Music

That Tone-Deaf Hanging Tree Remix

Remember when we saw the movie and LOVED The Hanging Tree sequence? How we bought the Mockingjay musical score and listened to James Newton Howard’s rendition over and over? How thrilled we were to see it rise to #2 on the iTunes charts (and #1 in many other countries)? How it debuted at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100?

hanging tree

Katniss singing the next Capitol club hit? We don’t think so.

Well someone decided to fuck it all up with an upbeat remix that kills the emotion and message of the song. If you’ve been online the past day, you’ve probably seen a link to it, or heard it.  If you haven’t heard it yet, you may just want to sit it out. Our friends at Jabberjays.net and Hunger Games DWTC have great editorials about why this remix is just so wrong, and we agree wholeheartedly that it needs to be pulled. The original version is what made the song a hit, it didn’t need its entire heart and soul ripped out to play on radio. It just needed enough people to like it and request it. If you want to shorten the arrangement, cool. But change the WHOLE MOOD OF THE SONG INTO SOME KIND OF CAPITOL PARODY? This move was clearly led and made by people who don’t care about the message of the song, and had no clue about why we love it.

But they did it. And it’s a major bummer that something we were so happy about was bastardized and could be played to the masses as if it were the real Hanging Tree track. We’ve noticed that the song has disappeared from the soundcloud and YouTube sources, so that gives us hope this remix might get buried. But in case it doesn’t, what can we do? Well, we can ask radio stations to play the original version instead. Tell Republic Records. Buy the original track from the movie. Watch the original version on YouTube.

No remixes needed, thanks.

If I hear that remix on the radio, I’m changing the station, and then tweeting them to play the original version.

JJ

Rallying Behind The Hanging Tree

(Small spoilers for the Hanging Tree sequence in the film)

The Mockingjay score is available to buy today, and after hearing it during the movie, I bought it first thing this morning and it’s been my musical buddy all day. The score, and in particular, The Hanging Tree, is the talk of the fandom, and we couldn’t be happier. With fan-created hastags like #BuyTheHangingTreeOniTunes flying everywhere, the song is rising on the digital download charts. It’s nice to see fans take hold of something from the movie they love and rally behind it. So why ALL THE LOVE?

It’s a great sequence in the MOVIE

From the earliest reviews, this was the scene that everyone was talking about. In a hugely positive way. Even the grumpy reviewers who couldn’t get over the fact that this movie was a Part 1 seemed to like the Hanging Tree scene, which is ironic, because this scene would very likely have never been filmed, much less make a final cut, in a one-movie-only Mockingjay. The way the song moves from Katniss’s thoughtful, quiet singing to a rebel anthem fits so well in the film. We like music that actually fits the film!

And it made a beloved scene in the book EVEN BETTER

It’s the best of both worlds when you can translate a tricky book scene like this so well in the film. This scene was a major call-out of what fans wanted to see in the movie. There’s a lot of ways this could have gone very terribly wrong. But somehow Francis & Co found a way to do it in a way that made it even more moving than it was in the book.

Jennifer Lawrence is singing, y’all

We’ve heard Jennifer Lawrence repeatedly insist that she’s an awful singer, but we all know that’s just some overly modest insecurity talking. She may not have the professionally trained chops of a Broadway singer, but that works for the song. Her bluesy tone and style feels real and honest and just right for that scene. Anything more polished would feel fake and too much like the choreographed propaganda that failed. There’s a definite novelty to hearing Jen sing, yes, but it’s not just because it’s Jennifer Lawrence, the big movie star signing it that we’re so enraptured. It’s the way she sings it – and the arrangement of the piece by the Lumineers and James Newton Howard.

And now we’ve got a tv spot with the song too.

We’re hoping Lionsgate pushes this song for awards contention. Even with all the lack of awards love this franchise gets, we think this song has a shot.

It’s going to be running through our heads for quite a while, but that’s just fine.

JJ

Hints from the Mockingjay Part 1 Score Tracklist

The official Mockingjay Part 1 Score has been available to pre-order at Amazon for a few days now. We’re hugely excited for the score, which again is under the direction of James Newton Howard. We already knew that The Hanging Tree, sung by Jennifer Lawrence, would be a part of the score, but today, the track list appeared on the Amazon site. We are so intrigued!

MJ1 scoreSince some of the tracks could be a little spoilery, I’ll put a cut here before digging into the tracks and our predictions for WHAT IT ALL MEANS.

(more…)

Win The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Soundtrack Prize Pack!

HAPPY MOCKINGJAY PART 1 RELEASE MONTH, HUNGER GAMES FANDOM! It’s a damn good time to be a fan!

