A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Original Soundtrack) is a cohesive collection of intense and intimate songs from hip contemporary bands and artists. Although some of the themes of death and peril are a bit heavy for younger listeners, there's nothing objectionable in any of the lyrical content, and it's likely that many of the tracks will appeal to kids and adults alike. Be aware that tweens who like these songs may be interested in the book and movie, which are much more intense.
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What's the story?
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK) is the second entry in the Hunger Games franchise, following in the footsteps of the first film and album. Artists range from indie icons such as Patti Smith, The National, and Antony & The Johnsons to breakout stars including Lorde, The Weeknd, and Imagine Dragons. All the songs are new (with the exception of Lorde's Tears for Fears cover of "Everybody Wants To Rule The World") and previously unreleased.
Is it any good?
The album has a distinctive feel to it, despite the variety of artists and styles. It all feels slightly haunting and epic: From the bare acoustic folk of The Lumineers ("Gale Song") to power ballads from Christina Aguilera ("We Remain") and Sia ("Elastic Heart ft. The Weeknd & Diplo"), to soaring electro odysseys by Phantogram ("Lights") and Ellie Goulding ("Mirrors"), there's an earthy, organic vibe mixed seamlessly with breathy, celestial energy (especially in the album opener, Coldplay's "Atlas," and in Santigold's "Shooting Arrows at the Sky," one of the record's highlights). There's something for everyone, and it all comes together about as well as a collection this eclectic possibly can.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss the practice of using contemporary and popular music as the soundtrack for films. How does this stylistic choice set the tone for a film? Do you prefer movies that feature orchestral scoring or pop songs with lyrics?
What do you think the overall aesthetic of the soundtrack is? Do you see any connections among the artists selected or genres included?
Why would chart-topping, established artists choose to create original music for a mainstream film series like The Hunger Games? How does their presence on the album add to the credibility of the movie?