Notable Compilation Releases Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 and Beyond
Since the Hunger Games is currently the cool new movie to obsess over, it is aptly appropriate that the movie’s soundtrack has a hipster sort of vibe. Don’t expect to hear these songs in the movie, but the compilation does create an interesting celebration of rock, country, and acoustic tracks.
The most popular single on the album, “Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars, is haunting and lovely. Swift and the Civil Wars both contribute other songs to the soundtrack, and although “Kingdom Come” by the Civil Wars is great, Swift’s “Eyes Open” fails to impress. Like “Safe and Sound,” many other tracks fall into the lovely and haunting categories, such as “Tomorrow Will Be Kinder” by the Secret Sisters, “Daughter’s Lament” by Carolina Chocolate Drops, and “Dark Days” by Punch Brothers.
There’s also a few action-adventure inspired songs, like the fascinating “Abraham’s Daughter” by Arcade Fire, which is the most interesting song on the album. Other notable songs come from Miranda Lambert and Maroon 5, who have both combined with other artists in order to diversify their sounds (Lambert with the Pistol Annies, Maroon 5 with Rozzi Crane).
Tracks To Download: “Abraham’s Daughter” “Tomorrow Will Be Kinder” Overall Grade: B+
Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan (Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International)
Every few years, Amnesty International puts out a charity compilation album with artists from many genres contributing songs. This year’s compilation is an epic three-disc collection of Bob Dylan covers. The artists on Chimes of Freedom range from well-known names like Sting, Miley Cyrus, and Maroon 5, to the more unknown groups like My Morning Jacket, Queens of the Stone Age, and Cage the Elephants.
Chimes of Freedom is an excellent mix of styles and artists saluting Dylan’s classic songs. “Mr. Tambourine Man” by Jack’s Mannequin is wonderful, paying homage to the original without being too literal. Flogging Molly’s “The Times They-Are A Changin’” is in the band’s usual Irish-punk style—a far cry from the original, but this unique take on the song gives this old classic an awesome new revival.
Evan Rachel Wood, who was last heard singing in 2007’s Across the Universe, contributes a jazzy cover of “I’d Have You Anytime.” Adele’s take on “Make You Feel My Love,” which was featured on her 2008 album 19, is featured as a live performance, and is absolutely breathtaking. Some of the most interesting covers come from the more obscure groups, such as “Political World” by Carolina Chocolate Drops and “It Ain’t Me Babe” by Band of Skulls. Whether you’re a longtime fan of Dylan’s extensive catalog or looking for an exciting genre-crossing release, Chimes of Freedom is an ideal collection and will not disappoint.
Tracks To Download: “The Times They-Are A Changin’” “Mr. Tambourine Man”
Overall Grade: A