HG_Mockingjay_Soundtrack_Approved Cover

While early impressions of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack have left fans pretty polarized, there are some people who really, reeeeeeally want this soundtrack ASAP thank you very much. If you’re one of those fans, good news is that you can pre-order the soundtrack now! The better news is that we’ve got a treat for you!

How about a sweet Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack prize pack? Each prize pack includes…

  • CD of Soundtrack
  • 12”x12” limited edition Soundtrack lithograph
  • 12”x12” limited edition Yellow Flicker Beat lithograph

FIVE lucky fans will be winning this prize pack by this time next week, so get your entries in now!

Want some reassurance that you’ll have the soundtrack in your possession on November 17th? Pre-order it now!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER VIA RAFFLECOPTER!

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Does The Mockingjay Soundtrack Strike The Right Tone?

Yes, we’re doing a Part Deux on our original Mockingjay soundtrack post. Because there’s a lot to say on this baby. SORRY NOT SORRY!

Gorgeous drawing but.. NO NOT REALLY.

Gorgeous drawing but.. NO NOT REALLY.

When it was first announced that Lorde would be curating the soundtrack, we were very apprehensive. Now that the full soundtrack listing and the first couple songs are here, we kinda feel like our dreadful gut instinct had it right (and genuinely, we hate it when that happens.)

Them There Eyes noted that all but a couple names are unrecognizable to her. She did call herself an “old fogie” and I’m gonna give her that (or maybe “old folkie”), because I recognize about half. And then I researched the other half. Some say that recognition isn’t the important element but YES. YES IT IS. For a soundtrack especially, you want artists that people are interested in enough to buy the songs simply because they’re a part of it.

That’s why Lorde was chosen to lead this sucker up. She’s very popular right now and she has rabidly creepy fangirls who probably don’t care who else is on the soundtrack as long as she is:

And I’ll admit, “Yellow Flicker Beat” is good. Not my anthem of the year, probably not going to be added to the personal collection, but we don’t cry whenever it comes on the radio. Still, THAT is the best this soundtrack has offered us to far. “Meh.”

On top of that, this doesn’t seem so much like Lorde curating as promoting herself. She’s part of FIVE SONGS on the fourteen song soundtrack, possibly six, as there’s still another song that has yet to be announced. Surely she was going to be involved and do at least a couple songs, but this honestly feels a bit like a Lorde EP and some other stuff thrown in there under the guise of promoting a movie.

Even when the music provided isn’t reeeeeally hers and crafted by other great artists like The Chemical Brothers and Miguel– yes, we actually like The Chemical Brothers’ other music and Miguel’s more typical babymakin’ R&B music style– the product is SO DISAPPOINTINGLY AWFUL.


“This Is Not A Game”?
THIS IS A NOT A SONG! If this, in the eyes of the record label, is the second best track the album has to offer up, we’re absolutely not buying this. Even the site that originally posted the song first said something along the lines of “It takes some getting used to, but if you listen to it a few times, you’ll warm up to it.” Having a background in journalism, my initial reaction was “Oh sweetie, you’re just getting paid to say that. *pats head*” And again, we usually enjoy the artists involved, so we’re baffled. WHAT. THE. FUUUUCK.

Some people are arguing that the intention of the artists has been to stray from their other music to better suit the soundtrack, but as Rory discussed with us on Twitter, lines like “Word to Gucci, that’s my hitta” don’t have a damn thing to do with The Hunger Games. And they’re not negated by the fact that lines about starting a revolution are in the same song. Anyone in music can sing about starting a revolution and they do… often. So really, how is this about The Hunger Games other than getting put on the soundtrack again?

Though Lorde has claimed to have some pretty eclectic music tastes in the past, the soundtrack just doesn’t reflect that. AT ALL. To us, that’s the unsatisfying part. The Catching Fire soundtrack is still our favorite because it offered a nice mix of different musical styles and artists. There was some straight pop, some hip hop, some folk… All in one happy bundle! The Mockingjay Part 1 is an electropop hip hop mash-up with a couple outliers. There’s barely anything that qualifies as diversity. The first soundtrack did this with folk music (with the exception of Kid Cudi’s “The Ruler And The Killer”, which stood out in the best way possible), but that soundtrack was also advertised specifically as an Appalachian folk collection derived from District 12.

