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Album Review

When it comes to the musical formula on the Twilight soundtracks, the watchword is this: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The 15 songs accompanying the third film, Eclipse, exhibit more of what fans have come to expect. That is to say, haunting, angst-filled reflections on the paradox of eternal love juxtaposed against the inevitability of death.

The roster of musicians is once again a mixture of established artists (Muse, Beck), high-profile indie acts (Vampire Weekend, The Dead Weather) and bands many music fans have never heard of (Florence + The Machine, Bat for Lashes).

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Metric kicks things off with "Eclipse (All Yours)," a song that pledges eternal love, no matter what happens or what anyone else thinks. Muse's bombastic, theatrical offering, "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)," covers nearly identical thematic territory ("Our love would be forever/And if we die, we die together"). The song also recognizes the world as a fallen place ("The world is broken, halos fail to glisten").

Facing the uncertainties of tomorrow, "Ours," by The Bravery, clings tenaciously to the present moment. Florence + The Machine's contribution, "Heavy in Your Arms," concludes on a hopeful note ("When he held me in his arms/My feet never touched the ground"). Sia's "My Love" praises a loved one's willingness to sacrifice on her behalf and alludes to an afterlife in which separated lovers are reunited. "What Part of Forever," by Cee Lo Green, contemplates how a man's lack of a soul hinders him from pledging to love a woman forever. The lyrically opaque "Atlas" by Fanfario seems to be about setting people free from that which cages them.

Objectionable Content

"He took me to the river/Where he slowly let me drown," reads a line from the dark opening of "Heavy in Your Arms." The song then describes the burden this woman apparently is to her beloved ("My love has concrete feet/My love's an iron ball/Wrapped around your ankles/Over the waterfall/I'm so heavy"). There's not much to look forward to on The Dead Weather's "Rolling on a Burning Tire," which contemplates the inexorable passing of time before dying ("One is born so one can die/You must wait for a really long time/That's more than you can bear"). Vampire Weekend tells of a man who hunts down and kills another man named "Jonathan Low."

Beck and Bat for Lashes team up on "Let's Get Lost," a sensual song that alludes to throwing caution to the wind in exchange for a few moments of intimacy ("Touch me, I'm golden, wild as the wind blows/ … If just for tonight, darling, let's get lost"). Likewise, two lines on "Ours" are mildly suggestive ("I already miss you/Even as you're lying next to me").

"Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)" sarcastically rejects spiritual leaders, predicting that their empty teaching will come to naught ("Hail the preachers, fake and proud/ … They'll dissipate like snowflakes in an ocean").

Summary Advisory

The message on the third Twilight soundtrack is consistently inconsistent: Love transcends death … except for when it doesn't. Like the last two soundtracks, moody, gothic romanticism rules the day (and night) in these sad-but-hopeful-but-still-sad songs.

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The soundtrack to the third big-screen installment of the Twilight franchise debuted at No. 2 with first-week sales of 144,000 units.

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June 8, 2010

On Video

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Adam R. Holz