Soundtrack Review: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
If only every teen-driven movie understood that the themes explored in these films could easily be supported by good music delving into those same emotions. But I guess you have to have the clout the TWILIGHT films have garnered to get bands like Band of Horses, Metric, and Florence + the Machine to not only agree to be on your soundtrack, but actually fight for a place on it, with some of the bands even going so far as to write songs specifically with the film in mind.
Say what you will about TWILIGHT and the films that have brought the book series to life (and stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner into the limelight), but the films' soundtracks have always been solid, and the latest collection for the third film in this series, ECLIPSE, continues this trend. Usually when I preview an album the first time around, I let it play and will click back to the track listings whenever a particular piece grabs my attention to make note of it. I honestly noted every track on this album, as they are all damn good songs.
More than just pulling together some of the “of the moment” bands, the songs also relate back to the film’s story itself. One of the big themes and questions in this third installment is love and the idea of forever. Us mere mortals call this marriage. It’s a little more complicated in the world of vampires, humans, werewolves, and imprinting. To that end, we get songs that tackle this emotional spectrum with titles such as the piano driven “My Love” by Sia, Cee Lo Green adding some funk with “What Part Of Forever,” and the Bravery’s radio-ready track "Ours."
Despite the soundtrack’s eclectic mix of styles from upbeat to more mellow, full-on rock to funk to folk and even a composed piece (by the incomparable Howard Shore), the entire album flows well from piece to piece, thoughtfully mapping out the peaks and valleys of love, loss, and good old-fashioned teen angst. These songs not only play well together, and stand strong on their own, but the lyrics are also powerful and worth paying attention to. The Dead Weather’s “Rolling In On A Burning Tire” proposes that “one is born, so one can die," in which a single lyric works as a larger metaphor to encompass both Bella’s decision to “die” as a human to be “re-born” a vampire, as well as Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard) “killing” humans to create her army of newborn vampires.
The boys from Muse provide not just one of their songs this time around (as they have on the past two soundtracks), but a brand new song written specifically for the film. Granted the song’s title is a bit insane, “Neutron Star Love Collision (Love Is Forever)," but the song stays true to the band’s signature style and has shot to the top of my most-played list (as well as the majority of alt-rock radio stations with Muse’s current album, “The Resistance," still in heavy rotation).
More than just alt rock, we also get a solid helping of folk and blues. Lead singers of FanFarlo, Simon Balthazar and Cathy Lucas, sound like a modern day Johnny Cash and June Carter on “Atlas” and I would be remiss not to highlight Florence + The Machine’s “Heavy In Your Arms," one of my favorites pieces in the collection. I had already had this band on my radar and this song confirmed that they are one to look out for. Their song crafts its layers so you honestly FEEL weighed down (in a good way) as you listen and the Black Keys give us some serious blues-rock with “Chop and Change."
And before we get too down-trodden, we also have the electronic, almost otherworldly, “Let’s Get Lost” by Beck and Bat For Lashes. And I found myself really enjoying Vampire Weekend’s “Jonathan Low,” whose instrumentation would always put a smile on my face, despite the melancholy lyrics.
There have been some strong reactions to the composed selection chosen to be included on the soundtrack, “Jacob’s Theme." The line between Team Jacob fans and Team Edward fans seems as clear in this third segment as the lines drawn between the “domesticated” vampires and the rogue ones. Howard Shore, joining the ranks of composers Carter Burwell and Alexander Desplat as TWILIGHT contributors, explained that he felt Jacob (Taylor Lautner) really took center stage in ECLIPSE, as he comes into his own as both a suitor for Bella’s (Kristin Stewart) heart, but also as a leader in his wolf pack.
Shore also personally selected the group Metric to collaborate with in creating the title song for the album, “Eclipse (All Yours)." Shore’s selection of the band makes sense as the almost ethereal vocals of lead singer, Emily Haines, creates the same emotional impact Shore’s piano does in his composed pieces. Instead of a piano juxtaposed against a full orchestra, the vocals in “Eclipse (All Yours)” play against the driving rock band.
Did I mention almost every track on the album? Yes, yes I did. I think that says it all. There was something in each song that I enjoyed, that made me hit repeat, and then hit it again, letting the album loop as something new caught my ear each time. I know this soundtrack is going to be one of my favorites of the year, and I had a good feeling it would be a few weeks back when each track and artist was announced. I have enjoyed the past two soundtracks, but this one shoots to the head of the pack and I know it is one I will still be listening to for years to come.
This soundtrack is available through Atlantic Records.
1. “Eclipse (All Yours)” – Metric
2. “Neutron Star Collision (Love is Forever)” – Muse
3. “Ours” – The Bravery
4. “Heavy In Your Arms” – Florence + The Machine
5. “My Love” – Sia
6. “Atlas” – FanFarlo
7. “Chop And Change” – The Black Keys
8. “Rolling In On A Burning Tire” – The Dead Weather
9. “Let’s Get Lost” – Beck And Bat For Lashes
10. “Jonathan Low” – Vampire Weekend
11. “With You In My Head (Featuring The Black Angels)” – UNKLE
12. “A Million Miles An Hour” – Eastern Conference Champions
13. “Life On Earth” – Band Of Horses
14. “What Part Of Forever” – Cee Lo Green
15. “Jacob’s Theme” – Howard Shore
16. “The Line” – Battles
17. “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep” – Bombay Bicycle Club
18. “Atlas (Remix)” – FanFarlo
19. “What Part Of Forever (Remix)” – Cee Le Green