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Music review: 'Divergent' soundtrack is uneven

Published March 11, 2014 2:01 pm

New release • Various Artists, "Divergent: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack," (Interscope Records).
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The latest dystopian young-adult big-screen adaptation, "Divergent," has high expectations for the box office, though its soundtrack offers an uneven bag of tracks.

The film, highlighted by teenage angst overwrought by societal structure, could translate into a group of edgy, resonating songs, but the reality is that few rise to the challenge. Ellie Goulding overcontributes with her brand of manic pixie dream girl electro-pop on four tracks (three only on the nondigital version).

The first single — Zedd's piano ballad turned triumphant dance song "Find You" — is neither convincing nor very inspiring to anyone other than the Saturday-night club crowd. And Goulding's "Beating Heart" is a stroke away from flatlining.

The album starts off slow with run-of-the-mill dance tracks before it gets bizarre and wonderful with Tame Impala and Kendrick Lamar's "Backwards," which mixes a hypnotic '60s sound with some epic rapping. M83's "I Need You" takes a weird sax and blends it with an even weirder wailing Auto-Tune. A$AP Rocky's contribution, "In Distress," is probably the most alienating and enticing of the whole album — the barky electro background is stabilized by his rapping, which turns into a melodic howl. Pretty Lights' "Lost and Found" adds another layer of meditative sounds, skipping back and forth from uplifting pop to an exotic string sound.

Overall, the soundtrack barely passes the aptitude test into the Dauntless.