“Divergent (Score Album)”
Music By Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg)
Featuring Ellie Goulding
22 Tracks/Disc Time: 75:01
Earlier this Spring, Summit Entertainment unvailed what could be the equivolent of the “Hunger Games” films in “Divergent” based on the series of novels by Veronica Roth. The set in a futuristic dystopia where society is divided into five factions that each represent a different virtue, teenagers have to decide if they want to stay in their faction or switch to another for the rest of their lives. Tris Prior (the streaking hot Shailene Woodley, “The Fault In Our Stars”) makes a choice that surprises everyone as she and her fellow faction-members have to live through a highly competitive initiation process to live out the choice they have made. They must undergo extreme physical and intense psychological tests, that transform them all. However, Tris has a secret that she is Divergent, which means she doesn’t fit into any one group and if anyone found out, it would mean a certain death. As she grows conflicted about her secret, soon she’ll have to decide on wiether it is worth the life of one’s she loves or her own. The film was a major hit and the follow up “Insurgent” and the two part “Allegiant” in the next few years.
One of the more interesting aspects of this film aside from the super hot Shailene Woodley going up against Kate Winslet is the music of up and comer, Junkie XL (aka. Tom Holkenberg) whose music has been featured alongside Oscar Winner Hans Zimmer’s in “Dark Knight Rises” and more recently on his own with the thriller, “Paranoia” starring Liam Hemsworth, Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman and the hit sequel, “300: Rise Of An Empire” earlier this year. I had the opportunity to interview him earlier this year and I have to say that he was most impressive as a person which begs to question is this score any good. Those fans of the film, I’ll have to say yes it is and it is a score that is original featuring the lovely voice of singer Elle Goulding which perfectly fits the moods of the score and in particular Shailene Woodley’s character.
The opening track “Tris” is a well developed and lush track featuring Goulding’s angelic vocals backed with a nice contemporary work for guitar, orchestra and synthesizers that works exceptionally well in a folk – rock styled manner which is quite infectious. Goulding’s presence is also felt throughout the rest of the score in some rocking tracks such as “Choosing Dauntless”, “Capture The Flag”, and the very memorable, “Sacrifice” that also feature the orchestra in not only a dramatic moods, but also mixing in the contemporary material to give each track excellent depth and balance from a thematic standpoint. The score also features plenty of suspense and atmospheric material that is unique in a new aged musical styled way highlighted by the tracks “The Test”, “Erudite Plan”, “This Isn’t Real”, “Ferris Wheel”, “Conspiracy”, “A Friend”, “I Am Divergent”, and “Human Nature” which feels a inspired by the work of Thomas Newman before the full compliment of orchestra takes over with propulsive percussion tracks such as “Fear”, “Final Test”, and “The March” Junkie XL really brings out his best material in “Faction Before Blood” and “Everywhere And Nowhere”, beautiful dramatic tracks which are purely orchestrial and really demonstrates how good he could be as a composer as well as the awesomely cool, “Fight The Dauntless”, which really rocks the house with those cool guitar solos again.
Interscope Records’ score album (that is very rare to say) is a very packed album clocking at 75 minutes that is plenty for a score for a major film such as this one. The album which was released after the best selling song album, shouldn’t be looked as an afterthought to that album because there are strong moments and it does feature the terrific vocal work of Elle Goulding which should attract fans of the film to this album as well. This so far is Junkie XL’s strongest work to date and if it’s any indication, he should breakout as a composer really soon. “Divergent” is definitely a very solid start. Affectionate thumbs up.