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On November 21, 2008, Twilight opened in movie theatres and set off what would become one of the most popular film franchises of all time. Already boasting a huge built-in fan base thanks to the popularity of Stephenie Meyer’s vampire and werewolf love story, Twihards flocked to the theatres, grossing $393 million worldwide in ticket sales, turning the film’s leads Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner into the biggest stars in the world.
Not only did Twilight get book fans into movie theatres, the first of five films in the franchise also set the tone for future soundtracks, with music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas and composer Carter Burwell returning for each instalment. Debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, Twilight featured pre-released and original music from Muse, Paramore, Linkin Park, and more, creating high expectations for the rest of the franchise.
To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Twilight, we’re taking a look at the best songs from all five soundtracks. Prepare for some seriously moody music.
How can you have a movie about vampires and werewolves and not include a seductive and sinister song about a full moon, amirite? The Black Ghosts not only had a fitting band name for the Twilight soundtrack, but their song “Full Moon” was the perfect opening track to kick off what would become the biggest vampire franchise of all time.
We can’t picture the famous baseball scene with any other song playing over top, so it’s surprising that Muse didn’t specifically write “Supermassive Black Hole” for Twilight. While the song wasn’t an original, Muse’s inclusion in the film was a big push towards making the soundtrack hit No. 1 and helping to get big name artists to sign on for future soundtracks. The U.K. rockers continued to appear on future soundtracks, including New Moon and Eclipse.
Paramore was still straddling the line between niche and mainstream radio in 2008, but that changed when the emo pop punk band wrote two songs for the Twilight soundtrack. “Decode” and “I Caught Myself” worked together as the catalysts that propelled Paramore into the mainstream, with “Decode” acting as the first official single off the soundtrack.
Bella’s deep depression over Edward’s disappearance is accentuated by the palpable pain in Lykke Li’s stunning “Possibility.” As time passes around a stationary Bella, Li’s lyrics drive home the idea that the teens’ short-lived romance may have to be enough to carry Bella for the rest of her mortal life.
Much of the Twilight series is based around Edward and Jacob wrestling with their reality of being forced to do bad things as a vampire and werewolf in order to survive and protect the people they love. This point is accentuated by the BRMC’s moody, guitar-driven track that plays when Bella first meets Emily, who was disfigured by her werewolf partner in a moment of uncontrolled rage. Dating a werewolf or vampire may seem cool, but it’s a dangerous love story.
Breakups in teen love affairs are more visceral and physically painful than later in life. Bon Iver and St. Vincent’s melodic “Roslyn” beautifully sets the stage for the fog Bella enters as she literally walks towards her inevitable breakup with Edward, with the song creating a dream-like haze over the scene.
Moments of lightness were few and far between in the Twilight films, but Bella and Jacob spending time together in Jacob’s garage during New Moon was a small but impactful scene that showed what life could have been like for the teens if they had been born in a place free of vampires and werewolves. OK Go’s fun and breezy “Shooting The Moon” created the mood for the carefree scene, a much needed reprieve from the film’s heavy handed sombre tone.
The Twilight soundtracks had a penchant for carrying the same song in different forms throughout the films, including Metric’s “Eclipse (All Yours).” The track by the Canadian rockers played during the end credits for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, but instrumental versions of the song bookended the film by creating the back drop for Bella and Edward’s scenes in the meadow at the beginning and end of the film.
Some of the best original songs from the Twilight soundtracks weren’t even included in the actual film. Florence and the Machine’s “Heavy In Your Arms” was an emotional punch that concluded The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, playing at the end of the film during the credits. *That’s* how jam packed these albums were with memorable songs. Florence and the Machine played during the credits.
An engagement three films/books in the making had to have a huge musical number to accompany it and Sia’s quietly beautiful “My Love” was the perfect backdrop for the highly anticipated proposal.
The first half of the Twilight finale featured a soundtrack with two of the biggest mainstream hits from the franchise. First there was Bruno Mars’ lead single “It Will Rain,” which featured a music video that landed in heavy rotation on music channels. The song was written by Mars after screening the film while on tour and is one of the only times the Twilight soundtrack deviated from the rock/folk sound into the pop and R&B genre.
Following Mars’ “It Will Rain” was Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years,” a song that was fitting for a love story between two people who would live forever. Though Perri’s soaring love ballad didn’t appear during the film, it quickly became the unofficial theme song for the Twilight finale thanks to its success on the charts.
For a film franchise comprised mainly of dark moments centred around brooding and heartbreak, there isn’t much room for a song that can get the listener to let go and dance, but that’s exactly what we got with The Belle Brigade’s “I Didn’t Mean It.”
With so many original songs written for the Twilight series, there’s ample choice for lyrics that best fit the storyline. Iko’s “Heart Of Stone” is one of the strongest, with the English band painstakingly crafting a melancholy ballad that speaks to the depths of love shared between Bella and Edward. Plus, it’s just so pretty.
The final Twilight film spends two hours leading up to an epic battle between the Cullens and their friends, including Jacob’s werewolf pack, and the Volturi vampires. A haunting song was needed for the moment Bella realizes her side will lose (spoiler, they don’t), and James Vincent McMorrow’s “Ghosts” draws the viewer into her despair and resignation over her impending death…or in this case, second death.