The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond

Music review by
Jessica Dawson, Common Sense Media
The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond Music Poster Image
Dark, haunting alt-rock/country soundtrack; best for teens.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

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 & representations

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
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

What 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.

User Reviews

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 11 years old March 23, 2012

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 st... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 25, 2012

Great!

I got this because one of my fave bands is on it AND because I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE HUNGER GAMES!!!!!

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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?

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