Vampires are all the rage nowadays. Twilight’s tales of the glittering undead dominate at the box office and book shelves, while True Blood fills the void for water cooler moments left by the end of Lost. Most recently, the vampire craze has spread to network television in the form of an adaptation of L.J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries. Although Smith’s series of novels about two vampire brothers obsessing over the same girl predates Twilight, the ubiquitousness of the Stephenie Meyer tomes is an undeniable factor in the development of the Diaries for the small screen. And like the film adaptations of that other series, the CW hit show now has a soundtrack.
Despite being the music coupled with teenage, undead melodrama, The Vampire Diaries: Original Television Soundtrack is not at all a collection of the morose. The centerpiece to The Vampire Diaries is “Obsession”, the debut American single from 18-year old Sky Ferreira, which should delight fans of overblown, auto-tuned electropop. While “Obsession” was not specifically written for the show, the lyrical content keeps it from ever feeling out of place. Obsession and vampirism are a time-tested, but obvious combination, after all. Other misses include the airy but forgettable cover of the Tears for Fears classic “Head Over Heels” by Digital Daggers and the paint-by-numbers pop-rock Jason Walker ballad “Down”.
The Vampire Diaries: Original Television Soundtrack does feature some noteworthy gems, such as “Currency of Love” by indie breakthroughs Silversun Pickups and Goldfrapp’s “We Radiate”, which represents the duo’s Head First sound at its best. The Feed Me remix of Gorillaz’ “On Melancholy Hill” maintains the song’s irresistible beat while infusing it with a subtly haunting quality. Bat for Lashes’ hypnotic voice on the 909s In Darktimes Mix of “Sleep Alone” is as perfect an accompaniment to supernatural themes as it was on the collaboration with Beck for Eclipse.
Although the idea of covering Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” is somewhat blasphemous, Placebo does the song justice with their moody, downtempo interpretation. The world might be a vampire, but The Smashing Pumpkins might actually still have some bite left in them if “The Fellowship” is any indication. This keyboard-driven new song is more engaging than anything from the Zeitgeist era.
In all honesty, I have never read or seen The Vampire Diaries. From what I have gathered from promotional clips and the album’s press release, the sort of content on the show gives me the assumption of a soundtrack featuring a mix of the sort of ballads that are paired with emotional climaxes and songs that hint at the mysterious and sensual. The Vampire Diaries: Original Television Soundtrack satisfies all these expectations with a hit-or-miss collection of songs. It may not be the most thrilling compilation of the year, but it gets the job done.