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The National Keep Cool in New 'Catching Fire' Song

'Lean' set for soundtrack, which comes out November 19th

Matt Berninger of the National performs in London.
Burak Cingi/Redferns via Getty Images
November 7, 2013 11:25 AM ET

The National sound restrained and somber on "Lean," their new contribution to the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack. The band builds a moody texture of acoustic guitars and, later, violin embellishments as frontman Matt Berninger portends doom with lyrics like, "Everybody needs a prayer and needs a friend/Everybody knows the world's about to end." Throughout the song's four minutes, though, the band barely break a sweat, keeping their cool even as Berninger coos "Dying is easy" in the chorus.

The soundtrack will be released on November 19th. In addition to the National, it features songs by Christina Aguilera, Patti Smith, Sia, Lorde, Antony & the Johnsons, Santigold and more. The Catching Fire song "Atlas," by Coldplay, recently won the Hollywood Song Award from the Hollywood Film Awards. 

Behind the Scenes Photos from the 'Catching Fire' Set

Meanwhile, the movie, which follows up the wildly popular 2012 flick Hunger Games, comes out November 22nd. As seen in long and short trailers and clips from the movie, it finds actress Jennifer Lawrence reprising her role as Katniss Everdeen. As she attempts to celebrate a victory in the first movie, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) seeks to discredit her, leading her to take part in a high-stakes competition. This chapter in the four-part movie series, which is based on three books by Suzanne Collins, will see Philip Seymour Hoffman and Sam Claflin join the cast to play, respectively, Gatekeeper Plutarch Heavensbee and Finnick Odair. The final two films in the series are scheduled to come out in November 2014 and November 2015.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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