Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Mockingjay Release Day! A Playlist

At this moment in time my friend and I should be in the process of getting our copies of Mockingjay at the Children's Book World midnight party (if you're near the area, it'd be really cool to run into you there!). We will then proceed to drive home and stay up all night reading it. (It's even funnier, and more impressive, when you consider the fact that he only read the series for the first time a week ago.) For everyone else...


I hope you've gotten your own copies or will be getting them soon. I intend to stay offline until Mockingjay is finished--won't be too hard. In the meantime, I'm sure there are plenty of Mockingjay-related celebrations both on- and off-line. I want to highlight something that Lenore is doing: playlists for each of the main characters of The Hunger Games. She asked for my contributions for one of the playlists, and I rummaged through my iTunes and came up with... a playlist of my own. I welcome you to check it out if you like to find new music, or just to have something playing in the background as you do other stuff.

Rationale for playlist content: For The Hunger Games, I wanted to look for music with lyrics that spoke of discontent, rebellion, action, oppression, and similar topics. I looked for music in mostly minor keys, with a driving beat that was strong and insistent but not frenetic (okay, Khy, I'm waiting for your comment now). And I especially wanted songs sung by females. The songs below aren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination--if I were compiling the soundtrack for the actual movie I'd search a lot more--but it makes for a pretty decent playlist, at least for me, I think.

Youtube Playlist embedded at bottom.

Part 1 - Book 1: The Hunger Games

1. Carolina Liar - "Something to Die For"

Won't you see it in your heart, you should
Know you always played your part real good, oh yeah
That's something to die for

Scene: post-reaping, the train ride from District 12 to the Capitol

Rationale: The singer's voice is high, almost plaintive, with just the right hint of desperation, denial, and rebellion. I felt like this was appropriate for Katniss' mindset at this point: she's just left her family behind, for what she believes is forever, and she is dreading what will come next.

2. Muse - "Resistance"

Is our secret safe tonight
And are we out of sight
Or will our world come tumbling down?
Will they find our hiding place
Is this our last embrace
Or will the walls start caving in?

Scene: the chariot ride

Rationale: I feel like this would add the right note of darkness and grimness to what the Capitol believes is a happy scene, the scene where Katniss and Peeta ride through the streets with their dazzling costumes. While everything looks like it's fine--everyone's smiling, waving, cheering--the dark energy of this song brings the needed anger to the surface.

3. Hard-Fi - "Stronger"

You dish it out, I'll take it in
I can only grow from the lies you spin
If you're not scared then you should be
Nothin' in the world will keep you from me

Scene: group training

Rationale: A more upbeat, still minor-key song with determined vocals for the days that Katniss & Co. spend learning skills at the various stations in the training room. This song says, "Work and perseverance" to me.

4. Hard-Fi - "I Shall Overcome"

I look around, nothing seems to have changed,
This dirty town, it hasn't somehow rearranged

But you say "Hold on, hold on... believe me,
All the plans against you one by one, will come undone."
I shall overcome.

Scene: private training session with the Gamemakers

Rationale: Playing as Katniss shoots The Arrow and gets the Gamemakers' attention. Also has a strong beat, but the melody is more serious, more determined than #3. Just like how Katniss gets the Gamemakers' attention here, so the song brings attention to the fact that Katniss just might have what it takes to defeat the Capitol and their manipulative Games.

5. Liz Phair - "Firewalker"

Me, I'm like a wild flame that catches on whatever's near but
Your mind is a firewalker, it sets its course and never veers but
I can grow in spite of all you know
You might not recognize me tomorrow

Scene: Katniss, the girl on fire at the interview

Rationale: Because, um, did you see that song title? This slower, melancholic melody evokes for me a girl with her head held high in spite of all obstacles. She's an object of desire--the lyrics and the wanderings of the melody do that for me--slightly enigmatic and detached from the rest of the world. Very influential.

6. Muse - "Falling Away With You"

so I'll love whatever you become
and forget the reckless things we've done
I think our lives have just begun

and I'll feel my world crumbling
I'll feel my life crumbling

Scene: rising up to the arena

Rationale: This song starts out quietly, almost contemplatively, but then evolves into a rich and plaintive cry. The ascending notes in the chorus remind me of the way the tributes rise up to the arena via the metal plates. And the lyrics mention what Peeta is concerned about, and what Katniss is only beginning to understand: the possible loss of humanity, loss of self-identity, out there in the arena.

7. The Perishers - "Let There Be Morning"

I don't know how
I made it till now
Let there be light
Let there be morning

Hello future goodbye past
Now each breath can be my last
Will I see another dawn?
Will I be reborn?

Scene: nights in trees

Rationale: This song is sad and slow, resigned in a way. As a tribute, how do you know if you're going to make it through the night, make it through another day? I can hear this as montage music as Katniss straps herself into a tree at night, watches the faces of her fellow tributes pass overhead, and falls into a restless, worried sleep.

