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The soundtrack stands alone

Alex Kilpatrick | Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Whether you’re rooting for Team Edward or Team Jacob, or you just despise the entire “Twilight” franchise in all its supernatural cheesiness, you can’t argue that the soundtracks behind the films are albums that can stand completely on their own, apart from the series.

While the “Twilight” soundtrack featured mainstream alternative rock bands and the music of “New Moon” took on indie ballads to go with the film’s mournful theme, the “Eclipse” soundtrack combines soulful, jazz ballads with electronic indie tunes. The soundtrack balances well-known musicians like Muse, Beck and, appropriately, Vampire Weekend, with lesser-known acts like Metric, Florence + The Machine, Fanfarlo and Eastern Conference Champions

The album opens with Metric’s “Eclipse (All Yours),” a rolling electronic melody with a driving guitar made light by lead singer Emily Haines’ lilting voice. The heavy drum and piano beats of Florence + The Machine’s “Heavy In Your Arms” is made even more intense by the haunting voice of lead singer Florence Welch, while the strings and piano of Sia’s “My Love” make up a sweet ballad with a soulful voice that provides a perfect emotional backdrop for the movie.

Author of the Twilight series Stephenie Meyer has named British alternative rock super-trio Muse an inspiration for her novels and with each new movie, the soundtrack has featured a new Muse song. Although the song was not originally written with “Eclipse” in mind, the lyrics of Muse’s “Neutron Star Collision (Love is Forever)” fit perfectly along with the “Eclipse” storyline: “Now, I’ve got nothing left to lose / You take your time to choose / I can tell you now without a trace of fear / That my love will be forever.”

The Bravery’s “Ours” is an upbeat, danceable alt-rock anthem, while Fanfarlo’s “Atlas” is an acoustic folksy tune with appropriately introspective lyrics, “Next spring will bring you back again / … / And maybe you will be the one / Who’ll draw the line in the sand / For us to cross.”

The Black Keys’ “Chop and Change” brings a jazzy, blues-rock feel to the album, but the song is an unfortunately short contribution from the indie rock band at only two and a half minutes.  The Dead Weather’s “Rolling In On A Burning Tire” has a dark, brooding tone that serves as background music for the movie’s ominous moments.

Beck and Bat for Lashes collaborated to create a perfect mash up of light but fast-paced music with “Let’s Get Lost,” while Vampire Weekend’s “Jonathan Low” is one of the more catchy and upbeat tracks on the album in spite of lyrics that fit well with the movie’s often violent tone: “Violence from without / And anger from without / Crawling through the fields / Informing next of kin / They all turned their backs / But they all knew his name / And if he could return / They’d probably do the same.”

Eastern Conference Champions mix heavy yet excellent guitar riffs with rough, throaty vocals to create “A Million Miles An Hour,” a song that balances out the album well, while Band of Horses’ “Life On Earth” is a slow-paced and relaxed tune full of soft harmonies. Cee Lo Green, singer of Gnarls Barkley, contributed “What Part of Forever,” a light upbeat melody with lyrics appropriate to the movie’s themes: “Run, run, run away so lost, lost, never coming home / Rollin’, rollin’ down a track / … / Our love, I hope it’s not too late / That’s the road, that’s the load, that’s the role.”

Overall, the soundtrack certainly serves as an album in its own right. It’s a diverse collaboration between various artists, both big name bands and indie acts, seeking to reach out to a younger audience.

Contact Alex Kilpatrick at ackilpat@hotmail.com