Tell us, what does a mostly EDM collection represent? District 13? The Capitol? Panem as a whole? We don’t feel that it does. That’s why soundtracks need diversity. And this one failed majorly at that. It’s not about hating on hip hop as surely someone will surely turn around and say (we don’t hate hip hop or fun, beat-thumping music, you know!) but this soundtrack, from what we’ve seen and heard, is a better representation of a frat party or a club than the journey of The Hunger Games characters in Mockingjay. And when you’re not much into music and you want songs that help you connect to a story you love, this outcome sucks.

SUCKS, WE SAY!

The Girl With The Pearl

Oh, The Mockingjay Soundtrack Possibilities

Can you hear it?

No, not the red, orange, yellow flicker beat sparking up your heart (because the buzzing and thumping in that song make it too hard to hear that anyway….) THE SOUNDTRACK RUMORS! THEY’RE STARTING!

We’re hoping it’s just a matter of days before the whole glorious tracklist is announced, but in the meantime we’ll salivate over a few measly rumors.

It's coooommmminggg!

It’s coooommmminggg!

According to Page Six, Mockingjay Part 1’s soundtrack will include Grace Jones, Simon Le Bon, Diplo, Charli XCX, and Kanye West.

Let us be the first to say that PAGE SIX IS NOT THE MOST RELIABLE OF SOURCES. We know that as well as the next person. The only reason we believe it could possibly hold any weight is that of the publication wanted to spread salacious rumors per usual, they’d talk about something other than a movie soundtrack.

Also, we’re not going to talk about Kanye West. Because fuck that dude.

Let’s start with the 80s. Grace Jones isn’t exactly a household name nowadays, but she was fairly well known back then. Her music, it seems, is of the R&B avant-garde electropop nature that’s directly up Lorde’s alley. We can’t say that we love the music we’re finding during our research, but who knows how the decades since have changed her musical style? Even more surprising is Simon Le Bon. Admittedly, we only know him as “the guy from Duran Duran” and their sound is pretty straight-forward pop with a funky edge. But the man has a solo career as well, one in which he experiments with all different sorts of sounds.

Because someone out there made this horrid manip and WE NEED TO SHARE IT RIGHT NOW!

Because someone out there made this horrid manip and WE NEED TO SHARE IT RIGHT NOW!

Next up comes Diplo, who we’re not too familiar with, but we know he’s the DJ who worked with Sia and The Weeknd on “Elastic Heart” for the Catching Fire soundtrack. But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking many people were excited for anyone but Sia on that track. We would assume he’ll be working with someone else on this soundtrack, because most of us need more than beats thumping. Maybe our next artist, Charli XCX?

Charli gained her notoriety from “Boom Clap” from The Fault In Our Stars soundtrack, all the singing parts in Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”, and generally sounding like Gwen Stefani when she’s not doing that slow, jazzy thing. We’ve not totally reached the saturation point with her current two songs, but we’re getting pretty damn close. Lorde would probably dig her sound because it has the same vibes, but the choice isn’t quite as innovative as any of the others. Charli XCX is pretty cool in the moment, but we’re not putting her in the next big thing category quite yet.

So until we get an actual track listing.. We’ll see!

This Slightly Nonsensical Post Brought To You By A Fever,
The Girl With The Pearl

The Yellow Flicker Beat of Lorde’s Heart

Today was the debut of the first song on the Mockingjay Part 1 companion album, “Yellow Flicker Beat.” Lorde had given some teases of the first few lines of the song, with marble princesses, scars of silver and gold, and blood made of rubies. This made some wonder if the song was about Johanna (the marble statue in the early Capitol video) or Effie with her ties to the Capitol. I was very much hoping that would not be the case. This is the first song, and presumably the first song that will play over the end credits. It needs to fit the tone of the whole movie, and needs to be about Katniss’s journey.

Well the good news is that the song is indeed inspired by Katniss’s experiences. Lorde is a big fan of the books, and in her interview with KROQ today explained how she tried to get into Katniss’s head with this song.

Basically I wrote the song specifically for the movie, it wasn’t something that I had to draft up previously. I reread the books, and I just wanted to tap into everything that Katniss is feeling in that film and what’s the crazy stuff that goes on. One of the things that happened in the book which to me felt like this crazy turning point was her best friend Peeta tries to kill her, he’s been brainwashed and tries to strangle her. It just felt like something so irreparable and something that the characters couldn’t turn back from. I felt like Katniss was like ‘okay, I’m taking names. I’m coming for blood. You don’t do these types of things to my friends and family and get away with it.’ I just wanted to make something kind of dark and haunting.

