Lorde is probably one of the most in-demand and untouchable young talents in the music industry right now. The 18-year old alternative-pop savant from New Zealand has been given the honour of curating the new Hunger Games soundtrack and boy, did she turn it the hell out.
Mockingjay Part 1 is the third soundtrack of the popular anthology and is, quite rightly so, the most hyped one yet. Just like the movie, you get a sense that each artist selected for the soundtrack needs to breathe some level of cool, youthful rebellion. Lorde herself would fit the bill quite well but this isn’t a Lorde album in disguise, per se.
Sonically, the album is a cohesive and magnetic mix of hip hop and alternative electro pop. The album opener ‘Meltdown’ is probably the best summary of the different influences at play here. Belgian producer Stromae cuts a mean, strutting electro beat while Q-Tip and Pusha T throw punchy rap verses and Lorde owns the hook with HAIM on backing vocals.
As well as securing in-demand figures in the industry like Kanye West, Charli XCX and others for the project, Lorde has also submitted a new track ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’, produced by Paul Epworth who was behind Adele‘s monumental album 21, and a spine-tingling cover of Bright Eyes‘ ‘Ladder Song’.
Kanye’s remix of ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’ (aptly retitled as ‘Flicker’) feels somewhat like a missed opportunity. While his stark revision fits the mood of the album nicely, one can’t help but wonder how much better it could have sounded if he had rapped on it.
This soundtrack also points the spotlight on emerging talents like Swedish singer/songwriter Tove Lo and R&B artist Tinashe. But there is also a splash of revered music icons like Grace Jones who contributes ‘Original Beast’, an abstract percussion-heavy track, and Duran Duran‘s Simon Le Bon who appears on Charli XCX‘s song ‘Kingdom’. The track is a considerably softer than the kind of stuff we’re used to from Charli, so much so that she’s virtually unrecognisable.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 definitely raised the bar for the major movie soundtrack series. To put it simply, this is a cohesive, curious and complex body of work. The collective fascination you hear from critics and fans alike is a testament to Lorde’s vision and ability to connect different themes in the movie with songs executed by the right artists.
I mean, who else could get pop bambi Ariana Grande to appear on a track with Major Lazer and press it on the same album as Grace Jones, The Chemical Brothers and Bat For Lashes?
Stand out tracks: ‘Meltdown’, ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’, ‘Dead Air’ and ‘All My Love’.