By the time of the release of Twilight: Eclipse, the third movie in the blockbuster vampire & werewolves chaste teen romance Twilight series, non-fans have become so sick of Twilight that they’re sick of being sick of Twilight. But the second film, Twilight: New Moon, incongruously had a pretty strong soundtrack (QRO review), eschewing the emo of the franchise’s fan-base for indie. Eclipse‘s soundtrack is likewise superior to the film, and recruits some alternative heavy-hitters, but is unfortunately more influenced by the series’ overwrought nature.
Kicking off the soundtrack is single “Eclipse (All Yours)” by blown-up alt-stars Metric (QRO live review), and while singer Emily Haines (QRO solo album review) can certainly deliver these emotions better than Bella or Kristen Stewart, it’s a tamer Metric, which isn’t what you love about the band. The overwrought influence of the Twilight series the first third Eclipse‘s soundtrack & more – how much depends on the quality of the artist, and their susceptibility to that influence. Muse (QRO photos) unsurprisingly go grand on “Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)”, with a piece that would fit right in with stadium-rocking latest release, The Resistance (QRO review), while The Bravery (QRO photos) likewise match their recent Stir the Blood (QRO review) in over-emoting, but kinda catchy “Ours” (both featured in the same scene, they also kind of sound the same & are back-to-back on the track list). Florence & The Machine (QRO photos) exceed the limitations with a better female singer, rather R&B diva-meets-electronic on “Heavy In Your Arms”, while Sia (QRO live review) slips here as the emotional Sia, not the pop-Sia.
After all of that grand emoting in the soundtrack’s first third, the alt-folk collective sound of “Atlas” by Fanfarlo (QRO photos) is a bit of an outlier on the record, if not for Fanfarlo (QRO album review). In fact, virtually every piece on Eclipse sounds unmistakably like the artist, even the overwrought first third, but also the blues-y middle of “Chop and Change” by The Black Keys (QRO album review) and the dark, rather stripped Allison Mosshart procession from The Dead Weather (QRO album review). And like “Atlas”, “Life on Earth” from Band of Horses (QRO live review) is an alt-country outlier, but fits right in with their current, more polished sound (QRO album review).
There are still a couple of surprises on Eclipse. Beck (QRO album review) teams up with Bat For Lashes (QRO live review) for out-of-left-field-for-them stripped echotronica, but it has the same overwrought flaws as the album’s first third. But Vampire Weekend (QRO live review) somehow deliver the best track – perhaps because they’re such an un-overwrought band, the combination of that plus their own style tones down both, and it’s all for the better as “Jonathan Low” has enough of Twilight‘s emotion, the soundtrack’s electronica, and the band’s so-called afro-pop, without being too much of any (and you don’t even think that they were put on the record because of their name…). Eclipse comes near its close with its least-known artists, including a tribal-electronica UNKLE (“With You in My Head”) and a blues-rock procession Eastern Conference Champions (“A Million Miles an Hour”), while Cee-Lo Green of (can we now call them one-hit wonders?) Gnarls Barkley feels more Garden State than Twilight on his “What Part Forever”, before series composer (and song-chooser) Howard Shore finishes the soundtrack with his “Jacob’s Theme”.
Twilight: Eclipse has been called the ‘best of the Twilight series’ [note: your reviewer has never seen any of them...], and even if you thinks that’s damning with faint praise, it’s been nice that the mega-hit series has been introducing indie music to the teens & tweens. And if the artists are unnecessarily bigger, and the songs unfortunately more Twilight overwrought-influenced, it’s still a nice compilation – even if that’s not a surprise at this point.
MP3 Stream: “Jonathan Low”