We all have different tastes in music. If you’re a fan of Lorde, you probably love “Yellow Flicker Beat” because it’s very much a Lorde song. Lorde’s voice and musical style worked for Catching Fire on the cover of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” It was dark and powerful and fit well with the tone of the film. I wouldn’t have liked that song to be at the end credits, but it was a fine addition to the soundtrack.

yellow flicker beatWith “Yellow Flicker Beat,” we have an original Lorde song, written about how Katniss is feeling in this movie. There’s a darkness to the song, which is appropriate, so why am I not loving this?

I think the lyrics, especially at the beginning are very out of step with Katniss. She would never describe herself on these terms. That’s why people were confused about what this song was about with those initial teases. And the buzzing uhhhhhhh running in the background is a bit distracting, unless she’s trying to hint to us that Katniss is doing some kind of mediation while hiding away from the perils in her mind. Doubt it, though. I think it’s just Lorde trying to create some layers to the song and it not working well.

If you weren’t told this was about Katniss in Mockingjay, would you make the connection? Would it make any fan-made playlists? Sure, it’s got the obligatory reference to fire, and later lyrics of “this is the start of how it all ends/they used to shout my name now they whisper it” ring true , but the marble, silver, gold, rubies, red, orange yellow flicker beat language– that’s Lorde imagery. It’s Lorde being way more expressive than Katniss would ever be about her situation. The pop beat that takes over the song halfway through makes it catchy but also distracts you from the initial seriousness of the song. Who cares about problems? Now I feel like dancin’.

Soooo, what’s wrong with that? Isn’t that what happens in soundtracks “inspired by” the motion picture. Lorde doesn’t have to channel Katniss 100% to do right by the song. And a song more purely staying with Katniss’s experience might be a little boring. In the KROQ interview she acknowledges the challenge of writing for soundtracks.

You can’t take that many leaps, it becomes your song and not their song so it was definitely about keeping in that mindset and just thinking about ‘What would Katniss do?

I think Lorde genuinely tried to make this a song about Katniss, but it became more a song about Lorde, and the kind of music she likes to make. And that would still be an ok thing to have on the Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack. People like her songs and it would help album sales. But this song is supposed to be more than that. It’s the debut single from the soundtrack, and presumably will be the first song to play during the end credits. So after we’ve ended with whatever cliffhanger Francis Lawrence decided to go with, this song is going to play. That’s what makes me nervous. I want the song to make the end that much more powerful. Without seeing the whole film, we can’t completely know how well this song works, but I’m worried.

I worry a lot though, so I’ll just add it to the long list.

JJ

 

The Yellow Flicker of Mockingjay’s First Soundtrack Single

Today Lorde announced that her single from the Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack would be released next Monday, September 29. We can’t wait to hear the song and over-analyze the lyrics!

We got a three word clue with the title of the song, “Yellow Flicker Beat.” Okaaaay. Not much to go on. Beat of a heart? Beat of music? Beat up Peeta? All of them? Oh Lorde, are you being deep? Good, cause we’d like that.

Yellow flicker as in the start of a fire? Flicker of alarm lights? Why yellow and not orange? Is it because Peeta is not there to care (and is being beat up)?

Clearly this is not enough information for us to make any serious guesses.

We also got the cover art, which is very simple and understated. No frills, just like District 13 likes it.

yellow flicker beat

While it is very simple, at least it’s not just re-using a movie poster like the Atlas art from Catching Fire. Or this incredibly bizarre Katniss pose from “We Remain” that I just had to bring back for old times sake.

Christina_Aguilera_We_Remain_cover

We still don’t get it, Katniss. But we love you.

ANYWAY, we’re excited to hear Lorde’s song, and all the songs she pulled together in curating the soundtrack because it’s new stuff. And we like new stuff.

In the meantime, don’t miss the long-awaited return of HG Fireside Chat tonight at 10PM EST! TGWTP and TTE will be talking trailers and Luly is going to discuss her great guest post from last week!

JJ

The Lyrical Take On The Mockingjay

Apparently the trailer isn’t the only thing that’s taking its sweet time! Last year at this time, we were already had a chance to listen and read the lyrics to Catching Fire’s Grammy nominated “Atlas” by Coldplay. But this year? We got news that a song is being recorded, at least!

We’ll acknowledge that a 5 minute song is probably nowhere near as time consuming as a roughly 2 1/2 hour movie and can be completed quicker depending on the artist’s schedule, Soundtracks don’t usually come out until right before the movie, so they technically don’t have to rush. But it seems like a crazy big part of this whole production should be renamed THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART PROCRASTINATION.

