The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond

Common Sense Media says

Dark, haunting alt-rock/country soundtrack; best for teens.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's certainly a sense of fear and foreboding in these songs, but also a feeling of hope and the fight for survival.

Positive role models

In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen is a model of hope and courage, and although the songs on this album are very melancholy and despairing, they also evoke feelings of hope and love.

Violence

It's no secret what the games are about, and the songs on The Hunger Games album certainly evoke sentiments of survival and death, but there's nothing explicitly violent in the lyrics. "Daughter's Lament" talks about news of a father's death being delivered by an unlucky mockingjay: "I'll send an arrow through your heart to bring such news to me." "Run Daddy Run" says, "Daddy can you hear the Devil drawing near, like a bullet from a gun, run Daddy run." "Take the Heartland" is a little more violent in the music and lyrics, but fitting considering the movie's subject matter.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

"Hell" once.

Consumerism

Obvious tie-in to the much-anticipated release of the movie The Hunger Games. Album also features many well-known names like Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Miranda Lambert, and The Civil Wars.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is an album of songs from and inspired by the highly anticipated movie based on Suzanne Collins' bestselling novel The Hunger Games. Only three of the songs appear in the film, over the credits. (There is a separate soundtrack album of James Newton Howard's score for the film.) Considering the movie's brooding plot that sends children of a futuristic society to a televised fight to the death, the songs, as expected, are melancholy and morose with content about survival and death, but also filled with hope, courage, and sacrifice -- much like the heroine of the story, Katniss Everdeen. A few songs do mention weapons and killing, but because of the very intense subject matter of the movie and the songs, the album, like the book, is best for teens and up.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Acclaimed producer T Bone Burnett (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) lends his musical genius to THE HUNGER GAMES: SONGS FROM DISTRICT 12 AND BEYOND. With 16 original tracks (not all of which are in the movie) from artists including Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Miranda Lambert, The Decemberists, Arcade Fire, and The Civil Wars, the despair, rage, and hope of District 12 and Katniss Everdeen certainly comes through.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There's a lot of expectation for the album that accompanies one of the most talked about movie releases for any age group, and The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond almost lives up to the hype. Brooding alt-rock and country dominate the soundtrack, with melancholy melodies and eerily haunting vocals that could make goose bumps rise on your neck quicker than the feather of Katniss' bow. Of course Swift's "Safe & Sound" (with impeccable duo The Civil Wars) and "Eyes Open" are commercial favorites, but the gut-wrenching fight for love and life that the book and movie are about are best depicted in songs like Arcade Fire's "Abraham's Daughter," "Tomorrow Will Be Kinder" by Secret Sisters, the heartfelt "Just a Game" by British teen Birdy, and "Rules" by Jayme Deen. Perhaps Burnett wanted to perpetuate the idea of a raw, futuristic Appalachia that is home to Katniss, so hopefully fans can appreciate the country sounds that overwhelm the album. Kid Cudi's "The Ruler and the Killer" stands out as a hip-hop/rock track that embodies the intensity you'd expect from an action-filled fight-to-the-death flick.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the themes of hope and survival that are depicted in the book The Hunger Games, and if and how those themes are brought out in the music. What other themes do you think can be found in the music?

  • Is the music on this album what you expected after reading the book? Why or why not? What do you like about the music? What do you dislike?

  • Do you think it makes a difference when popular musicians like Taylor Swift and Maroon 5 are included on a soundtrack? Does it make you more or less interested in the music?

Music details

Artist:Various Artists
Release date:March 20, 2012
Type:Album
Label:Universal
Genre:Soundtrack
Topics:Book characters
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

This review of The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old March 23, 2012
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Amazing Album.

It's a really amazing album. While it is a soundtrack for a blockbuster movie, the collection of songs is really fantastic and it perfectly reflects the story line conveyed by the books (I haven't seen the movie-YET!). It clearly took very much thought to sound like Appalachian music three hundred years in the future. There are a lot of songs about fear, hiding, and a death in coal mines is a strong theme.
Kid, 11 years old March 25, 2012
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Great!

I got this because one of my fave bands is on it AND because I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE HUNGER GAMES!!!!!
Kid, 11 years old March 20, 2012
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Haunting Soundtrack to Blockbuster Hit Movie

This soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful. Every song is related to the movie with the violent theme. Certain instruments are created to make it creepy. There are some positive messages and role models throughout the soundtrack. Taylor Swift has two songs in this soundtrack. One, Safe and Sound, has an extremely haunting tone settling in the song. The other, Eyes Open, has a lighter tone in it. Both are wonderful. My favorite song in the soundtrack is Abraham's Daughter. There is one use of h**l. There is a lot of consumerism since it is Hunger Games. Good for 10+.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism

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