The movie soundtrack is often little more than a marketing ploy. It’s tempting to view the “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” album through that lens, considering the lucrative hype that accompanies all things vampire these days, especially the “Twilight” series. But that would be an unfair assessment, because this soundtrack works not only as a cohesive album but also as a forum to introduce some brilliant new songs by both alt-rock stars and indie darlings.
The cohesion exists because “New Moon” is not a collection of odds and ends from the artists it features. Aside from Muse’s remix of its song “I Belong to You,” the material was written specifically for this album, guaranteeing at least some lose thematic connection (lovesick melodrama) from track to track. So Death Cab for Cutie sings, “Everything, everything ends,” and Swedish chanteuse Lykke Li intones, “Tell me when you hear my heart stop/ You’re the only one that knows.” It all borders on an overdose of teenage self-sympathy, but with performers like Thom Yorke, The Killers, Grizzly Bear and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the songs, and those sentiments, are in good hands.
Death Cab’s “Meet Me on the Equinox” rides tricky and tightly wound bass (Nick Harmer) and drums (Jason McGerr). It’s high drama, and just as good, if not better, than anything on the band’s past two albums. Yorke’s “Hearing Damage” displays some misguided trust (“You can do no wrong/ In my eyes”), and The Killers’ “A White Demon Love Song” is more organic and less distractingly flamboyant than most of their popular material.
Li’s “Possibility” is particularly haunting, with the singer cooing, almost Bjork-like, over piano. And Bon Iver, who partners with singer St. Vincent, serves up one of the more leftfield tunes you’ll hear on a mainstream soundtrack. Their gothic folk song, “Roslyn,” finds Iver (the stage name for Justin Vernon) taking the Antony-like high vocals while St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) singing the lower lines in what sounds like a warped church hymn.
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