Anywaaaay… The latest news started with a quick lyric post from Lorde:
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It was soon confirmed that these were indeed lyrics for one of her Mockingjay Part 1 songs, specifically being recorded for the end credits– because if you’re going to curate a soundtrack, you’re conveniently going to put your own damn music in the position that makes it eligible for awards NO MATTER WHAT. The song will reportedly be “moody, dark, and powerful”, which is basically what we’d expect from any song about this movie. The film certainly ain’t gonna hold your hand and make you smile, after all!

While we don’t think the use of the word “princess” in the lyric is our favorite as the term itself suggests someone who is spoiled and desperate to be in charge– neither of which we believe accurately describes Katniss in MJ Part 1. And inevitably somebody will make a connection to “Royals” and we’ll hate it. But it’s interesting to see how a musician would try to express Katniss’ state of being.

Then again, two lines isn’t a full verse, let alone a single, so we can’t fully judge. …Can the powers that be get us the full single as soon as possible so we can properly judge it, please?!

Please Prove That Teenage Poetry CAN Be Good, Please!
The Girl With The Pearl

Oh, Lorde: The Mockingjay Part 1 Soundtrack

Today, Lionsgate made an announcement that actually surprised us (and not in a way that we immediately hated either, which is even more surprising!)

Yup, the Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack is going to be put in the hands of a 17-year-old. A successful 17-year old who makes catchy original music (albeit a bit overplayed), but a teenager nonetheless. One that every other young adult with a moderate knowledge of music is looking at, whining “Dammit! I totally could’ve picked the songs for the soundtrack too!”

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Oh, Lorde-y!

Here’s what F-Law had to say:

“I sat down with Lorde on the set of ‘Mockingjay’ this spring and I was immediately struck by how she so innately understood what we, as both fans and filmmakers, were trying to accomplish with the film. Her immense talent and keen understanding of Mockingjay’s characters and themes not only have enabled her to create a song of her own that completely captures the film’s essence, but her insight and passion for our project make her the perfect creative force to assemble the other songs on our soundtrack. I can’t wait to share what she’s done with the fans — it is truly remarkable.”

We continue to think positive because IN FRANCIS WE TRUST, but we have some questions.

Mainly, what happened to Alexandra Patsavas?! She’s the music supervisor who put together the stellar soundtrack for Catching Fire, a decent amount of other films (yes, including the Twilight saga, but the soundtracks were good!), and a lot of your formidable years if you’re in your twenties (via The OC and Grey’s Anatomy). We realize she’s involved in a lot of projects, but this one is BIG and exciting and it would have been nice to have her curating.

Secondly, how eclectic is Lorde willing to go in her “curating” choices? Her music isn’t easily categorized in one genre (alt pop? electropop?), but that doesn’t mean she won’t lean toward a certain style. There’s two ways she could go–
1) All T-Bone Burnett on us, with a very distinct sound and style based on a theme, like the first soundtrack.
2) A more rounded approach that captures multiple themes and moments, more like the second soundtrack.

Personally, we’re better fans on the second approach, but we know lots of people prefer the first. The first soundtrack outsold the second, so what do we know?

Mainly, we appreciate her because she just let's her hair HAPPEN. You dig?

Mainly, we appreciate her because she just let’s her hair HAPPEN. You dig?

But that leads to this: Who’s doing the soundtrack for Mockingjay Part 2 and how will the two mesh? Maybe you’ll disagree, but we think that while The Hunger Games’ and Catching Fire’s soundtracks are their own entity, the two Mockingjay soundtracks should complement each other. Yes, Lionsgate and the filmmakers will try to argue it’s two very different stories even though it’s from the same book (to justify the split, of course)– the emotional story and the war story or something similar– but it’s all Mockingjay and there’s a ton of similar emotions running through the WHOLE story. We think there should be a similarity and a wholeness between Part 1 and Part 2’s soundtrack.

Now, let’s get to her actual music involved…
Are we completely, totally blown out of the water by the idea of Lorde creating a single for the Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack? Not really. We imagine it’s more of a smart business decision to get a big-selling, popular name repping the soundtrack. Yes, Lorde WAS on the CF soundtrack, but she wasn’t the face of it. Coldplay was, despite the fact that their music typically appeals to a crowd much older than The Hunger Games’ demographic, and Christina Aguilera was, despite her music under-performing in recent years and her song being one of the blandest in the arrangement, to boot. On the other hand, THG went with tween favorite Taylor Swift and scored big in sales, despite many fans not loving her involvement.

So we don’t know if Lorde is the perfect choice, but all things considered, she’s probably the best artist rep so far. Let’s hope she’s good at picking out other songs with a variety of emotional meanings, too.

Betting On The Return Of T.Swift Since They’re Besties,
The Girl With The Pearl