Sunday, March 9, 2014

Divergent: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack | Various Artists


★★★★☆

Fans of books, movies, and music will all be pleased with new release: the soundtrack of the movie adaption of Divergent. Artists like Ellie Goulding, Zedd, Woodkid, and M83 were pulled in for this record and none of them managed to disappoint.

One of the first songs we all got to hear from this soundtrack was Zedd's "Find You," which features the vocals of Matthew Koma and Miriam Bryant, both of which Zedd has worked with before. Koma and Bryant's voices blend well together in the song, and the song is produced in a way that makes it clear that Zedd touched it but still manages to sound fresh.

The defining artist of this soundtrack and the entire movie itself? ELLIE, ELLIE, ELLIE! Do I have a problem with this? Not at all. In fact, Ms. Goulding is the one who made me so excited for this soundtrack (as well as the score, which she worked extensively on). On this record alone, four pieces from Goulding can be found: two songs from Halcyon, one new remix of "Hanging On," and a brand-new song written for the movie, "Beating Heart."

Obviously most fans are most concerned with the brand new material: "Hanging On (I See MONSTAS Remix)" and "Beating Heart." This new remix of "Hanging On" gives the song a whole new vibe. I've always loved the original version as well as the Living Phantoms remix, but the I See MONSTAS remix has kicked the song into a urban-inspired club trance. That breakdown is extraordinary; it relies heavily on multiple vocal layers placed over each other, which is a fundamental element in most of the songs on Halcyon. (The ODESZA remix of Pretty Lights' "Lost and Found" and the Skrillex bit "Stranger" that appear later in the track listing have equally great breakdowns.)

"Beating Heart" was described almost perfectly by a user on Tumblr, Blog of Gould: The song is like a happier-sounding version of Goulding's "Hearts Without Chains" mixed with the sound of the song she did for the soundtrack of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, "Bittersweet." It's like an electronic power ballad. I especially love the explosive chorus, in which Goulding sings "Wanna hear your beating heart tonight / Before the bleeding sun comes alive / I want to make the best of what is left, hold tight" over pounding drums and synths.

Newcomer Pia Mia comes to play in the track listing of this album, after recently being signed to Interscope Records at the age of seventeen. Her track, "Fight For You" is okay and tries to keep the electronic feeling that Zedd and Goulding brought to the table, but it takes a nose dive with the featured verse by Chance The Rapper. Another fairly new artist that I fell in love with last year, Banks, is featured on the deluxe version of the album with her amazing gem, "Waiting Game." I already wrote up a review for "Waiting Game" when I reviewed Banks' London EP a while ago.

Opposite of the newbies, long-standing band M83's "I Need You" opens with an airy sound before spiraling into a louder indie rock sound, before using vocals edited with a vocoder and a saxophone descant. Also common names in the music industry, Snow Patrol provides "I Won't Let You Go," which is an alternative cut heavy in drums. Snow Patrol's lead singer, Gary Lightbody, has a very soothing baritone voice with a nice tone to add to the song as well. Woodkid's track "Run Boy Run" is also another song filled with drums and hand claps; it's a very tribal sound.

The entire soundtrack is very urban inspired and feels like its heart is in the inner city; I love it. Although so many different artists are on this album, it feels very cohesive and flows well. I don't usually like action movies, but I do plan on going to see this movie; partly because of Ellie Goulding and this rest of the soundtrack line-up. For anybody else wishing to do the same, Divergent will be in theaters March 21, 2014. The soundtrack will be released this Tuesday, March 11, with the score following on March 18.

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