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Various Artists – ‘New Moon: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’ Review

new moon soundtrack cover

‘New Moon’ Soundtrack

Photo courtesy Atlantic.

We don’t yet know how New Moon the film will compare with Twilight, but in terms of soundtracks, the sequel bests the original. Boasting a stronger lineup of bands and better overall selections, the New Moon soundtrack isn’t necessarily much more “rock” than the Twilight soundtrack was, but the variety of good tunes on this 15-song collection is hard to argue with.

Eerie, Moody Rock

On the music spectrum, the New Moon soundtrack resides on the indie-rock/modern-rock side of things. Much like Twilight, most of this new album’s songs are moody, occasionally eerie affairs that are performed by bands that have yet to jump into the mainstream, with the exception of artists like the Killers, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Death Cab for Cutie. (There’s also a truly lovely piano piece from New Moon composer Alexandre Desplat included.) But where Twilight sometimes seemed to drown in its melodramatic atmospherics, the New Moon record hits you with an immediacy and urgency that was often lacking last time around.

The Heavy Hitters

Let’s focus first on some of the more hotly anticipated cuts. New Moon starts off adequately with Death Cab for Cutie’s “Meet Me on the Equinox.” The melancholy mid-tempo number is very much in this band’s wheelhouse, but rather than being an engaging new song in their catalog it feels pretty standard – they’ve done several better versions of this same tune in the past. Thom Yorke’s “Hearing Damage,” as expected, recalls material from his solo album The Eraser, but the droning, propulsive song boasts a fuller, richer sound than the laptop-rock of his one-man-band record. As for the Killers’ “A White Demon Love Song,” the slightly spacey track would have fit nicely on the band’s last record, Day & Age, and again demonstrates that the Las Vegas quartet are moving away from their New Wave influences and becoming a more confident group in the process. All in all, New Moon’s bigger bands acquit themselves quite well on this soundtrack.

Some Nice Surprises

Part of the fun with a multiple-artist soundtrack is discovering a new group, and New Moon doesn’t disappoint in this regard. One of the real surprises is “Monsters,” a track from the Hurricane Bells, which is a side project of Longwave frontman Steve Schiltz. Riding a fuzzed-up guitar riff, “Monsters” is a catchy, bouncy number that’s one of the few unabashedly up-tempo songs on New Moon. And rock fans may not have heard of them, but two acclaimed singer-songwriters who individually go by the stage names Bon Iver and St. Vincent collaborate to deliver a standout song called “Rosyln.” It’s one of the album’s quietest tracks, but the acoustic guitars and ethereal voices are really quite haunting. Once “Rosyln” fades out, New Moon immediately segues to another soft song, albeit one that’s much darker. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s “Done All Wrong” drips with regret, its unplugged arrangement feeling almost folk in its execution. BRMC have stripped down their sound in recent years, but this is one of their most compelling compositions of late.

‘New Moon’ Soundtrack – Bottom Line

As with any soundtrack album, New Moon has a few duds, but none of them are outright howlers. OK Go’s jaunty “Shooting the Moon” and Muse’s upbeat, sorta psychedelic “I Belong to You” are largely forgettable, but even they have their charms. On the whole, New Moon isn’t an album to crank on the stereo. Rather, you want to listen to it in a hushed, intimate setting – probably on headphones. The Twilight soundtrack may have drowned in its misery, but New Moon revels in it, which makes for a far better listening experience.

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October 27, 2009 - Posted by | 1

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