The sound of teen angst: From The Hunger Games to How I Live Now

Top pop stars are finding adolescent movies are the way to a huge audience

The electronica artist Jon Hopkins is on a roll at the moment as his solo album Immunity enjoys the support of a Mercury nomination. Now he can look forward to the release of his most high-profile soundtrack yet, for forthcoming movie How I Live Now. Hopkins earned an Ivor Novello nomination in 2011 for his work on the low-budget science-fiction film Monsters, having collaborated with his mentor Brian Eno a couple of years previously to score Peter Jackson's gloopy supernatural adaptation The Lovely Bones. Still to be released is the British thriller Uwantme2killhim?, for which the London-based Hopkins has also provided music, though it is his work for director Kevin Macdonald's latest project that is set to propel the musician into the movie mainstream.

For How I Live Now is the latest entrant in the burgeoning genre of teen movies based on best-selling books – a seemingly sure-fire source of hits that is not only attracting big-name directors but also a glittering array of pop stars and credible artists to provide accompanying music.

The relationship has been somewhat chequered. It starts with the drum rolls of Bill Haley & His Comets' “Rock Around the Clock” over the opening credits of 1955's youthquake-generating Blackboard Jungle, which helped the barnstorming anthem to become a major hit. During the latter half of the decade, teen idols on both sides of the Atlantic were encouraged to pursue parallel careers in music and film, with Elvis Presley inspiring moves to the silver screen for Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard.

A rare high point for teen movies and contemporary pop came in the mid-1980s as the sassy “Brat Pack” films featuring Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe and Molly Ringwald demanded an up-to-date soundtrack, music and image melding most successfully in John Hughes's contributions. 1985's The Breakfast Club broke Simple Minds in the US when they agreed to record the song that became their only Stateside No 1, “Don't You (Forget About Me)”. The critical plaudits, though, go to Pretty in Pink, apparently inspired by new wave outfit The Psychedelic Furs' 1981 single of the same name, re-recorded for the teen romance's soundtrack that also featured New Order, The Smiths and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.

While the Brat Pack era tended to focus on coming-of-age angst, these young-adult films apply those same themes in more exotic settings, the worlds of fantasy and science fiction. The change was instigated by the Harry Potter phenomenon. Soundtracks for the film spin-offs, though, relied on familiar orchestral motifs, bar an electrifying cameo in 2005's The Goblet of Fire from The Weird Sisters, a group featuring Jarvis Cocker from Pulp and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead.

Taylor Swift, whose music appeared on the first ‘Hunger Games’ soundtrack Taylor Swift, whose music appeared on the first ‘Hunger Games’ soundtrack While romance remained a sub-plot in the Potter series, the relationship between Bella and Edward was central to the Twilight saga. From the off, film adaptations of the four books in the series mixed histrionic pop-metal with more esoteric sounds, so that for the opening 2008 film, Paramore and Muse shared space with Perry Farrell and Iron & Wine. For the second instalment, New Moon, the franchise could command original writing from a wider range of artists. Thom Yorke contributed “Hearing Damage”, while Bon Iver and St Vincent collaborated on “Roslyn”.

THE MORE RECENT Hunger Games series at first took a different direction, steering towards contemporary country, roots and folk to chime with its occasionally pastoral settings – Taylor Swift received a Grammy nomination for “Safe & Sound”, alongside contributions from The Civil Wars, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Neko Case. Perhaps the biggest coup was a rare appearance from Arcade Fire on an album subtitled Songs From District 12 and Beyond, pointing to the fact that many tracks did not appear in the film itself.

The line-up for the forthcoming Hunger Games: Catching Fire promises to be even more heavyweight. Coldplay have already topped iTunes charts with “Atlas”, their first original contribution to a film soundtrack. Also on board are Patti Smith, Christina Aguilera and The National. No telling yet whether this smorgasbord will be as satisfying as Hopkins's work on the more grungey How I Live Now. Especially as beside his instrumental score comes the gorgeous “Garden's Heart'” – a collaboration with Natasha Khan.

'How I Live Now – Motion Picture Soundtrack, Original Music by Jon Hopkins' is out now on Just Music. The 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire Soundtrack' is out on Tuesday 19 November

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished

TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies

Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
filmFirst look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel
film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable