A new film in the "Twilight" franchise is more than just a cinematic event. Since the soundtrack to "Twilight" sold a stunning 2.2 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the vampire brand means serious business to the music industry as well.
The soundtrack to "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" is released off-cycle today, rather than the typical music industry release day of Tuesday. It's out a month ahead of the film, which hits theaters nationwide on Nov. 20, and whether or not it will have the same retail impact as the music companion to the first film remains to be seen.
But this is much is certain: The "New Moon" soundtrack is definitely much more of a piece than the soundtrack to "Twilight." It's moody, music-to-get-sad-to, definitely, but music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas has put together a collection of songs that captures the drama of young love without drowning in it. Released once again on Patsavas' Chop Shop label, which is associated with Warner Music Group imprint Atlantic, "New Moon" is, on a whole, more inventive than the scattered radio-ready rock that permeated its predecessor.
Track-by-track reactions below.
1. "Meet Me on the Equinox," Death Cab for Cutie. There was reason for skepticism when it was announced that Death Cab would be composing the lead single for "New Moon." Patsavas was keeping things in the family, tapping an Atlantic act she'd worked with before (see "The O.C."). It all seemed a bit predictable, but "Meet Me on the Equinox" packs a few surprises. If the chorus of "everything ends" leaves little to the imagination, the rhythm skips an anxious beat, all while the harmonies and golden guitars lead a path out of the darkness.
2. "Friends," Band of Skulls. Despite the Death Cab opener, it's clear from Track No. 2 that this is not going to be a completely melancholic album. "Friends" launches with some fiery bursts of guitar fuzz, and comes loaded with start-and-stop stomping riffs. "My friends, they are so beautiful," sings Russell Marsden, but he delivers the line with such garage rock swagger that the lyrical cheesiness is completely forgotten. The song swings too, giving "New Moon" a combo rock 'n' roll anthem, make-out song.
3. "Hearing Damage," Thom Yorke. When the Radiohead frontman unveiled a handful of new songs in Los Angeles, they came off as electro-dance rock 'n' roll for the art-house set. Yorke's "New Moon" tune is a little warmer than those glitchy, yet funky, rock 'n' roll cuts. The stereo buzz that permeates much of the song creates a rather warm sound, and Yorke's vocals threaten to disintegrate into a hum, which is exactly what they do in the final moments. "They say you're getting better, but you don't feel any better," Yorke sings, not exactly the reassuring lover, but not exactly distant, either. Love at its most tension-filled.
4. "Possibility," Lykke Li. Tension gives way to heartache here, and Sweden's Lykke Li could melt the coldest of hearts with this sparse tearjerker. A slight scratch in her vocals cuts through the song's intimately innocent feel. "Tell me when you hear my heart stop," she sings, while a backing choir inflects the sparse piano with gospel undertones -- a brief, largely a cappella prayer.