Album Review: Twilight: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2008)

Okay, I am painfully aware of the fact that I’m a twenty-two year old woman (and now I feel even older upon realizing that I first started writing for Epinions when I was thirteen.  Where does the time go?!).  I am painfully aware of the fact that I should be above all this, and that admitting to this next fact puts me into the category of the twelve year old pre-tweens at the elementary school that I WORK at.  But I’m here today to shamefully admit that I, Brittany Brown, am a Twilight fan girl.

No, no, no…not an intense one.  My Twilight love is nothing like my Harry Potter obsession.  Because you know, Twilight is kind of silly.  As easily as I’ll admit to being a Twilight fan, I’ll also easily admit to the franchise, as a whole, being all kinds of fail.  The books are poorly written (I’m sorry, Stephenie Meyer, but how do you break your OWN canon?!  One day I will review Breaking Dawn, and I hope she sees it and rethinks her writing career), the first movie was horribly directed and acted, and the insane amount of merchandise is ridiculous.  I do feel ashamed for associating myself with the fandom, but the facts are the facts: I am a Twilight fan.

Which means, despite how bad the books are, I still fell for the hook, line and Edward Cullen sinker.  No matter how bad the movie was and how many times my friends and I have turned it into a drinking game (a shot for every unintentionally funny line, a shot for each poorly acted scene- we were drunk thirty minutes in), I still own the DVD.  And of course, I own the accompanying soundtrack.

The odd thing about it, however, is that the Twilight (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) isn’t all that bad.  I bought the CD (on the day it came out, no less…*sigh*) before the movie was released and found myself listening to it on repeat for months thereafter.  Sure, it’s nothing mind-blowing or revolutionary, but the disc is a collection of nice punk/pop/rock songs that just about anyone could enjoy- Twilight fanatic or not.

Twilight creator, Stephenie Meyer, has an admitted obsession with British rock band, Muse, so it was no wonder that one of their songs would show up on the disc.  Before the movie was even made, Meyer had posted her suggested “playlists” of songs to listen to while reading the Twilight books, and several Muse songs made the cut.  For the album, Twilight director, Catherine Hardwicke, choseSupermassive Black Hole, a song from Muse’s ’06 release, Black Holes & Revelations.  I’ve already been properly acquainted with Muse and consider myself a fan, so the guitar-heavy beginning was instantly familiar to my ears.  The song is one of my favorites of Muse- a catchy, rocking delight, full of attitude and electric guitar.   The track is played during one of the action scenes in the movie (while the Cullen vampires play baseball) and fits well during the scene and fits perfectly at the beginning of the album.

Paramore follows with one of their two offerings to the album’s soundtrack.  The punk band was asked exclusively to record songs for the album, and Decode works nicely with the Twilight theme, as lead singer, Hayley Williams sings, “The truth is hiding in your eyes/And its hanging on your tongue/Just boiling in my blood/But you think that I can’t see/What kind of man that you are/If you’re a man at all”).  Decode was pretty much hailed as the movie’s theme song, which is fitting.  Paramore’s other offering to the album is a down-tempo number titled, I Caught Myself.  The song is hardly used in the film, which is a bit of a shame as I actually like it more than Decode.  Musically, the song is a bit slower, but William’s vocals sound better, and the song just sounds better to me, overall. Either way, both of Paramore’s songs on the album are a treat, and though I was again, already a fan prior to the album, the two songs made me love them a bit more.

Even rock band Linkin’ Park offers up a previous released song, Leave Out All The Rest to the disc.  The song is another slower paced one, and the dreary melody and (for lack of better descriptive words) emo lyrics, “I dreamed I was missing/You were so scared/But no one would listen/’Cause no one else cared…” go well with the movie and particularly Edward Cullen’s brooding character.

Despite the album having a few big names on it, there’s also quite a few contributions from lesser known bands and artists.  One of my favorite songs on the album is Full Moon, a song by British band, The Black Ghosts.  The song has a sort of Aztecan-Native American upbeat sound, and the song is one that I love listening to while driving, especially as it pairs nicely with the desert scenery I’m privy to while living here in Nevada (and the song is actually used in a scene where Bella leaves the desert in Arizona).   80’s band, Collective Soul, offers up their campy wonder, Tremble For My Beloved, and the song is so totally 80’s that I almost want to put on some wayfarers while I listen to it.  Seriously, from the cheesy backing music to the power vocals and corny refrain (“Oh, I tremble for my love always”), the song is incredibly corny, but, well…I kind of love it.  Meyer originally included the song on her Twilight playlists, so I’d been used to hearing it in conjunction with Twilight, and so now I have fond memories of the song paired with Edward Cullen.  Sorry, my fan girl is showing again.  I’ll stop it.

