Here's how this is going to work -- originally, I planned on writing my thoughts on every single song but if I did that I wouldn't be able to finish this until Breaking Dawn Part 2 (Birth of the Creepy Kid) came out.
I admit that I was kind of torn about not doing that but my mind was made up when ML threatened to toss my laptop out the window after I listened to each songs about thirteen times. In a row.
Did I mention I wasn't using headphones?
Instead, I've decided to divide this out - The Fuck Yeah, The What the Fuck?, and Meh. I'll cover which songs stuck out the most in each category. Those that aren't included really didn't impress me enough or enrage me enough to make it in this critique at all. I mean let's face it - these are just my very strong opinions. I'm definitely no Pitchfork Media, after all.
Overall, my synopsis of this soundtrack is that it's good. The underlying theme that seems to run through the songs is a sense of urgency, of something impending, and I think it's absolutely spot on to the story line of Eclipse. Sure, there were a few duds in there, and a couple of the tracks made me want to smack old ladies, but overall, I think this is the best soundtrack out of the three.
Let's get started, shall we?
What the Fucks
Neutron Star Collision (Love is Forever) - Muse
First thing out of my mouth was "who the FUCK is this terrible band?" So yeah, I didn't like it. I know so many of you absolutely love this band and I will say that I think all their songs are always very put together and well -- if not over -- produced. Let's put it this way - the band itself isn't necessarily bad, they've just made a bad choice with this song.
This particular song is simply beyond "over the top". It smacks of Meatloaf-ness levels of theatrical-out-there-ness. Honestly, it belongs on an off Broadway musical about plaintive teenagers coming of age more than it belongs on this soundtrack.
Ours - The Bravery
There is poppy, and then there is poppy on No-Doz, wearing an ironically cheesy outfit, replete with handle bar mustache and whatever the fuck it is that people-who-try-too-hard-to-be-cool-without-looking-like-they're-trying-to wear. It's the kind of pop that, after hearing the first few beats, you think "huh, this ain't bad" but then you realize that's only because the band sounds exactly like a band from, oh, about 20 years ago or so and they're not pulling it off. They're just kind of sympathetically amusing and silly looking.
This is that song. Sam Endicott's voice grates my nerves to the core and the eighties synth pop is cheesy and cliched.
My Love - Sia
The biggest disservice they could have done to Sia was to put her song immediately after Florence and the Machine. I actually had to listen to the album on a random shuffle so I wouldn't be overly influenced by the heavier sound of Florence and the Machine. Florence and the Machine is in your face. It stomps into your ear drums and dances around your tendons and muscles whether you want it or not.
Sia is the opposite. Her voice is perilously close to being whiny. It's kind of whimsical, but I suspect because this is a more somber song that shies away from a poppier sound that Sia seems to favor. Or, tries to favor. In general, her music is flat. It floats the possibility of having a potential for something, but tapers off into a conventional dullness that, on a good day, makes my fingers twitch for the "skip" button. On a bad day -- I just want to delete this shit from my iPod.
The Line - Battles
This band, according to Wikipedia (aka, it's probably not entirely accurate), calls this band an "experimental rock supergroup". I call this band an experimental rock supersuck because, well, they suck. Or, at least, this particular song does.
While I tend to get my "experimental rock" genres mixed up with other various genres such as "noise rock" or "ambient rock" (yet another reason why I would never, ever be asked to write a music review on, say, a music blog), this song teeters on the edge of "fucking annoying rock" for one hot second before it plummets into the abyss of suckdom.
As I listen to this song, I can't help but conjure up scenes from Pee Wee's Big Adventure and the frenetic coked-up tempo that suddenly turns into a ridiculous big-top-circus-y-free-for-all makes my eardrums ache and my brain overdose on the grandiose stink of it all.
