Hunger Games Soundtrack Release Ahead Of Film Debut

Many people are eager to see The Hunger Games this week as the soundtrack goes on sale today, but if you haven’t purchased your movie tickets, you might not be able to see this featured film on Friday.

The music for the film looks just as great as the movie itself, with contributions by Arcade Fire, Neko Case, The Decemberists and other cool artists. Taylor Swift is also in the mix. It’s a high profile variety with some decent material.

However, the head of film music for Lionsgate and producer T Bone Burnett knew the odds weren’t in their favor.

“The interesting thing about this movie that I’ve never seen before is the artists were reading the books, and when the deal was announced we started fielding calls,” McKnight said.

Who would’ve guessed, for example, that Kid Cudi, who contributed a dystopian track, “The Ruler and the Killer,” that could work as the campaign theme for the villainous President Snow, owned copies of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy?

“I was so blown away by his love of the books,” McKnight said.

Since Collins had set District 12, Katniss Everdeen’s home, in the Appalachians, Burnett’s vision was to start with “Appalachian music, 300 years in the future.”

So McKnight got goosebumps when she heard Taylor Swift’s mournful collaboration with the Civil Wars, “Safe & Sound,” which became the album’s first single. Swift just nailed the marching orders.

One of McKnight’s other favorites? “Just a Game” by 15-year-old British musician Birdy, who reminds her a little bit of Katniss herself.

“The emotion coming from a singer that age shows that girls can be smart and strong,” she says.

Knowing an album is good is one thing, getting listeners to buy in is another, especially since “The Hunger Games” is so important to so many people.

“The album went live at midnight, and you wake up and it’s the No. 1 album on iTunes,” she says. “That’s not too bad.”

The Hunger Games opens March 23.

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