The Hunger Jams: The Music of The Hunger Games Track by Track
  • THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012

  • Posted by: Joe Puglisi

Hello sports fans! Getting pumped up for Panem's most famous and literal ultimate fight to the death? Don't know ANYTHING about The Hunger Games but want to partake in scrutiny of its soundtrack? Well then read on as we take The Hunger Games OST on in a track-by-track analysis of just how well this big-name musical players recreate the worlds of Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, Effie, President Snow (and Gale, I GUESS) through the magic of song. May the audibles be ever in your favor.

We tried to embed YouTube links wherever possible, but some songs are only available on Spotify.

1. Arcade Fire, "Abraham's Daughter"



The militaristic drum-beat and generally pessimistic take on the role of parents matches up with the dystopian order of Panem, the main location of The Hunger Games characters and their lives. Katniss lost her father and her mother has been more of a burden than a help in the wake of his death, and Katniss is already fighting metaphorically when we meet her (before the games make it literal). Plus, Arcade Fire hates "the man," and that's like the whole point of The Hunger Games.

2. The Secret Sisters, "Tomorrow Will Be Kinder"



The calm in the midst of chaos. Things occasionally look hopeful for Katniss during the games, but those moments never seem to last.

3. Neko Case, "Nothing To Remember"



Katniss spends her life living under the radar, so becoming famous overnight (as one of the 24 tributes for the Games) is a bit jarring for her non-existent social skills. Luckily her stylist, Cinna, helps her say more with her outfits than she ever could with her mouth. Ironically, she's all anyone seems to remember.

4. Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars, "No One Is Safe"



A lot of these eerily quiet songs have a decidedly folk-sy tilt-- a good move for the mythology of Panem, which despite its futuristic capital, is made up of twelve districts that seem technologically muted. From the trailers, District 12 residents seem like field mice compared to the haughty city-dweller outfits of people from the Capitol. Also Taylor Swift is the epitome of being unbelievably humble in every ridiculous situation, which is definitely a Katniss-type quality.

5. Kid Cudi, "The Ruler and The Killer"



If there was a Hunger Games between all these artists, Kid Cudi would definitely be one of the first to go. Here he seems to be channeling President Snow's cruel side, but for the most part we only see a goofy monster instead of the calm cunning of the series' main antagonist. That being said, it's a fun song!

6. The Punch Brothers, "Dark Days"

You can't stop the folk! They do a good job here with the whole silent melancholy/angsty thing that the Twilight soundtracks kind of ruminate on, is anything going to take a positive spin on things?

7. The Decemberists, "One Engine"



The Decemberists got paid some money to write an exclusive Decemberists song for The Hunger Games, that may or may not loosely related to the events of the movie.

8. The Carolina Chocolate Drops, "Daughter's Lament"

This one makes direct references to a "mockingjay" Mockingjay (the third novel) and shooting arrows (Katniss's specialty), much more appropriate! The strange rhythmic undertones put an emphasis on the subtle undertones of rebellion throughout the novel... but the folk-focused top layer keeps it grounded in submission. 5/5 for capturing the mood. Plus 'Carolina Chocolate Drops' kind of sounds like some sort of fancy Capitol fare Haymitch might send to Katniss during the Games.


Check in next week for part two.

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