Friday, January 16, 2015

favorite song friday: an unlikely hit

In the popular young adult movie franchise Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen, a reluctant symbol of a revolution. in one of the strongest (and most quiet) moments in the film the haunted Katniss sings an old folk song as she and her rebel crew are relaxing by a riverside. The song has a folk music sound to it, which is appropriate, as Katniss is supposed to hail from a part of her post-apocalyptic country of Panem that closely resembles Appalachia.

The lyrics to the song were written by The author of The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins, and were included in her original Mockingjay novel. The music was composed by Jeremiah Fraites and Wesley Schultz of American indie folk band The Lumineers.

Katniss's song was one of the film's most powerful moments, so it is interesting that it is now climbing the charts as a dance remix. When I first heard it, the EDM beat spliced in seemed more than a little jarring. But the simple power of the song and its mood still shines through. "The Hanging Tree" seems to be the latest in a growing number of folk-inspired music. Neo folk?

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where they strung up a man
They say murdered three.
Strange things have happened here
No stranger would it be
If we met at midnight
In the hanging tree ...


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