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New Moon’ soundtrack sparkles with new indie rock tunes

Alexandra Kilpatrick | Monday, November 23, 2009

It’s the cinematic phenomenon that’s had teenagers across the nation talking for months. Stephenie Meyer’s creation of a secret world of mythical beings hidden amidst present-day society has spawned a pop-cultural revolution, with vampire-themed movies, music and TV series popping up everywhere. And the books and movies are not the only aspects of the series in high demand right now. The movie soundtrack is a vital part of the franchise as well. The “New Moon” soundtrack was scheduled for release Oct. 20, but the release date was moved up to Oct. 16, due to fans’ “overwhelming and unprecedented demand,” according to Summit Entertainment.

Meyer’s personal music tastes certainly play into the movie soundtrack itself. The famed author of the “Twilight” series mentioned her own diverse music interests in a recent MTV interview, listing albums such as Animail Collective’s “Merriweather Post Pavilion,” Silversun Pickups’ “Swoon” and White Rabbits’ “It’s Frightening.”

The stellar soundtrack is certainly tied to the movie’s plot and character development, but after just one listen, it’s clear that it could stand on its own as an eclectic indie rock album. It’s an excellent mix of original songs exclusively recorded for the soundtrack from popular alternative rock bands like the Killers, Muse and OK Go and such lesser-known indie rock artists as Band of Skulls and Hurricane Bells.

The album begins with a lead single from the endearingly emotional Washington State-based indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie, entitled “Meet Me on the Equinox.” According to MTV, where the single debuted during the 2009 Video Music Awards, bassist Nick Harmer claims that the band the song “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.”

Next is an upbeat track from lesser-known British alt rock band Band of Skulls, entitled “Friends,” that captures the value of adolescent main character Bella’s friendship with the Cullen family as a consequence of her relationship with Edward, with the chorus’ lyrics, “I need love / Cause only true is true / I need every wakin’ hour with you / And my friends cause they’re so beautiful …” The minimalist electronic sound of Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke’s “Hearing Damage” also provides insightful lyrics that truly portrays Bella’s view of Edward, “And you can do no wrong / In my eyes, in my eyes.”

The Killers’ “White Demon Love Song” begins with a graceful piano riff and quickly leads into Brandon Flower’s distinctive low-pitched falsetto vocals. The breathy rasp of Anya Marina’s “Satellite Heart” gives a sense of security yet is an obvious attack at Edward’s character, with the lyrics, “So pretty, so smart / Such a waste of a young heart / What a pity, what a sham / What’s the matter with you, man?”

“I Belong to You (New Moon Remix)” by Muse, reportedly one of Meyer’s favorite bands, provides the typically angsty, yet orchestral sound for which the English alt rock band is known, with its falsetto and vibrato lead vocals.  Bon Iver & St. Vincent’s “Roslyn” contains singer-songwriter Justin Vernon’s distinctive high-pitched lead vocals and provides insight with the lyrics, “Up with your turret / Aren’t we just terrified? / Shale, screen your worry / From what you won’t ever find.”

The Editors’ “No Sound But The Wind” has the same orchestral piano sound and deep, low lead vocals as The National and contains the level of emotion necessary to portray Bella’s adolescent heartache, seen throughout the sequel. The soft musings of soundtrack producer Alexandre Desplat on piano with “New Moon (The Meadow)” gives a sense of finality to the album and to the movie itself. It’s a very classical-sounding orchestral arrangement but in spite of the lack of lyrics, the shifts in dynamics throughout appropriately parallel a change in emotion.

Overall, the soundtrack is a well-produced eclectic mix of indie and alt rock songs that not only sound fantastic but also help to portray the movie’s themes and further the character and plot development.