Hunger Games series film fans may ask Jennifer Lawrence, "Are you, are you coming to the top of the Billboard tree? Strange things did happen here, no stranger would it be, if Katniss went to number one for singing ‘The Hanging Tree.’"
The haunting, a cappella performance rendered by Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence for the film "Mockingjay - Part 1," which premiered on Nov. 10 at the Odeon cinema in London's Leicester Square, has made the top 20 in the UK and is headed for a repeat here in America, according to a Billboard announcement.
Written by Suzanne Collins, who wrote The Hunger Games book series, and The Lumineers' Jeremiah Fraites and Wesley Schultz. "The Hanging Tree," took root at No. 14 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart Sunday.
Lawrence (in character as Katniss Everdeen) croons the song in the film, à la Lorde’s version of the film’s other hit song, Yellow Flicker Beat.
But Lawrence, in contrast to Lorde achieves an understated and slightly chilling smoky quality that all the Autotune in the world can’t provide. The addition of a choir and an orchestra that seep in at the end only deepen the effect.
In the dystopian world of The Hunger Games, the sackcloth-and-ashes presentation of the song appears to have outshone all the glitz that usually accompanies a film score hit. It’s about as far as you can get from Whitney Houston singing “I Will Always Love You” for "The Bodyguard" in 1992.
While it’s not new to have a film score hit the top of the charts, as did "The Guardians of the Galaxy" soundtrack which rose to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, it has been a while since multiple film soundtracks hit No. 1 on music charts.
Before "Guardians," you'd have to go back to 2009, when "Hannah Montana: The Movie," "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" and "Michael Jackson's This Is It" rose to the top of the charts.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" wins for an entire movie soundtrack composed of songs that had been previously released but found new life thanks to the movie boost. A case in point is Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" with 197,000 downloads sold, according to Billboard.