8. Cavo - "We All Fall Down"

Everything is random, everyone is fake
Everything we built will just disintegrate
No one will remember, would anybody care
If everything around us just disappeared?

Scene: running away from the wall of fire

Rationale: The fast rock beat reminds me of the running, but the singer's resonant voice and the motion of the melody focuses the terror of that situation into determination to evade the fire, instead of the scene just dissolving into a quivering mass of fear.

9. Something Corporate - "Only Ashes"

I can tell as you turn, I smell the sulfur so clear
and fire's a beautiful sound-
and the wings that you burn, turn to ashes my dear
and ashes just fall to the ground.

Scene: tracker jackers

Rationale: The lyrics talk about fire, but the repetitive strumming of the bass and guitar remind me more of the chaos that follows after Katniss drops the tracker jackers on the Careers.

10. Mute Math - "Chaos"

It’s hard to trust anyone again
after all the let downs I’ve been through,
haunted by what I’ve been through.

I know you stay true when my world is false
everything around’s breaking down to chaos

Scene: running with Rue

Rationale: I can hear this playing as Katniss and Rue meet up, move through the forest together (in the trees, maybe?), and make their plans to destroy the Careers' food and supplies. The bass line wanders but has lots of energy, suggesting a playful or young attitude, and the singer's voice, always bordering on cracking as he slams into his words, evoke a young person's vocalization of their frustrations.

11. Thriving Ivory - "Angels on the Moon"

I wanna sunburn, just to know that I'm alive
Don't tell me if I'm dying
'Cause I don't wanna know

Scene: after Rue's death

Rationale: The singer of this power ballad has a plaintive, tortured voice. That, combined with the lyrics, has me finding this song appropriate for Katniss' unvoiceable grief over Rue's death. The best way she can mourn her little friend's death is by ploughing forward and giving the Games her all.

12. Thriving Ivory - "Where We Belong"

See I have to believe that there's more than this seems
More than a soul in a boat in a sea of sinking dreams
And I have to be sure that there's gonna be a cure
'cause somewhere down the line, I lost that part of me that's pure.

Hold on we're gonna make it if takes all night
Hearts racing like a rocket at the speed of light
Don't fight it we've been running for far too long
We're going back to where we belong

Scene: finding Peeta

Rationale: I needed a solid, not quite hopeful but not entirely hopeless song for a search montage. I like how the lyrics reflect Katniss' disbelief over her own survival, coupled with her newfound hope now that the Gamemakers have changed the rules.

13. The Perishers - "Still Here"

When you’ve fired your last shot
You’ll come back for me

When you’ve gone I’m still here
I know you’ll come around
I’m waiting patiently
When you’ve tried all other ways
You’ll come back for me

Scene: Peeta and Katniss in the cave

Rationale: I think of this as Peeta's song for Katniss. Did you read the lyrics? It's a love song, but the singer's throatiness lends a bit of sarcasm and frustration to the song that I think illustrates the conflicted feelings going on between and within Katniss and Peeta in that cave.

14. New Pornographers - "Challengers"

On the walls of the day
In the shade of the sun
We wrote down
Another vision of us
We were the challengers of
The unknown

Scene: the final hovercraft ride

Rationale: I see this playing in the crazy scene within the hovercraft, as Katniss screams for Peeta as he is taken away from her. This song has few instrumentation and an almost whimsical feel... in a sad way. I think it really brings out the horror of the whole Hunger Games, of all the emotional and physical stress that these teens had to endure, for such a horrifying reason.

15. Arcade Fire - "Rebellion (Lies)"

Sleeping is giving in, no matter what the time is
Sleeping is giving in, so lift those heavy eyelids.
people say that you'll die faster than without water
but we know it's just a lie, scare your son and scare your daughter

Scene: end credits

Rationale: It's a song with a lot of energy and power behind it, without getting too crazy. For me, this wraps up the mental/emotional state that I feel at the end of the book: interested, hooked, pro-revolution.

Book 2: Catching Fire

16. Brandi Carlile - "I Will"

I don't think you ever learned a thing from me
But I'm sure that you want me to learn from you

You can't break a heart that wasn't even yours to break
You can never be there for me in the end
But I will do the right thing

Scene: Katniss and Peeta in the Victor's Village

Rationale: Thwarted love, man! Who knows what is real and what was put on as a show for the Capitol? Can a love still be true if it's documented for millions to see? Brandi Carlile's voice captures the angst and hurt between these two people, as they struggle to figure out their feelings for one another after the Hunger Games.

17. Muse - "Unnatural Selection"

They'll laugh as they watch us fall
The lucky don't care at all

I'm hungry for some unrest
I want to push this beyond a peaceful protest
I wanna speak in a language that they'll understand

Scene: the Victory Tour

Rationale: Something that the Capitol intends to be a celebration turns out to incite rebellion. It's clear that the front Peeta and Katniss are forced to put up does not convince everyone, that the dissatisfaction and cries for revolution are already in place.

