When I first read Carly M.’s ideal song choices for a soundtrack for The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (for ages 12 and up), I loved her list. If I haven’t mentioned it yet, I love The Hunger Games. And I love a lot of the bands on her list. But the more I thought about it, the more it’s one of those things where I love it but . . .
But they’re not the songs I would have chosen! So, I gave it some thought and came up with . . .
Carly H.’s (that’s me!) picks for The Hunger Games soundtrack:
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
I matched my song choices to scenes from the book, so if you haven’t read the book you might want to skip this entry.
“Lion’s Roar” by The Hush Sound
“The circus songs just carried on / Out of the crowd three men rush out / And scream and shout, ‘Everybody Stop!’”
Reaping Day. . .
I think this scene needs a song that is falsely cheerful, as though the capitol is pumping out the mood music, and “Lion’s Roar” by The Hush Sound is one of my favorite songs. The song, as the title implies is the story of a circus, and it has the upbeat melody of a traditional circus, carnival, or parade — blaring trumpets included. Then, like the first chapter of The Hunger Games ends with the ringing of Effie announcing “Primrose Everdeen,” the cheerful melody of the song cuts off abruptly, leaving the words “Everybody Stop!” echoing in violent silence.
“Round Here” by Counting Crows
“Can’t you see my walls are crumbling? / Then she looks up at the building and says she’s thinking of jumping.”
On the roof in the Capitol the night before the Games start. . .
Even if you don’t know the Counting Crows, you probably know their songs. They are one of those bands whose songs define the movies they are in; their song “Accidentally In Love” in Shrek set the tone for Shrek and Fiona to fall in love. But ‘”Round Here” is different. It’s a melancholy song about a girl who’s trapped, which makes it the perfect song to define Katniss at this moment.
“Hello Time Bomb” by Matthew Good Band
“Life’s for the living / So check me tomorrow / We’ll see if I’m kidding”
The 60 seconds of waiting are over, and the Hunger Games begin.
The Matthew Good Band was one of Canada’s most successful alternative rock bands of the 90s, and after they broke up, Matthew Good went on to a successful solo career in Canada. It’s a shame his music never made a dent in the US, because it’s brilliant. This song has the hard, driving pulse of the clash at the Cornucopia and the pain-filled lyrics to go with it.
“I Want Blood” by Empires
“If it ain’t your love, I want blood from you.”
Katniss realizes Peeta has teamed up with the Careers.
The lyrics pretty much say it all. Katniss thought Peeta was in love with her and on her side — well, as much as anyone can be on anyone else’s side in a kill-or-be-killed environment — but then she sees that he has teamed up with her biggest threat.
“Set Fire to the Third Bar” by Snow Patrol featuring Martha Wainwright
“I’m miles from where you are / I lay down on the cold ground / I pray that something picks me up.”
Katniss finds Peeta injured and moves into the cave with him.
So, this song choice probably outs me as a Katniss/Gale shipper. But regardless of whom you want Katniss to end up with, this hauntingly beautiful song is the perfect one to go with the section of the book where Katniss and Peeta move into the cave. Gale is at home, watching the games on TV. Peeta is injured, feverish, and dying from blood poisoning. The Games are miles away from anywhere love can exist. And Katniss is alone, performing a show she doesn’t have the lines or cues for in the desperate hope that she gets it right — so what she needs falls to her from above.
“Archers” Brand New
“Meet me tonight on the turnpike, my darling / ‘Cause we believe in everything.”
Katniss sets off to get the medicine from the Cornucopia.
If “I Want Blood” is the song I picked solely for the lyrics, then “Archers” is the song I picked just for the music. And while the title is coincidentally perfect, I didn’t know the title or the lyrics until I looked them up for this entry. But you could make a case for any of the songs on Brand New’s latest album to be on The Hunger Games soundtrack (or for the whole album being the soundtrack) because the music is the perfect discordant mix of quiet desperation and raw, angry rock.
I know there’s a few major moments from the book that I’m missing (Rue, the ending), but try as I might, I can’t find any songs on my iPod that feel right. What about you? Do you have a good “Rue song” or a good ending song?
What about my other choices — agree? disagree? Let me know.
— Carly H., STACKS Staffer