Featuring artists like Muse, Florence + The Machine, Band of Horses, Thom Yorke, Editors, Grizzly Bear, and Iron & Wine, the soundtracks for the Twilight films have clearly eclipsed the movies themselves in terms of quality. So it was with great curiosity and slight trepidation that I took to my review copy of the soundtrack for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1.
Like with the other films in the series, the soundtrack for Breaking Dawn Part 1 is a compendium of alternative rock and indie musicians (for the most part). The songs are well-selected and generally befitting of the lip-biting melancholy of love and marriage and demon babies in the baby carriage, offering something we all can relate to.
The soundtrack is produced by Alexander Patsavas and features 15 songs. There is a deluxe edition that includes four more songs.
The cornerstone/lead single for the Breaking Dawn Part 1 soundtrack is Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain.” The track is delivered in Mars’ crooning style and the melody is pretty if not a bit muted. Lyrically, Mars carries on the Twilight theme of emotional control and manipulation. “If you ever leave me baby, leave some morphine at my door,” he sings before launching into the “sweet” chorus about how it’ll only rain if the subject of the song “ever leaves.” Maybe Mr. Mars has never been to Forks…
The submissive twee continues with Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years.” Its extensive guitar-and-piano patchwork fits exactly as it should and its lyrics of love spanning over a thousand years are quite touching despite being covered in mammoth clichés.
Of course, clichés and unimaginative constructs aren’t the concerns of most Twilight fans (if they were, they wouldn’t be Twilight fans). But does the Breaking Dawn Part 1 do its job as the musical backdrop to Bella and Edward’s silly, watery, bed-destroying love for the ages? Probably. Does it help provide the melodic incentive for Jacob to take his shirt off? Probably not.
There are some upbeat moments, like The Features’ “From Now On” and The Belle Brigade’s brisk and suitably nasty anthem of abuse excuses “I Didn’t Mean It.” The Noisettes rock all over the place with the 2011 version of their “Sister Rosetta,” with bassist/vocalist Shingai Shoniwa leading the charge for this slight redux of the song from 2007’s What’s the Time Mr. Wolf?.
Iron & Wine provides the “wedding version” of “Flightless Bird, American Mouth.” Those scoring at home will remember the piece from the soundtrack to the first movie in the saga. There’s no questioning Samuel Beam’s beautiful art and pacing, but I have to admit to finding it slightly weird to use the song, complete with its talk of “pissing on magazine photos,” in a wedding.
In that the soundtrack for Breaking Dawn Part 1 uncorks the bottle on a number of good musicians, it does the trick. Those looking to maximize their Twilight experience with every ounce of related media will not regard my opinion much. For those on the outside looking in, however, there is some damn good music here – even if it does provide the ambiance for one of the flattest and most disconcerting tales of love ever spun on screen.