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Single Review: Lorde – ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’

2 min read

If there’s another reason to be excited for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, it’ll be because Lorde is curating its entire soundtrack. And who better suited to the job than the 17 year old Kiwi? Lorde is no stranger in contributing to the Hunger Games franchise. Previously she recorded a cover of Tears For Fears’ Everybody Wants To Rule the World, featured in the Catching Fire soundtrack. With Lorde now influencing the Mockingjay soundtrack, we should expect nothing less than dramatic pieces and epic, cinematic sound. At least this is the impression we’re getting from Yellow Flicker Beat, the first official single to the movie.

Yellow Flicker Beat LordeIt’s clear from the outset that Lorde is channeling her inner Katniss, embodying her persona to create a determined and vengeful track. There’s something awfully unique about Lorde’s sound; the fact that she can successfully embody the film’s protagonist in both music and lyrics is astounding itself. From the eerie hums of the first 10 seconds, you can tell it’ll be a spine-chiller – almost reminiscent to the sobriety of District 12.  The first verse is entirely acapella, save the low, steady pulse in the background. The choir of backing vocals compliment Lorde’s growl, sending the entire track into a spooky and solemn atmosphere. It’s not until the chorus where things start to pick up – in a stark contrast, the track morphs into a soaring interpretation of Katniss’ vision and courage. ‘They used to shout my name, now they whisper it’, Lorde croons, backed by a symphony of synths and electronically dubbed beats. Lorde sings with fierceness but is also quietly menacing; she is the epitome of a smoldering, scorned heroine.

If you listen to the lyrics carefully, you’ll find all the cleverly intertwined Hunger Games references. Lorde has always been commended for her songwriting skills, and she has once again paired with Joel Little (who worked on her Pure Heroine album) to create a track that’s unmistakably Lorde and Katniss at the same time. Even the line, ‘red, orange, yellow flicker beat’ implies Panem’s beloved Girl on Fire – Katniss’ alter ego and on-stage persona. It’s small details like these that make up the greatness of this track – which is exactly why Yellow Flicker Beat serves as the perfect lead single.

There’s no doubt that Mockingjay will be a box office hit – and with Lorde behind the soundtrack, the music will be a killer. If Yellow Flicker Beat was any indication of this, then we ought to be expecting some equally soaring tracks from the rest of the album.