If the books and the newly released film have not fully rounded out the complexities of the message in “The Hunger Games” franchise for viewers, fans should look no further than the soundtrack. Contributed by various artists, the album features interpretations of the films themes of rebellion, disillusionment, corruption and war.
The soundtrack may include the music of no less than 13 different artists — with a few appearing more than once — but it maintains a strident sense of consistency with the guitar-driven folk style. The chugging bass line and lyrics about self-sacrifice for the sake of others found in The Decemberists’ “One Engine” show just that. However clever this solid application may seem, the album’s cohesion seems so strict that the clunky, slow-paced folk-pop ballads quickly wear on the listener, allowing monotony to prevail.
Relief comes only in the form of the few delicate moments on the album, most notably from Taylor Swift, who puts forth a song that strips away her country roots to make room for the gutsy string-infused track “Eyes Open,” and with lyrics like “Every lesson forms a new scar/ They never thought you’d make it this far,” the harsh reality of the film’s message of governmental control becomes alarmingly clear.
With the hype of the film in mind, the soundtrack’s featured artists name-drop plot elements from the movie so flagrantly that only a true fan could be expected to sit through this slow-paced album for more than 15 minutes.
Holding true to its purpose, however, “Songs from District 12 and Beyond” is sweet to the ears of anyone that has given in to the philosophical ponderings of the film’s plotline.