Rabid fans of Twilight will eat up nearly anything that has to do with the popular series, but even non-Twihards should find something to love on the alt-rock fueled soundtrack from the latest movie installment, Eclipse. Like its predecessor, the music pairs well with the overall tone of the movie. But while the feeling of the New Moon edition was melancholy and somber throughout, the Eclipse soundtrack brings more energy to the table and offers a little more range in terms of mood and sound.
The music supervisors stick to their formula of using largely non-mainstream artists on the soundtrack, though many of the names here are more recognizable. Twilight soundtrack mainstays Muse are back with a brand new tune this time (as opposed to a lightly remixed version of an already released song on the New Moon album), the over-the-top “Neutron Star Collision”. It’s far from my favorite Muse song, but its brazen melodrama seems at home here. The Bravery and Metric also contribute standard, upbeat pop-rock songs with “Ours” and “Eclipse (All Yours)”, respectively.
Given the name of the band, indie-rock darlings Vampire Weekend seems like an obvious choice for the soundtrack. Their “Jonathan Low” is void of their typical Afro-pop sound, and introduces a glittering, almost The Cure-like quality. “Let’s Get Lost”, Beck’s collaboration with Bat for Lashes, is airy and atmospheric. Their voices blend well with the electronic synth and percussion elements throughout the song.
Even when the mood turns down a notch, there is a newfound urgency to the songs that wasn’t present on New Moon. Case in point – compare Florence + the Machine’s “Heavy in Your Arms” to last year’s tracks from Bon Iver or Grizzly Bear. The rich arrangement provides dramatic finesse, to which Florence’s powerful voice plays no second fiddle. And songs from the Dead Weather, UNKLE and Eastern Conference Champions deliver some essential dark and creepy undertones to the soundtrack. After all, this is a story of vampires and werewolves, and these songs will up the eerie factor.
The tracks from the Black Keys (“Chop and Change”) and Band of Horses (“Life on Earth”) sound like they could be songs that didn’t make the cut on the respective bands newly released albums (though with Keys’ latest effort running 15 songs deep, it’s hard to imagine they left much on the cutting room floor). No surprises here – both are solid efforts from bands I am a big fan of, but they saved the better material for their own releases (both of which are definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already).
The biggest surprises on the album for me were the tracks from Fanfarlo and Cee Lo Green (also known as one half of Gnarls Barkley). It may be because, unlike the other artists on the album, I had little to no expectations for them. “Atlas” by Fanfarlo is fun and folky- I’m a sucker for harmonies and hand claps. And Green’s understated “What Part of Forever” brings an unexpected dose of retro-soul to an otherwise rock-heavy album.
There is also a deluxe version of the soundtrack available for download that includes four additional tracks; two new songs and two remixes of tracks on the regular version (“Atlas” and “What Part of Forever”). There’s a reason these tracks didn’t make the cut on the regular issue. And while the remixes are enjoyable, they aren’t a huge departure from the originals. Save those few extra bucks for a bag of Peanut M&M’s at the movie theater. Eclipse opens on June 30th.