A treasure trove of acclaimed artists make up “New Moon” soundtrack

Mickey Caulfield and Rachael Kaplan

With its throng of screaming high school and pre-teen girls and shirtless male actors, the Twilight franchise certainly doesn’t achieve much street cred. However, the latest soundtrack effort, “New Moon,” aims to dispel this negative image.

When indie-inclined audiophiles learned of the “New Moon” track listing, they were shocked. Why would more than a dozen critically acclaimed, credible artists write original songs for a teen vampire romance sequel? In the case of the less-commercially successful artists, money and exposure are obvious draws. But what about giants like Thom Yorke of Radiohead? Maybe he just really likes Twilight. That’s a question we’ll probably never have answered, so at least we have a smart album to soundtrack the contemplation.

If the Twilight album was a slight push out of fans’ comfort zones, “New Moon,” with its arsenal of new wave-indie tracks, is a full out shove. While the last Twilight soundtrack included a decent amount of upbeat alternative rock, the new addition is full of brooding, eerie indie tracks that appropriately sting of a bad breakup.

Though New Moon includes some obvious choices for a vampire flick left out on the last album–including tracks from Death Cab for Cutie and The Killers–the standout songs remain the less commercial ones. The crème de la crème includes Thom Yorke’s “Hearing Damage,” Grizzly Bear and Victoria Legrand’s “Slow Life,” and Bon Iver and St. Vincent’s “Roslyn.”

Less-than-stellar contributions come from usual banality-factories The Killers, Muse, Editors, and OK Go (among others), providing tracks that conform to each of their tired formulas. However, even these remain more listenable than most movie soundtracks aimed at screaming 12-year-old girls and screaming 40-year-old women.

Though both the movie, with its lack of dreamy undead Edward, and soundtrack, without much commercial rock, will probably disappoint Twilighters to a certain degree, it does (hopefully) crystallize a sea change in the direction of music pushed on little girls by corporate entertainment, from the Jonas Brothers and mall punk to something respectable.