Hoping to capture some of the amazing roots music success that the O Brother Where Art Thou? Soundtrack gave the music world, producers for the literary film adaptation for The Hunger Games Young Adult novels decided to bring in T Bone Burnett to helm the project and with him came a diverse group of artists including Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert/The Pistol Annies, The Civil Wars, Neko Case, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, The Punch Brothers, Maroon 5, The Low Anthem and Arcade Fire. In other words, for the most part, a rootsy collection of artists that wouldn’t likely normally be anywhere near a film soundtrack together, particularly for a film as buzzed-about as The Hunger Games.
The Secret Sister’s “Tomorrow Will Be Kinder” is a sweet reminder of the sisters fantastic harmonies while the Gold-selling (soon to be Platinum) Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars collaboration “Safe & Sound” is moody, brooding and just plain enchanting. The Punch Brothers (which features Chris Thile of Nickel Creek) offer up the somber “Dark Days” while The Carolina Chocolate Drops sing a beautiful Celtic song called “Daughter’s Lament.” All of these songs find a mood being set up and quite honestly it’s refreshing that songs with real depth are part of a soundtrack like this instead of being a collection of modern pop or aggressive electronica songs (seeing as the film’s set in a dystopian future).
Other standouts on the record are “Come Away To The Water” from Maroon 5 and Rozzi Crane, a song that suggests that Maroon 5 could have a brilliant roots music album in them, the Pistol Annies song “Run Daddy Run” (Credited to Miranda Lambert with The Pistol Annies but we know that Miranda IS a Pistol Annies member) and finally, Taylor Swift’s “Eyes Open.”
In the end, T Bone Burnett does another fantastic job with this collection of songs. Sure, some fans of the books may be disappointed that there aren’t more aggressive metal or electronica songs on here but who says that a bleak, dystopian future would include such types of music?