Twilight: Sucking the Life outta Indie Music!

By James Madden.

With the recent announcement of the Twilight: Eclipse soundtrack,  featuring amazing artists such as Sia, Florence + the Machine, Muse, Metric, Dead Weather and Vampire Weekend, I am reminded of a post I wrote when New Moon came out in cinemas. I’m posting it here again, but not before a quick track listing of the new movie.

01 Metric: “Eclipse (All Yours)”
02 Muse: “Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)”
03 The Bravery: “Ours”
04 Florence and the Machine: “Heavy in Your Arms”
05 Sia: “My Love”
06 Fanfarlo: “Atlas”
07 The Black Keys: “Chop and Change”
08 The Dead Weather: “Rolling in on a Burning Tire”
09 Beck and Bat For Lashes: “Let’s Get Lost”
10 Vampire Weekend: “Jonathan Low”
11 UNKLE: “With You in My Head [ft. the Black Angels]”
12 Eastern Conference Champions: “A Million Miles an Hour”
13 Band of Horses: “Life on Earth”
14 Cee-Lo Green: “What Part of Forever”
15 Howard Shore: “Jacob’s Theme”

OCTOBER 16, 2009:

This has happened to me a few times now. I’ve been with a girl listening to music, having a chat about this and that, and then suddenly the Iron and Wine song “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” comes on. I’ve loved this song for yonks, since Samuel Beam (the man behind the name) released The Shepherd’s Dog in 2007.

The song becomes recognised by the girl, to which she immediately pipes up with “Oh, I love this song” and starts singing the strange lyrics (“Now I’m a fat house cat/Cursing my sore blunt tongue” etc.) to utter and sheer whimsical delight. Then when I pipe up saying “I love this album”, the girl becomes slightly bewildered and yet extremely exhilarated and excitedly says “You love the Twilight Soundtrack?!?!” *Crazy fun times end in devastated boy (me) being lost in disappointment.


This situation has happened to me more than once, and that’s no exaggeration. In truth, when I be fair to ethical ideals journalism and all that hoo-har, I should not omit that I started liking Iron and Wine from its inclusion on the soundtrack of the 2004 film In Good Company. So there, I’ve declared potential hypocrisy. But, to be fair, the song “Trapeze Swinger” was only released through the soundtrack. So I’m still on the upside!


However, when considering the effects of the Twilight soundtracks on the music industry, popular culture and the public sphere, this hypocrisy can be over looked. Massive indie/punk artists beyond Iron and Wine, such as Muse, Paramore and now Death Cab for Cutie have lost their underground (well…massive underground; they’re not a Greenday heights yet) status and now are subjected to pop/rock star status and thus loved by the masses of tweeny-bopper Twilight saga lovers. Sadly, this mass love has led to my slow, dwindling vocal public declaration of such love for these artists. In laments terms, Twilight is destroying my love for music!!! Maybe that’s an extreme statement, and one swimming in hyperbole, but it’s engrained in truth!

My fear comes armed with feelings of woe and despair with the idea that my beloved Death Cab and other casualties may experience such a significant rise in popularity that they will no longer play in the uber cool venues where you can actually see their faces. From this point on they will play in arenas or other similar venues where they become simply a speck of dust on a stage thousands of seats away. Just think of Kings of Leon. Just a few short years ago, they weren’t selling out arenas. They weren’t even playing arenas. But as the cruel tragic devil of popularity claims life after life, we see these amazing musicians that we idolise literally move further and further away from us.

So with this on board, I had a look at the listing for the New Moon soundtrack, and I admittedly jizzed in my pants. I mean you’ve got Death Cab, Muse, Bon Iver with St. Vincent, Thom Yorke, Grizzly Bear and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Triple Jizz!!!! And then comes the realisation that your 13 year old cousin will soon be bouncing her empty head along to these masters. And that’s when the doves cry. Cue Prince.


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