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September 20, 2017

“New Moon” soundtrack fails to dazzle

Grade: C+

With the second installation of the Twilight Saga and “New Moon” coming to theaters in just under a month, teens and self-proclaimed “Twi-hards” alike need some sort of relief.

They will find it with the new release of music director Alexandra Patsavas’ compilation. Followers of this melancholy sequel will be able to place most of these angst-ridden tunes into their probable book scene settings easily. While the soundtrack is entertaining, monotony and predictability will prevent this anthology from being a lasting hit. Below I break down each track, one by one:

“Meet Me On The Equinox” – Death Cab for Cutie – “Meet Me” is a fairly decent track which is too similar to other Death Cab songs to be truly memorable. Anyone who has read the book will find the lyrics deep and fitting. For everyone else, the song educates on astronomy and provides an unexpectedly beautiful bridge.

“Friends”– Band of Skulls – “Friends” is a great follow up to this underappreciated band’s debut underground hit “I Know What I Am,” and provides similar repetitious guitar and baselines. It’s mediocre musically but great lyrically. Catchy, but not in an annoying bubblegum-pop sort of way.

“Hearing Damage”– Thom Yorke – The musical genius of Radiohead frontman Yorke is a great addition, lending a track with the electronica of Radiohead’s last album. It has the potential to be a hit.

“Possibility”– Lykke Li – This tune, which one could mistake easily for any other Bjork track, probably fits the movie well. That being said, it’s probably not worth a second listen.

“A White Demon Love Song”– The Killers – This track sounds like it belongs in a different decade, reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” in its verses, but bringing the listener crashing back to the 21st Century with the oomph of the drums and bass. It’s a good song about lackadaisical love.

“Satellite Heart”– Anya Marina – The second acoustic song on this album features decent lyrics. It’s not too remarkable, but it’s probably the best acoustic track on the album.

“I Belong To You (New Moon Remix)”– Muse – Without a doubt the most disappointing song on the album. Anyone who’s heard Muse will know that this sounds nothing like them. After the use of megahit “Supermassive Black Hole” on the “Twilight” soundtrack, this can’t compare. Muse’s new single, “Uprising,” would have been such a better addition. Considering that author Stephanie Meyer attributed much of her writing to this British band, this was a bad choice.

“Roslyn”– Bon Iver & St. Vincent – Unremarkable at best. It’s a high-pitched folk ballad with a slightly haunting cello, but it is simply hard to follow.

“Done All Wrong”– Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – A surprising relief in the middle of the soundtrack. The lithe sounds of the female accompaniment adds an appropriate, ethereal tone to the tune.

“Monsters”– Hurricane Bells – “Monsters” is a catchy toe-tapper that is a cross between The Killers and Interpol. A virtually non-existent chorus takes away from the song, but it’s salvaged by a powerful mid-track guitar solo.

“The Violent Hour”– Sea Bells – More fitting for an indie romantic comedy than a dark vampire flick, this song is way too happy-go-lucky to fit in with the depressing tone the film will adopt because of Bella’s lost love.

“Shooting The Moon”– Ok Go – Anyone expecting the same happy Ok Go from their last album will be disappointed. They’ve clearly matured musically, and not in a bad way. The song is an unexpected soft-rock hit.

“Slow Life”– Grizzly Bear – Hands down the best, most appropriate song on the soundtrack. A seemingly acoustic song becomes robust thanks to a grating guitar riff and pounding beat. If this track is any indication, Grizzly Bear will be on to bigger and better things in the near future.

“No Sound But The Wind”– Editors – The last of the acoustic tracks, singer Tom Smith pleads and toys with the emotions of the listener, reminding us that Bella will face some emotional upheaval in the new movie. Great song.

“New Moon (The Meadow)”– Alexandre Desplat – This instrumental is no Debussy, but not bad as far as modern pieces go. It definitely leaves something to be desired. Carter Burwell’s piece from the first of the saga’s movies was much more fitting. A tangible sense of finality at the end of the song provides an appropriate end to the soundtrack.

Overall, “Twilight Saga: New Moon Soundtrack” was decent, but the last soundtrack was simply better. There was a polarization of songs; it’s either boring, lilting acoustic or fierce indie-rock songs, which just gives one a sense that the music director is trying too hard to connect with a younger audience. Yes, there were a few gems, but it would be beneficial to rehire the original music director for the two remaining movies if they want to compete seriously with other legendary soundtracks.

Here’s hoping the next Summit production, “New Moon” itself, is a little better than this decent compilation, or this reviewer predicts riots at malls and middle schools nationwide.

Kate MacDonald can be reached at kaitlynm@student.umass.edu.

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