Friday afternoon, four artists revealed via Twitter that they will be contributing songs to the soundtrack for The Fault in Our Stars. The film, based on the book by John Green, opens on June and thanks to Grouplove, Charli XCX, Lykke Li, and Birdy, we can take an auditory tour of the highs and lows to come. How will these musicians shape the soundtrack? Will they stay true to the book's message? Let's take a look.
First, there's "Not About Angels" by Birdy. On YouTube, it appears as "No Angel," so it's unclear if they are the same song. Nonetheless, the comments section makes it clear that TFiOS fans are claiming it for the soundtrack, writing things like, "Imma cry so much" and "TFiOS brought me here." The McLachlan-esque piano music in this song at first turned me off, but Birdy's voice, when it enters, has a quiet power. She seems to push herself to the point of breathlessness, which captures how Hazel feels when she (spoiler alert) unhooks herself from her oxygen tank. While I like her timbre, I'm not sure I like this song for TFiOS: I can imagine it being used as a tear-jerker, which I disagree with on principle. Then again, I cried during Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, so I have officially forfeited my place in the anti-sentimentality brigade. Here's Birdy.
This isn't "Boom Clap," but here's a taste of Charli XCX. I can see her electronic-infused chant-singing providing the background for one of Hazel and Gus' adventures in the wide world of Indianapolis. The characters know how to have fun, and a song like this could provide a nice bouncy beat for their "getting to know you" moments. Alternately, it could be a twisted, ironic backdrop for a rush to the E.R. It's whatever you want it to be.
Lykke Li's song, "No One Ever Lived," is also not available on YouTube. What are these, original tracks? Sheesh. Li's music captures momentum, nostalgia, and regret. The layered voices seem like ghosts of themselves. It's as if the stars themselves are calling out, whispering to their earthly counterparts. I'm starting to think that someone will die in this film. Hopefully it'll just be a beloved family pet. Here's a taste of Li's music:
Finally, Grouplove will contribute "Let Me In." I suspect that it won't be quite as upbeat as "Tongue Tied," but then again, I don't want to be bashed over the head with songs about loss. "Let Me In" will hopefully provide another "look at this fun!" moment, perhaps in Amsterdam as the two explore the Anne Frank house. I'm telling you, guys, this book is a laugh riot.
While the results are still inconclusive, I'm excited to witness the final collaboration on the TFiOS soundtrack. There are plenty of landscapes and feelings to experience, and if the trailer gives any indication, someone will probably shed a tear at some point. Hopefully the rest of the music, when it is announced, will support a nuanced portrayal of this young couple, from their wry comments on oblivion to their comforting a friend who (spoiler alert) loses his sight.
At the very least, it should provide an auditory accompaniment to the incomparable cities of Amsterdam and Indianapolis (As a Hoosier, I'm absurdly proud of my state right now). Stay tuned for further tunes, and be sure to stay hydrated for when you actually watch the film.
Image: 20th Century Fox