Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack review

14 Oct

This exact review was just published to Popwreckoning but I figured I’d repost it here just cause I’m proud of it. And the soundtrack is so freaking good.

Reviewing this album is bittersweet for me. For one thing, I hate all the hullabaloo that Twilight has brought along with it. It’s taken over so much of the media lately, and I’ve been sick of it since it started. When I saw the list of artists that were contributing to the Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack, my heart sank. Not because they were bad, but because they were oh so good, and the fact that they’d jumped on the Twilight bandwagon irked me so much. Secretly, I was hoping that the soundtrack was really really bad.

But I was proven wrong, because it’s so good.

Like, really good.

As of right now, I’m separating the soundtrack from the film, because the soundtrack will surpass the quality of the film no doubt. And I’ll take you through Alexandra Patsavas’ musical masterpiece piece by piece, as it’s the only way I can do it justice.

1. Death Cab for Cutie – “Meet Me On The Equinox”
As far as a Death Cab song, when I first heard this I was a little underwhelmed. But I think they’ve mixed it differently for the final soundtrack, so it’s grown on me a bit. Sure, the hook is a little generic for a Death Cab for Cutie song, but as far as a catchy single to start off the soundtrack, it works really well.

2. Band of Skulls – “Friends”
Track two had a completely different vibe as the songs surrounding it – as it’s more upbeat, and provides a lightness that the soundtrack otherwise doesn’t have. It’s the first of a few very raw sounding tracks on this album, which is something you didn’t get from the first film’s soundtrack. “Friends” isn’t a huge song, but it’s a nice departure from the other big songs on the record.

3. Thom Yorke – “Hearing Damage”
This was the one track I was dying to hear, as I’ve been a huge Radiohead fan for a long time, and it’s hard to criticize Thom Yorke for anything. And yet again, like the song says, Thom, “You can do no wrong… in my eyes.” A great throwback to Eraser from a few years ago, “Hearing Damage” is a dreamy electro track full of ominous synthesizers and tricky drums.

4. Lykke Li – “Possibility”
When I heard that Lykke Li would be contributing a song, I was expecting something similar to “I’m Good, I’m Gone,” for a less intense part of the movie, maybe when Bella isn’t seeing Edward in her head, but this slow ballad is so beautiful. It almost reminded me of “Lover’s Spit” by Broken Social Scene, with the heavy constant piano chord and lo-fi sound.

5. The Killers – “A White Demon Love Song”
This was the only song that didn’t seem to fit so perfectly with the rest of the soundtrack, but that could be the context The Killers bring with them, but I totally dig it as a Killers song. It goes back to Brandon Flowers’ natural crooning vocals without any of the frantic energy he seems to have adopted with Day and Age.

6. Anya Marina – “Satellite Heart”
To tell you the truth, the opening hook to this song sounds so much like another of Marina’s songs “Move You.” But then again, Alexandra Patsavas is also the music supervisor for “Grey’s Anatomy,” which is where I heard “Move You.” But as “Satellite Heart” moves through its verses and choruses, it gets bigger and draws you in more. The violin additions towards the end gave me goosebumps too.

7. Muse – “I Belong To You”
The original version could have easily gone in this version’s place. The remixing didn’t make it any better, nor did it necessarily make it any worse. This is by far the peppiest song on the record, which may mean something that it’s right in the middle. I don’t know, but this song didn’t wow me so much now, mostly because I’ve listened to it so many times since the AMAZING Resistance came out last month.

8. Bon Iver & St. Vincent – “Rosyln”
Let me tell you, Justin Vernon’s vocals layered with Annie Clark’s and mixed with the understated acoustic guitar and banjo made for the best song on the record. By far. I could listen to it all day. It’s just…wow.

9. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Done All Wrong”
BRMC’s distinctly lo-fi sound here works exquisitely, with the hints of southern rock and blues adds a different kind of sadness to the record, which up until now has lacked the depth that blues can bring. And what’s so ironic is that BRMC was on the season one soundtrack to “True Blood,” another bit of vampire fare.

10. Hurricane Bells – “Monsters”
Similar to “Friends,” “Monsters” is very much an upbeat song, with a hint of hopefulness. As a heavy movie watcher, I think “Monsters” almost sounds like one of those songs that editors layer over a montage, but not a cheesy one. Not quite filler, but not quite a stand-out, “Monsters” is one of the middle-of-the-road songs on the soundtrack.

11. Sea Wolf – “The Violet Hour”
The second happy song in a row, “The Violet Hour” is so dancey you wonder what’s happening in the story where they play this song. It also emphasizes the vocal theme throughout the record – quieter, smaller vocals – which is different from the first soundtrack with Paramore’s Haley Williams’ loud rock-chick vibe and Chester Bennington’s raw shriek.

12. OK Go – “Shooting the Moon”
A typical OK Go song, with Damian Kulash’s soft, dreamy crooning, “Shooting the Moon” is another lighter song on the record. But what makes this song even better is the stark contrast that comes in the last minute of the song with heavy bass and strong distorted guitar riffs.

13. Grizzly Bear – “Slow Life”
Coming off an amazing record, Veckatimest, Grizzly Bear doesn’t lose any of their authentic sound here with the intentionally droning vocals from Beach House’s Victoria Legrand adding to the ominous, woodsy feel of Grizzly Bear’s music. As the song goes on, it builds to the climax which makes it fit perfectly on the soundtrack.

14. Editors – “No Sound But The Wind”
In tandem with their latest release, this marks the beginning of a new period for Editors, losing the heavy Interpol parallels and moving into a rawer, anthemic sound. “No Sound But The Wind” essentially finishes out the record in terms of rock songs, and it is the perfect ending in terms of emotion.

15. Alexander Desplat – “New Moon (The Meadow)”
It’s hard to talk about a classical song in the context of an otherwise indie rock soundtrack, but by itself, this song makes me actually kind of excited to hear the full score. It’s not too long, yet not too short, to give us just the right amount of classical to actually finish off the album.

This went on very long apparently, but hopefully it enlightened you to how awesome this soundtrack is. It moves fluidly through different emotions and different keys and sounds like one of those great mix CDs that you made for your significant other when you were going through a “rough patch.” Even if you hate everything Twilight, give the soundtrack a chance.

You won’t be disappointed.


One Response to “Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack review”

  1. candace grubbs 11/20/2009 at 2:19 am #

    i totally agree with number 8 being the best song on the soundtrack! i knew it the minute i heard it!

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