Like most writers who aren't named Stephenie Meyer, I find the Twilight novels an abhorrent abomination and a great offense to the written word. I assume the movies are the same to serious filmmakers. But Twilight presents me with a unique problem. Having one foot in the world of writing and literature, I feel compelled to hate anything and everything associated with it. But with the other foot in the world of music, I have to admit: The movie soundtracks are totally awesome.
Way back when the first Twilight film was released in 2008, it came as a shock that legitimate artists were on the soundtrack. I mean, how could that be possible? Shouldn't this be filled with the kind of garbage that I presume the fans of the movies would listen to? But now it's just something to accept. Twilight soundtracks almost always contain some great songs by some of the best artists around today, such as these five.
5. Perry Farrell, "Go All the Way (Into the Twilight)"
The Jane's Addiction front man goes electro-pop for this single from the first Twilight soundtrack. Sounding vaguely like one of Nine Inch Nails' more accessible recent singles, it's just too undeniably catchy to overlook.
The big single from that soundtrack ended up being Paramore's "Decode," but for those of us turned off by that band's hackneyed attempts at mainstream emo, Farrell's song is the hit.
4. Iron and Wine, "Flightless Bird, American Mouth"
This folkie waltz also comes from the first Twilight soundtrack. It appears in the movie during Bella and Edward's prom, and while I can assure you there isn't a school in the country that actually plays Iron and Wine songs at proms or other dances, it is nevertheless one of Samuel Beam's prime cuts.
Incidentally, it showed up again later as a wedding remix on the soundtrack for Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011), a stripped-down orchestral version that wouldn't sound out of place in a smoky club in the 1950s.
3. Beck & Bat for Lashes, "Let's Get Lost"
You know you're doing something right if you manage to get Beck involved with your project. Aside from being a great musician, he's just the pinnacle of cool. Here he duets with Bat for Lashes on a track that could have easily been on Bjork's Post.
You can hear the Bjork influence in Natasha Khan's vocal performance, yet she makes the track her own with a twist of Kate Bush in her style. And when Beck shows up with his verse, you know this one's a winner.
2. Thom Yorke, "Hearing Damage"
From the New Moon soundtrack (2009), this single from the Radiohead front man features some of Yorke's heaviest electronic exploration since his band's seminal album Kid A. It serves as a distinct precursor to their latest album, The King of Limbs, and features Yorke's trademark ethereal vocals. Who knows what it has to do with Twilight, but I'm just glad to have more Thom Yorke to go around, period.
1. Battles, "The Line"
Battles has to be one of the weirdest bands to break into the mainstream in years. Apparently to get this on the Eclipse soundtrack (2010), Battles had to re-record it three times, with edits suggested by the film's producers. You can really tell, because this is a far more accessible-sounding Battles.
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Regardless, it maintains all of the group's charm, with a break reminiscent of Animal Collective and guitar squeals in the background taken straight from a Scary Monsters-era Bowie track, which eventually turns into an extended polka-rock fusion outro.