Eclipse (All Yours) - Metric:
If there is a cookie cutout for indie rock bands, I imagine that Metric would be able to fit their sound into it quite comfortably, and I don't mean that insultingly. Soft and breathy, Emily Haines' vocals float whimsically and dreamily over smooth and familiar guitar riffs. This is not to say that the song is bad -- it's simply extremely palatable in a very bubbly, sugary way.
Personally, I've never been enthralled with a band that is easily interchangeable with hundreds of different bands and it's a shame, because Haines is no stranger to the indie scene, having lent her voice to Broken Social Scene on their 2002 album, You Forgot it in People.
Jonathan Low - Vampire Weekend
Shocked this made it into the Mehs? Yeah, me too. I love Vampire Weekend - I think they are a buttoned up group of folks who mix rock with African pop beats like it's nobody's business. While Jonathan Low has all the good mixins' for a Vampire Weekend hit, it falls just short of usual pulsing, vibrant tunes.
Like this one, for example:
Let's Get Lost - Beck and Bat for Lashes
Though I've never heard of Bat for Lashes prior to this soundtrack, I am quite familiar with Beck, which may be the only reason this song even made this critique.
My first thought upon hearing this tune was "this is cheesy as shit." It's a little silly and sounds like it belongs on a soundtrack from an 80's movie and I almost half expect to see Maverick and Goose walking down the tarmac or something.
However, I can't deny that instrumentation of this song is pretty damn tight, with the perfect beats as background a various array of keyboards and synthesizers.
The Fuck Yeahs
Heavy in our Arms - Florence and the Machine
This song is one of those songs that, for a brief moment, trembles on the precipice of being just too much. Too in your face, too urgent, too desperate in its emotions -- but it ends up filling out beautifully, spreading into a wonderful balance of all that too much so that it really isn't enough at the end of it. It's the kind of song that I find myself leaning into, trying to glean every last note, every nuance of her heavy, commanding contralto and I can't help but hear a whisper of Annie Lennox from the Eurythmics in her tone. This is not a bad thing, not in the least.
Atlas - Fanfarlo:
Fanfarlo is like Okkervil River and Crooked Fingers getting together for a drink and a jam session. It's easy going, folky as fuck but cleverly bouncy. There is no doubt that these dudes know their way around more than a few guitars and drum-kit. Among other things
They've taken two genres of rockin' out and melded them together seamlessly, the Mandolin creating a dancing little ditty that has my toes tapping and my head bopping, regardless of just how many people stare at me in the subway.
Chop and Change - The Black Keys
I once told Shore Whore Ninja that I didn't particularly care for The Black Keys. I'd like to recant that statement.
This song has a slightly gritty, totally bluesy sexy bad-ass sound that snakes into your head and refuses to leave. The keys and the strings perform a nasty dance with the heavy bass and drums and the gravelly rumble of Dan Auerbach's vocals do funny things to my insides.
Let's put it this way -- if this song was a patron at a bar he would be that guy with a cowboy hat, tattoos and a sexy confident smirk who was sipping cheap whiskey and smoking even cheaper cigarettes.
Rolling in on a Burning Tire - The Dead Weather
The blues are definitely en force on this soundtrack, though they take a Southern gothic turn on this tune. Alison Mosshart's voice is sex and gasoline and rides on (and above) the talents of Jack White and Dean Fertita.
With a hint of psychedelic sixties and sultry sinister darkness, this song is straight, steady and strong.
Life on Earth - Band of Horses
This band is like a balm to my soul. I love soothing crooning of Ben Bridwell's voice, accompanied by the soft, ever present keys/organs and the strumming of who-knows-what: electric and acoustic guitars for sure, though I detected something that is either a hollow bodied guitar and a banjo, being strummed instead of plucked.
There is an intensity and beauty in a sound that seems, at first listen, to be somewhat mellow and almost shy. But then the truth comes out.
So there you have it!
Please let us know what YOU thought of the soundtrack. What did you love? What made you want to smother small kittens in ketchup?
And which songs do you think will show up in which scenes? I know I've already been making my bets...