert. But wait! The theme and feel of the movie (or trailer if you have seen it), are very present in each song – bringing you a collection that reads very much like a story in its own way as you follow Katniss (the film’s hero) on the silver screen. As a result, you might find yourself unaware that you’ve switched from a top 40 act to an unknown artist. Now, if you’ve heard the tender and haunting Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars collaboration “Safe & Sound” (The song that had me wildly anticipating the soundtrack), you might have an idea of how the soundtrack plays out. Excellently produced, and definitely unexpected, this is a record that may take a listen or two for it to sink in. However, whether you love or hate folk, are or are not a ‘Hunger Games’ fan, there is something in here for you. So take a listen, you might be surprised.

Here’s my track by track review of the album. Which ones did you like?

1. Arcade Fire – “Abraham’s Daughter” – A haunting march opens the track, which is quite fitting for the film. It is bleak sounding and militaristic, and if you are thinking Old Testament – it’s because the song refers to Abraham from the bible.

2. The Secret Sisters – “Tomorrow Will be Kinder” – A very sad and quiet ballad. If you have not seen the film, you might expect scenes that would call for such a song.

3. Neko Case – “Nothing to Remember” – This song reminded me of a Sara Bareilles track, with an indie-twist (like something you would hear at the end of an indie film).

4. Taylor Swift ft. The Civil Wars – “Safe & Sound” – I’ve been listening to this song since January and I still love it. It starts and ends in a whisper but between then we get a powerful march that comes and go – a great buildup. Taylor Swift lends delicate vocals, while the Civil Wars provide the foreboding sound to the track. (Unfortunately, I thought the video could have been better to match the incredible feel of the song).

5. Kid Cudi – “The Ruler and the Killer” – Quite a surprising addition, but I can see where this would fit in to the album. Metallic and futuristic – The picture that comes to mind (for me) is Fight Club in a factory with machines and melted iron everywhere.

6. Punch Brothers – “Dark Days” – This is one of my personal favorites. A sweet lullaby – and I love his voice! I believe his vocals, and the fiddle interlude matches the tone of the soundtrack.

7. The Decemberists – “One Engine” – I love the Decemberists and I was looking forward to this track. Unfortunately, it was one of my least favorites. I expected their sound to blend very naturally into the album, but it somehow feels out of place.

8. The Carolina Chocolate Drops – “Daughter’s Lament” – This sounds as though a character in the movie is singing it. Very raw. Not something I would sit down and listen to, but it fits well.

9. The Civil Wars – “Kingdom Come” – They get their own spot on the track after supporting Taylor Swift on “Safe & Sound” and I’m glad they did! This is a great track – their harmonies are on point, and delicately dance around the guitar. One of the highlights of the soundtrack.

10. Glen Hansard – “Take the Heartland” – The soundtrack picks up on this track. I do not know Glen Hansard very well, except for his “Falling Slowly”, which was what I was expecting. This track will wake you up.

11. Maroon 5 ft Rozzi Crane – “Come Away to the Water” – Adam Levine shows off his softer, folksier side. Not entirely sure I like this, but it is nice to see a different side from him after seeing him …. “Move Like Jagger”. More lamb imagery and march percussion sounds.

12. Miranda Lambert ft Pistol Annies – “Run Daddy Run” – The harmonies are on point, and Miranda Lambert’s vocals soar above the great drone-effect from the underlying vocals and guitar.

13. Jayme Dee – “Rules” – Never heard of Jayme Dee before, but her vocals are silky smooth. Not extremely memorable, but holds the album together quite well. But really, I love the jazzy and warm tone of her voice.

14. Taylor Swift – “Eyes Open” – This is a highlight of the track. Definitely more pop-sounding than the rest of the album, I would not be surprised if they made a video for this song too. You could say Taylor plays the Katniss of the soundtrack. This could be a song on her own album.

15. The Low Anthem – “Lover is Childlike” – This song whirls around you. Not something that could stand on its own, but its playful, nostalgic, and dream-like.

16. Birdy – “Just A Game” – Okay so I used to love Birdy before I got tired of her whole piano and ballad act with the sound of wind whirling around her. But this is a great song from her, she shows off, though I’ve noticed that she can sound a bit like she has a stuffy nose. She definitely has a promising future in store for her. But this is that much needed “stream of light in the eye of the storm”, “quiet scene at the end of the battle” feel in the album, and it is only fitting that it ends the album.

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