Seventeen-year-old songwriter Ella Yelich-O’Connor (Lorde) has had her fair share of excitement over the past year. Her now-famous deep vocals and cutting lyrics have been haunting radios worldwide, and her hit single Royals was awarded none other than the Grammy Song of the Year title. Yet still, being offered to write the lead promotional track for the biggest film franchise of the decade can’t have been just another day, even for Lorde.
Yellow Flicker Beat certainly feels like it’s been created in an excited environment. The song has a type of symmetry in the matching intro and outro; an ominous, bass-like hum. Its beat has a snappiness familiar to her radio-friendly hits, yet this track makes no effort to be catchy. The words are beautifully crafted, not easily memorised, and suited to the confrontational grit of the Hunger Games series with the songwriter’s characteristically head-on, sharp lyrics. Lines like, “I got my fingers laced together and I made a little prison/And I’m locking up everyone who ever laid a finger on me” prove her talent at making the story believably her own, even if just for 4 minutes during the credits.
“This is the start/Of how it all ends” is perhaps an obvious reference to the two-part nature of the series’ finale, but is nonetheless a pretty powerful line when coupled with impressive instrumentals. It seems the best fit to encompass this song – a representation of war, fear, and bravery captured with poetic and melodic justice. And all by a seventeen-year-old!