There’s a few iffy songs on the soundtrack , however (yes, more iffy than the above).  I’ve heard a lot of different buzz about the electro-rock quartet, MuteMath,  over the years, but their Spotlight (Twilight Mix), hasn’t convinced me that I’m missing much in not hearing their albums.  The song is a remix of sorts, but it’s still a little too frantic and all over the place for my taste, personally.   The same can be said of Go All The Way (Into The Twilight), a loud, busy song by singer Perry Farrell.  The song is used during a prom scene, and honestly shouldn’t have been included on the album- it’s way too loud and obnoxious and borderline annoying, at times.   Danish electronica band, Blue Foundation offers Eyes On Fire, a subdued and sultry little number, that’s not nearly as irritating or annoying as some of the other extras on the album, but still goes on for a good five minutes with the same repetitive melody and droning vocals.
Thankfully, Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen) saves the day.  I was pleasantly surprised when news broke that Pattinson would be contributing to the film’s soundtrack as a vocalist.  Pattinson had been singing in underground clubs for a few months during the filming of the movie, but under a different moniker, Bobby Dupea (some sort of conglomeration of a characters played by Pattinson’s favorite actor, Jack Nicholson).  Fans of Pattinson and Twilight discovered long before the soundtrack was released that Bobby- I mean, Rob- had quite a lot of musical talent.  This is apparent on his offering to the soundtrack, Never Think.  Not only did Pattinson write the song himself, he also plays guitar for the slow ballad, that sounds something like a mix of Ray LaMontagne and Kings of Leon (whom happen to be both one of Pattinson’s and Kristin Stewart’s (Bella) favorite bands).  Pattinson’s scratchy and soulful vocals might be a surprise to first time listeners- honestly, you don’t expect that kind of voice to come out of Pattinson’s pretty mouth, but it’s a treat to the ears anyway.   The iTunes digital version of the album includes another song from Pattinson, a similar sounding ballad entitled Let Me Sign.  I think it would be safe to say that if Pattinson’s film career flounders, he could always try his hand at musicianship- he is genuinely talented.

Indie musician (another of whom I was a big fan of prior to the soundtrack) Iron & Wine lends his ballad, Flightless Bird, American Mouth, to the soundtrack as well.   The song sure is pretty- Sam Beam’s (who alone makes up Iron & Wine) vocals are beautiful, and the orchestration is exquisite- making the song a perfect selection for Bella and Edward’s prom dance- until you look at the lyrics, that is.  Though the melody calls to mind all sorts of romance, the lyrics are less about a romantic dance at the prom and more a commentary on the myth of the American dream.   I’m not sure if the Twilight producers themselves didn’t know what the song was about or didn’t care because it sounded pretty, but at any rate, the lyrics are bit weird juxtaposed with the scene in the movie (it’s also been said that Kristin Stewart picked the song because she’s a big Iron & Wine fan).  The world may never know.

The album comes to a close with composer Carter Burwell’s original piece, Bella’s Lullaby.  Now any fellow Twilight fans (and I mean the real, pre-movie fans, yo!) know all the speculation and waiting that led up to the unveil of the lullaby.  In the books, the lullaby is composed on the piano by Edward for Bella and is basically the epitome of romance.  This, of course, led to a lot of expectation for the movie version.  Long before the movie was made or Burwell’s composition was released, fans had chosen Korean pianist, Yiruma’s piece, River Flows In You as the unofficial Bella’s Lullaby (look it up on YouTube- it really is beautiful), and many fans were angered when the song was disregarded for the movie soundtrack.  Instead, what we have is Burwell’s 2:20 lullaby, that’s not even composed with just piano- mysterious strings are added in and it’s just a huge cluster-you-know-what, in my humble opinion.

Don’t get me wrong, Burwell’s rendition is pretty.  But first of all, it’s supposed to be a lullaby, and the song sounds just like another background piece for a movie score- not any sort of lullaby.  Secondly, the strings?  What is that?  There are no strings in the book or even in the scene of the movie- Edward is playing the piano by himself.  There is no string quartet in the background.  As a whole, the song just comes off inaccurate to the book and even the scene of the movie itself, and is a letdown to most of the hardcore Twilight fans- simply put, we expected Bella’s Lullaby to be way better.  I mean, Edward could play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on the piano and I’d still fall in love with him, but this was not what I imagined when I read the books.  Oh, sorry, I’m slipping into fangirldom again, aren’t I?

For the most part, the Twilight Soundtrack is fairly good.  I could’ve done without the remixes and some of the songs are a bit too over the top (and suspiciously absent is Radiohead’s song, 15 Step, which was played over the end credits), but I’d have to say, this is one of the better offerings of the franchise.  Though I’m not really sure if that’s truly saying much.

Rating: 200px-4_stars.svg

Track Listing
1. Supermassive Black Hole
2. Decode
3. Full Moon
4. Leave out All the Rest
5. Spotlight [Twilight Mix] – (mix)
6. Go All The Way (Into The Twilight)
7. Tremble For My Beloved
8. I Caught Myself
9. Eyes On Fire
10. Never Think
11. American Mouth Flightless Bird
12. Bella’s Lullaby


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