18. Missy Higgins - "Nightminds"

And in our honesty, together we will rise,
Out of our nightminds, and into the light

Scene: Gale and Katniss at the lake

Rationale: Missy Higgins has a full, honest voice. This ballad is full of unfulfilled longing, which I think really reflects the impossibility of Katniss and Gale's plans at this moment.

19. Michelle Branch - "It's You"

If tomorrow never comes
I would want just one thing
I would tell it to the stars and the sun
I would write it for the world to see
And it's you

Scene: watching over Gale's whipped body

Rationale: Similar to the "Nightminds" song. Once again, Katniss realizes too late how she might feel about Gale. Now she's already caught up in the Capitol's games, Gale's hurt and threatened, and she has all this suppressed frustration, fear, and dispair within her.

20. Train - "Calling All Angels"

I need a sign to let me know you're here
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere
I need to know that things are gonna look up
'Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup

Scene: District 12 takeover

Rationale: A great song to express the frustration, simmering rebellion, hatred, and determination brewing within Katniss' mind as she is forced to witness Romulus Thread's takeover of District 12. A very deliberate beat, in a hopeful major key, and the singer's voice is a great blend of strength and pleading.

21. Lesley Roy - "I'm Gone, I'm Going"

I'm like a rat in a cage about to lose it all
And I ain't gonna give up until I'm standing tall
I'm gonna throw it all in
Just get it over with
Watch me, watch me

So sick of falling apart and crawling back again
So sick of playing the games that I can never win

Scene/Rationale: I forget--it's too close to midnight, I'm losing my ability to think coherently within going into fangirl zone. Suffice it to say that this might be the most upbeat, most "poppish" of the songs on this playlist. But I love how this just shouts female empowerment, and the lyrics are also about overcoming adversity and constraints. This says "Katniss taking a stand" to me.


That's where I stopped in Catching Fire cuz I found all these songs in one go and never went back to it when I realized the songs could be spread out over the two books. Here is the playlist:

You can also go to its Youtube page here. This has been basically what I've been playing nonstop for the past week (again, like all my other Mockingjay posts, this was not influenced by anyone else, except by Lenore asking me to help her out: all of these songs came out of my head alone). If you're in the mood to experience new music while reading, say, a dystopian novel or something, give this a try and let me know what you think! I'd also LOVE for you to give me some songs that remind YOU of The Hunger Games!

Happy reading; may the odds be ever in your favor!


  1. Good music choices! I love Muse and New Pornographers especially. I haven't heard of some of the other bands. I'll have the check them out.
    Alison Can Read

  2. AWESOME job Steph, and thanks for sharing! I won't be able to read Mockingjay for a while because of college classes, but I CAN'T WAIT until I can!

  3. Cool and very creative! I'll have to check some of your music choices out. I'm always looking for good music to write to.

    The song "No Sound But the Wind" by Editors on the New Moon soundtrack really reminds me of The Hunger Games. The lyrics: "We can never go home/We no longer have one" and "Help me to carry the fire/We will keep it alight together/Help me to carry the fire/It will light our way forever" really stick on in my mind.

    Just a few more hours until I can hunt for my own copy of The Hunger Games! Yay!!

  4. *Hunt for a copy of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay*...is tired, lol.

  5. Looking over your song choices gave me goosebumps. I love and relate most of these songs with the story, the Muse songs in particular. I'm actually listening to Unnatural Selection right this second, and it's my ringtone. Anyway, your playlist is absolutely inspired, thanks so much for sharing it!

  6. Here's the mix that I made for the release: Mockingjay. Your lists are great - I love The New Pornographers!!

  7. How fun -- I'll have to look up these tunes! Heading out to get Mockingjay on my lunch break... just an hour or so to go!

  8. I've starred this so I can look at it more carefully. I actually have the PERFECT Rue death scene song:

    FLY AWAY by Poe

    It makes sense that it should happen this way
    That the sky should break, and the earth should shake
    As if to say: Sure it all matters but in such an unimportant way
    As if to say:

    Fly away, sweet bird of prey
    Fly fly away
    Nothing can stand in your way
    Sweet bird, if you knew the words
    I know you'd say: fly, fly away

    It makes sense that it should hurt in this way
    That my heart should break, and my hands should shake
    As if to say: Sure it don't matter except in the most
    important way
    As if to say:

    Fly away, sweet bird of prey
    Fly fly away
    I won't stand in your way
    Sweet bird, if you knew the words
    I know that you'd say: fly, fly away

    It makes sense that it should feel just this way
    That you slowly fade and yet still remain
    As if to say: Everything matters in such an invisible way
    As if to say: It's O.K.

  9. Love your music choices! Some of my favorites are there (Missy Higgins, Muse, Thriving Ivory).


Hello! I'm so excited to read what you have to say. Due to high amounts of spam, I'm forced to disabled anonymous comments for the time being. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes, and I hope you can understand and still appreciate the content here!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...