“Can’t Catch Me Now,” the original song Olivia Rodrigo co-wrote and performed for the soundtrack of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, follows in a grand tradition.
The movies in this series have come with iconic tie-in songs, from The Hunger Games’Arcade Fire anthem “Abraham’s Daughter” and the folksy Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars joint piece “Safe and Sound” to Lorde’s chilling “Yellow Flicker Beat” in Mockingjay – Part 1. The Hunger Games series’ soundtrack is full of bangers. Even though the series is packed with action and set in a dystopian future, singer-songwriter music plays a huge role in shaping the world of Panem, especially the Appalachian roots of District 12.
For this particular movie, music was even more important than usual. The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes follows a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) as he mentors District 12 tribute and songstress Lucy Gray Baird (West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler). Much of the plot is driven by Lucy Gray’s natural showmanship and her captivating songs, and the third act of the movie really drives home the impact music has across the entire Hunger Games world, present and past.
[Ed. note: Spoilers ahead for a significant moment at the end of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.]
Naturally, director Francis Lawrence, who returns to the Hunger Games franchise after his work on Catching Fire and the Mockingjay movies, had a lot of thoughts about what the closing-credits song should sound like, and how it should reflect the story. So many thoughts, in fact, that when Lawrence got together with Rodrigo after she watched the movie to talk about the collaboration, he sheepishly says he ranted at her a bit about what he wanted out of her song.Read more on polygon.com