The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series is a bona fide pop culture phenomenon—in print and on film. But the 35-year-old Mormon author’s interest in independent music has made her a surprisingly influential player in that medium as well. Visitors to Meyer’s website will find suggested playlists for each book. And landing a spot on her films’ soundtracks has become an increasingly coveted (and career-boosting) honor.
Several established acts that Meyer likes show up here: Muse, Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Other contributors (chosen by music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas) epitomize obscurity: Hurricane Bells, Lykke Li, Sea Wolf and Grizzly Bear, to name a few.
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"No Sound But the Wind" by the Editors poignantly tells the story of two exiles ("We can never go home/We no longer have one/I’ll help you carry the load/I’ll carry you in my arms") as they face the dark together. ("Help me to carry the fire/We will keep it alight together"). Despite its ominous moniker, Band of Skulls’ contribution, "Friends," is a cheery ode to love and friendship ("I need love/’Cause only love is true/I need every wakin’ hour with you/And my friends, ’cause they’re so beautiful").
The Killers’ "A White Demon Love Song" (likely a reference to Edward the vampire) extols long-term faithfulness ("Let us be in love/Let’s do old and grey/I won’t make you cry/I will never stray"). Anya Marina’s "Satellite Heart" inhabits similar territory ("I’ll be true to you/No matter what you do"). Muse wonders, "How much love could make you whole" on "I Belong to You," while Grizzly Bear (with Victoria LeGrand) ponders the distance between two people caused by conflict on "Slow Life."
Imagery on a couple of tracks is sensual and suggestive. Death Cab for Cutie’s "Meet Me on the Equinox" includes lines about lovers in close proximity: "Let me lay beside you, darling/ … Let our bodies intertwine." And on "The Violet Hour" by Sea Wolf, we get odd metaphors comparing a woman’s lips, tongue and thighs to nettles, wine and thistles, respectively. OK Go’s "Shooting the Moon" mentions "champagne in plastic cups."
Elsewhere, the soundtrack frequently exhibits a sense of creeping, pessimistic foreboding. It begins with Death Cab’s "Equinox," where we hear that death eventually triumphs over even the strongest of loves. Thom Yorke tells us, "They say you’re getting better/But you don’t feel any better." Swedish singer Lykke Li suspects everything is going downhill ("There’s a possibility/All that I had was all I’m gonna get"). Black Rebel Motorcycle club implies that bad deeds lead to a long life ("All the wrong I’ve done/I’m sure to live quite, quite long"). And Hurricane Bells plumbs the depths of internal darkness ("Deep into the darkness where I hide/The monsters all dig down deep inside").
On Meyer’s website, Death Cab for Cutie bassist Nick Harmer says of his band’s contribution to this soundtrack, "We wrote ’Meet Me on the Equinox’ to reflect the celestial themes and motifs that run throughout the Twilight series, and we wanted to capture that desperate feeling of endings and beginnings that so strongly affect the main characters."
That statement effectively does double duty in describing the album as a whole. Several songs have positive lyrics about love and faithfulness. But the overall feeling is one of aching melancholy. Los Angeles Times music reviewer Todd Martens put it this way: "It’s moody, music-to-get-sad-to."
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The soundtrack to the second installment in the Twilight movie saga hit No. 1.
October 16, 2009