http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/14024993915cbff453255864063ea78cb717fa08.jpg The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 and Beyond

Various Artists

The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 and Beyond

Universal Republic
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
March 20, 2012

If you're not already bitten by the Hunger Games bug, you may be unaware that District 12 is what's left of Appalachia in the not-too-distant future, or that the games pit 24 teenagers in a battle to the death. But those details loom large over this surprisingly faithful collection of original songs. Here comes Taylor Swift, armed with nerf-metal guitars, advising our heroine to sleep with one eye open, and Neko Case turns the character's transition from invisibility to fiery glory into a grandly swirling pop moment. For better or worse, this is the rare soundtrack that feels like it's made by and for fans. So it's appropriate that some of the highlights come from young adults fresh out of the YouTube trenches, like 15-year-old Birdy, who scored a hit with a Bon Iver cover last year, and who shows up here with the goth-y piano ballad "Just a Game." Thank T Bone Burnett, who gets a production or writing credit on all but one track, and ups the game of even Maroon 5. But blame him as well for creating an apocalyptico Appalachia that has never seen a hoedown and has no idea how to make joy out of mud. Arcade Fire fill the darkness with spectral portent on "Abraham's Daughter," and the Decemberists provide a jolt of electricity with "One Engine," which sounds like R.E.M. in Sixties garage mode. But too often the pervasive mournfulness tilts more maudlin than high-lonesome. Would a little more teenage-wasteland rebellion really have been too much to ask?

Listen to "Safe & Sound":

Taylor Swift, Arcade Fire Talk 'Hunger Games'

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    The Pack | 2006

    Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

    More Song Stories entries »