There is only thing about the Twilight movies that I actually like -- the soundtracks.
Overall, the soundtracks for these movies have been excellent, with some truly sublime songs by talented artists. And I don't have a lot to complain about with the "Breaking Dawn Part 1" soundtrack, which continues the tradition. A few of the choices are headscratchers (Bruno Mars? Really?) but the majority weave a delicate, bittersweet atmosphere over some very enjoyable pop tunes.
It kicks off with The Joy Formidable's "Endtapes," which is a pretty solid way to begin the album -- it's a sprightly song that seems to swing between marchlike beats and swirling pop melodies. Then we have Angus & Julia Stone's "Love Will Take You," a wistful, mellow little folk-pop song that lifts you up and cradles you in a silken wash of violin.
That feeling is carried over through most of the songs -- we have sorrowful, romantic piano ballads by Sleeping At Last, Aqualung & Lucy Schwartz, Mia Maestro and Iron & Wine; the thumping smoky defiance of Belle Brigade's "I Didn't Mean It"; the gentle soaring acoustic guitars of Christina Perri and Imperial Mammoth; and the tinkling prettiness of Cider Sky's "Northern Lights."
But there were a few songs that stuck out like sore thumbs. Bruno Mars' "It Will Rain" just drips with over-the-top drama, and it feels clumsy compared to the subtler songs that surround it. Also, Theophilus London's "Neighbors" is... a rap. That REALLY doesn't fit with the other songs. Whose idea was that?
However, the rest of the album feels oddly cohesive, despite being made by several different artists. There are misty layers of gentle piano and satiny strings, a rougher undercurrent of earthy acoustic guitar, and a sprinkling of starlit synth blips that pop up here and there. Occasionally you get a more robust, boisterous pop melody, keeping the album from getting monotonous -- the Features and the Noisettes particularly.
And it has a very distinct atmosphere as well -- the songs seem to drift between bittersweet contemplation and romantic coziness, reflecting on the loss of love as well as how wonderful it can feel. One song can charm you with its romantic exuberance ("Northern Lights") and the very next can break your heart... and some manage to do both at the same time (Iron & Wine's contribution).
I don't expect "Breaking Dawn Part 1" to be any better than the other Twilight movies, but it's undeniable that the soundtrack is exquisite, if flawed. Ignore Mars and Theophilus London, and this soundtrack ends up sublime.