By Gilian Prado
The year was 2008. Musically we are in the center of the post-punk revival, with the likes of The Strokes, Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Franz Ferdinand and The White Stripes. Indie rock is in its golden age, and the soundtrack of a film franchise, specifically the first three Twilight films, reflected that.
While the Twilight films themselves were made for a target audience of preteens and teenagers, one thing that sets the films’ soundtracks apart from other major movie franchises is their unique scores. Rather than filling the scores with major billboard top 40, the first Twilight films did something different; they risked using alternative artists.
Historically, major motion pictures either have a classical score or a score filled with custom songs by chart-topping artists. Twilight, however, was one of the first major film franchises to break the mold.
The first film in the Twilight saga series is, of course, the self-named “Twilight”.
Twilight opened with a song entitled “Full Moon” by The Black Ghosts, an English band whose prominence in the US was due to their song being featured in the first movie. “Full Moon” combines folk and garage rock elements making for a uniquely Pacific Northwest sound. The second song that stood out, while not as obscure as “Full Moon”, is still in the alternative rock category and takes place during the baseball scene, “Supermassive Blackhole” by Muse.
“Supermassive Blackhole” has a dynamic guitar riff, and lyrics to match, “Glaciers melting in the dead of night, And the superstars sucked into the supermassive (you set my soul alight)”. In the ending, Radiohead’s “15 Step” plays and closes out the film in the most perfect way. “15 Step” itself is one of my favorite Radiohead songs and possess such a polyphonic texture that it’s intoxicating and gives the piece an intensity that drowns you in the most pleasurable way.
New Moon is the second film in the franchise and like its predecessor, was no stranger to indie and alternative artists. One of these artists is Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, who wrote a song specifically for the film entitled “Done All Wrong”, a melancholic folk song with modern indie vocals.
Another band that was featured in New Moon was Band of Skulls and their tune “Friends” which has a more garage rock feel but is well produced and moodier. Death Cab for Cutie’s song “Meet Me On the Equinox” was also featured along with Thom Yorke’s “Hearing Damage”, which is a hauntingly dark and deep piece.
Finally, the famous collaboration between St. Vincent and Bon Iver occurred due to this film, with their song “Roslyn”, which is softer and slightly more upbeat than the other songs on the album. It features an acoustic guitar riff loop and a famous chord to break through the sound that signifies the identity of the song to any listener.
Finally, Eclipse, the third film in the twilight saga, opens with “Chop and Change” by The Black Keys who are familiar to any indie/garage rock fan. Vampire Weekend’s Johnathan Low, with their signature high-pitched catchy guitar riffs also makes an appearance as well as a catchy synth line that repeats throughout the track. Muse makes another appearance as well as Metric and Beck, along with Florence and the Machine.
Say what you want about the films themselves but it’s undeniable that the first three in the franchise had an amazing soundtrack. My one wish is that the last two films would have followed in the same steps.
Featured Image by Tiara Allen.
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