Soundtrack Scene: Sia Says Hello to The Neon Demon

siaA photo of Sia (via Celebuzz)

In addition to her five Grammy nominations, alternative songstress-turned-pop chanteuse Sia has landed two Golden Globe nominations for songs she’s contributed to films. However, the motion-picture academy has yet to recognize her work. Will 2016 be the year that changes?

While the vocal powerhouse behind “Chandelier” and “Breathe Me” co-wrote “Try Everything” for Disney’s recent masterpiece Zootopia – no, it’s not too early to say that – something tells me that a song so poppy won’t impress AMPAS’ music branch – especially when the song failed to hit it big on pop radio.

But (more…)


Soundtrack Scene: Pitch Perfect Animals

The end-of-semester rush + Cannes Film Festival happenings + soundtrack releases/news + a weeklong vacation = getting behind on blog updates 😦 And I’m writing my thesis over the next few months, too…

But I’m here now, so let’s get down to business:


The soundtrack for the drama Animals, which won the Special Jury Award at last year’s SXSW Film Festival “for courage in storytelling” in a narrative feature, hit digital platforms on May 12. The score, penned by Ian Hultquist, brings to mind the mellow side of alternative music. The soundtrack also includes the original ballad “Hard to Say,” performed by Barky & Speaker, and tunes from The Pentagons, Wedding Dress, and Gay Panic. The physical equivalent of the Animal soundtrack album hits stores on Aug. 14.

Looking at Oscar, “Hard to Say” may lack the exposure necessary for the nomination, even if it’s eligible. Then again, Paris 36 happened, so who knows?

flashlight_jessiejImage via Wikipedia

Additionally, Pitch Perfect 2 made history over the weekend by topping the box office and becoming the biggest U.S. opening for a debut director. Granted, the film is, as its name suggests, the sequel to a very popular film whose unique blend of music and comedy is rarely seen in contemporary film. Still, that debut director just happens to be Elizabeth Banks, who also stars in the film.

Pitch Perfect 2 includes the original song “Flashlight.” Characters in the film perform the ballad, written by two-time Golden Globe nominee Sia, Sam Smith, Christian Guzman, and Jason Moore. Jessie J performs a version of the song as well.

The popularity of the series gives “Flashlight” lots of exposure. But potential contenders like “See You Again” from Furious 7 and “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” and “Love Me Like You Do” from Fifty Shades of Grey have become massive hits in their own right. Also, while members of the motion-picture academy’s music branch may appreciate Pitch Perfect 2 for being a musical franchise (of sorts), it’s hardly in Oscar’s wheelhouse.

I’ll update the blog with individual pages for both “Hard to Say” and “Flashlight” soon. In the meantime, check out the original song category as it stands now!

Soundtrack Scene: 2014 Original Song (So Far…)

Edit (July 4, 2014): I just discovered that Charli XCX’s “Boom Clap” wasn’t written for use in The Fault in Our Stars. In fact, she’s been sitting on that song for a little while, apparently – she even shopped it to Hilary Duff at one point.

It’s good to be back – though it might be a little while before I’m fully back in the swing of writing regularly. But the story at hand: the original song race is apparently beginning early, what with Deadline Hollywood’s piece about “Lost Stars” – performed by Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, who also makes his film debut here – from the Weinstein Co.-distributed Begin Again already getting an awards push.

To some extent, this rush to hit the campaign trail shouldn’t surprise us since we’re coming off one of the biggest years in the recent history of the original song race – last year marked the first time since 1999 that (at least) two nominees hit the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 and the first time since 1997 that (at least) two nominees hit the top five of the Hot 100. These two nominees, of course, are “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 and winner “Let It Go” from Frozen, which hit No. 1 and No. 5 on the Hot 100, respectively.


Soundtrack Scene: Ender’s Game and Yes, More Catching Fire

I wasn’t expecting Gavin Hood’s Ender’s Game to contend in the Original Song race, but the sci-fi adaptation inspired the Flaming Lips to write and record six songs. However, they’re not thrilled with Orson Scott Card, who wrote the book on which the film is based. From Consequence of Sound:

No strangers to the realm of Sci-Fi concept album, the band’s Peace Sword EP was inspired by the forthcoming Hollywood blockbuster, Ender’s Game. Due out on Black Friday (November 26th), it’ll feature six new Lips songs produced by Dave Fridmann, including “Think Like A Machine, Not A Boy”, “Wolf Children”, and “Assassin Beetle/The Dream Is Ending”. […]

Coyne discussed the project in an interview with The Huffington Post back in August. “We really ended up liking (the movie). A lot of times, people do songs for movies and there are a lot of criteria that you have to follow to make it suit the movie people…We quite like the mood of it and the way of it, the sound and the theme of it. Steven [Drozd] and I both remarked, ‘Man, I’d like to do some more music associated with this,’ and we think they’re going to let us.. I think it could work out.”

However, in an accompanying post on Instagram, Coyne stressed the band’s involvement is despite Ender’s Game creator Orson Scott Card and his controversial comments regarding same-sex marriage. “Our involvement is only with the music directors of the movie… but yeah… these are conflicts all big projects have to deal with,” Coyne explained. We try to do cool things with cool people that, obviously benefit us and the cool people we doing stuff with… occasionally these benefits extend to abstractly connected people who are NOT so cool… So we try to choose…”

Will any of these songs find their way into Ender’s Game? No clue, but we should know that – and if one or two sound like Oscar bait – soon enough. Of course, this could go the way of the eponymous tune from Oblivion performed by M83.

Of course, we can’t talk about movie soundtracks of 2013 without discussing Catching Fire. I still see Coldplay’s “Atlas,” Patti Smith’s “Capital Letter,” and The Lumineer’s “Gale” (formerly known as “Gale Song”) being the Original Song potentials from Catching Fire, but Idolator unveiled “We Remain” and “Elastic Heart” yesterday.  “We Remain,” Christina Aguilera’s ballad, may have been an Oscar tune in the ‘80s, but it feels a bit dated. Maybe I’m just not a fan. Sia’s “Elastic Heart,” which features The Weeknd and Diplo, sounds like a radio hit but not an Oscar success.

Listen to the new Catching Fire tunes below.