Last summer, the music world erupted with a combination of excitement and befuddlement over the announcement that the soundtrack to The Twilight Saga: New Moon would include original contributions from the likes of Grizzly Bear and Thom Yorke. After all, aren’t acts like Evanescence and HIM a more appropriate accompaniment to the film and a more natural fit with the fanbase of the series? Despite the impressive pool of talent involved, New Moon was an underwhelming and almost forgettable soundtrack that did not live up to its potential. Nevertheless, indie rock and glittered melodrama reunite once again for the latest film adaptation of the Twilight series.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opens with “Eclipse (All Yours)”, a group effort between Canadian synth-poppers Metric and legendary film composer Howard Shore. Metric has always epitomized the best of pop-rock: catchy hooks, charismatic live performers with energy to spare, and a musical versatility to keep things fresh and interesting, so their rise from one of indie’s best-kept secrets to bona fide stardom has always been inevitable. On “Eclipse”, frontwoman Emily Haines channels the thoughts and feelings of series protagonist Bella Swan convincingly with her dreamy vocals, and while its lovely but safe melodies do not reveal the delightfully raucous vigor of Metric, it should hasten their ascent.
Having previously appeared on the soundtracks to the first two flms, Brit space-rockers Muse return once again, but this time with an original composition. Although “Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)” was not specifically written for Eclipse, its syrupy lyrics are nonetheless a perfect match. Musically, “Neutron Star Collision” is a composite of classic Muse sounds, and while unapologetic grandiose, the pomposity does not reach the excessive levels that made 2009’s The Resistance too much of a Queen tribute album.
A joint effort between Beck and Bat for Lashes has been the most intriguing prospect of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse since the soundtrack was announced, and fortunately their collaboration on “Let’s Get Lost” far from disappoints. Beck Hansen’s haunting vocals and fuzzy synths interplay with Natasha Khan’s seductive lyrics and uniquely hypnotic brand of singing so well that this match made in heaven is the strongest Twilight-inspired song yet. “Let’s Get Lost” not only represents Bat for Lashes and Beck at their best, it also reveals thrilling musical territory that can likely only be explored together.
While less morose than its morose predecessor, Eclipse centers around the theme of love and the internal and external conflicts that love entails. Songs such as Sia’s “My Love” and “Heavy in Your Arms” by Florence + the Machine fit that bill perfectly but are still more than strong enough to stand on their own without the context of a vampire-werewolf-Mary Sue love triangle. Cee-Lo Green, of Gnarls Barkley and Goodie Mob fame, is as soulful as ever on the infectious “What Part of Forever”, one of the more upbeat songs on the soundtrack. Unfortunately, The Bravery’s “Ours” combusts rather than sparkles under the light of the rest of the soundtrack. As the weakest link of the new-wave meets post-punk revival, the latest from The Bravery further proves that some things are best left in 2005.
Although The Twilight Saga: Eclipse may not push any boundaries or innovate the world of film soundtracks, it’s a consistent collection with a few obvious standouts that is certain to please fans of the film and the artists alike. Like New Moon before it, Eclipse is at its most successful as a crash course on indie music. With its collection of both familiar stars and artists on the rise, Eclipse is like a well-constructed mix CD given to that less musically inclined friend or family member with the intent of expanding their musical horizons.