The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack is officially out in anticipation of the film release Friday. As is increasingly common practice for these types of blockbusters, it features a ridiculous array of music talent -- Lorde, Stromae, Pusha T, Q-Tip and HAIM are all on the first track. But besides "Yellow Flicker Beat" by Lorde, which is a straight-up fantastic song, the whole thing sucks, hard. But that shouldn't be a surprise.
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The word soundtrack is used pretty loosely here, because none of these songs are actually in the film. Instead, this is more of a companion album, or really, a musical flyer for the multi-million dollar franchise. None of the songs or artists fit the vibe or atmosphere the Hunger Games creates. They are more suited for a bad house party playlist curated by a seventeen-year-old. But they do serve a very specific purpose, which is this: Lionsgate threw some money and creative freedom at some big name and disparate artists (Haim, Lorde, Kanye, CHVRCHES, Major Lazer) in the hopes that whenever a song plays on the radio or Spotify listeners immediately think, "Oh yeah, The Hunger Games is out, I should go see that."
If that's the kind of music you want to consume, go ahead. Enough people have that all the Hunger Games "soundtracks" broke the top 10 of the Billboard charts and the movies have made a stupid amount of money. You should pay it as much mind as you do the giant poster of Katniss you've walked by in the mall, because that's all it really is. Just a not-so-subtle reminder that the franchise, according to its creators, is big and culturally important and worth your attention and money.
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We could spend far too long talking about the quality of the songs themselves, but again, they are hardly worth a listen. That first song, despite featuring that ridiculous array of artists, just sounds like something Kanye might have written while on Molly. It's a good introduction to the hot mess the rest of the album is. There's a song by Major Lazer and Arianna Grande, which is something no on has ever wanted to listen to, and the rest of the tracks are uninspiring and forgettable. To paraphrase a friend, "I didn't make it to the end. It just made me feel sad."
Don't let the Hunger Games soundtrack make you feel sad. Ignore the hype that the media has thrown into it, go buy Pure Heroine if you want to listen to some Lorde, and if you want to see the movie, go for it, it's probably fantastic. But the soundtrack isn't, and is unworthy of your time and attention.
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