Recording information: Brightstreet Recorders, Los Angeles, CA; Elm Studios, Farley Green, England; Machines With Magnets; Sia's Kitchen, New York, NY; Treefort Studios, New York, NY.
The Twilight Saga films came fast and furious, and so did their soundtracks. Just as the music for New Moon was an upgrade from the first movie's soundtrack, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is another improvement, with more A-list names (Beck, Bat for Lashes) and a more confident feel. This set of songs may be even more indie-oriented than The Twilight Saga: New Moon was, but this direction feels a lot less forced here, possibly because it reflects the relatively adult and complex story Eclipse tells. There are some predictable song choices: Muse's exclusive track "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)" is sweeping, swooning, and over the top, with the chorus "My love will be forever/We'll die together" -- in other words, perfect for a Twilight movie (and more proof of why their music is so inspiring to Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer). Meanwhile, Florence and the Machine's "Heavy in Your Arms" and Sia's "My Love" provide plenty of dramatic, female-voiced balladry to which fans can daydream about being Bella Swan. However, unlike New Moon's almost unrelentingly moody and morose soundtrack, Eclipse offers more moods and sounds, from the Black Keys' earthy "Chop and Change" to the pretty folk of Fanfarlo's "Atlas" and Band of Horses' sunny, hazy "Life on Earth," which is perfect for sparkling in a meadow. Eclipse's exclusive tracks are among its best. Metric's "Eclipse (All Yours)" kicks off the album with dreamy and dramatic yearning that avoids being melodramatic, while Cee-Lo Green's "What Part of Forever" accomplishes the unlikely feat of bringing old-school soul-pop to Forks, WA. And though Vampire Weekend could be included for their name alone, "Jonathan Low" earns its place on the soundtrack by toning down the band's exuberance for a wintry folk ballad complete with church bells. Meanwhile, the Dead Weather's "Rolling in on a Burning Tire" brings actual gothic darkness to Twilight with its slow-burning groove and sinister organ. UNKLE and the Black Angels' "With You in My Head" follows suit, its hypnotic loops verging on downright creepy. As weary a clich‚ as it may be, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse proves that the third time is indeed the charm for the series' music; more than a few songs here sound like music vampires would enjoy, which is surely a step in the right direction. ~ Heather Phares