various artists twilight: new moon ost
  • THURSDAY, DECEMBER 03, 2009

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Amidst the myriad of tween jokes, Burger King promotional tie-ins, and team talk, few can deny that the sensational second installment of the Twilight series is attracting a large audience. But it is important to remember that "sensational" does NOT mean culturally significant or compelling. That being said, although it seems gimmicky in hindsight to enlist several of the music world's most talented and promising acts to write original material for your OST to sell records, it is kind of cool in a "I'd never admit this in public" kind of way. Music blogs were all over the mysterious hidden track list and when the Death Cab song broke, it received unabashed (if not self-deprecating) attention from all of us. Now with the full record out, and the movie in theaters, I can honestly say that this isn't a bad record. However, an important note: it does not sparkle.

First of all, it is easy to woo me when you have original songs by Thom Yorke, Gizzly Bear, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Bon Iver and St. Vincent. Seriously, I would be interested if they all created original material for episodes of Sailor Moon, six hours of competitive Bowling, or Spam commercials. "Slow Life" received a lot of attention when GB played it live a few times before the record release, and to their credit, they didn't phone it in. The BRMC song "Done All Wrong" also sounds genuine. The only band who seems to have skipped on the bill is Muse, who offered a remix in lieu of writing a new song for the collection. I guess they don't like Kristen Stewart expressions of angst.

That expression is probably the most annoying and important thing about the OST; the entire thing is one long sigh. Even the "happy" songs sound like they are frustrated. The mood is decidedly dark and mellow, with few moments of actual climactic tension or build. "Meet Me On The Equinox" and "The Violet Hour" (Sea Wolf) are both deceptive in this regard, although they both sound a bit upbeat, the aesthetic doesn't totally fit with the rest of the toned down misery permeating through each track. Whatever, its hard to be cohesive with a different artist for every track. At least it is enjoyable.

The New Moon OST received a ton of press, not to mention indie blog attention, and in that regard it is certainly a success. At the end of the day it probably sold pretty well, and some of us were generally excited to hear what some of our favorite artists thought of vampire-werewolf-bad-actress love triangles. However it is important to note that almost none of the artists on the album saw the movie before writing their contributions. So in a way, the album is somewhat detached from the cultural mythos of the popularity of the Twilight series. I don't know about you, but that certainly made me feel better about putting it on replay. -joe puglisi

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MP3: Thom Yorke - "Hearing Damage" (New Moon OST)

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