Listen to Arcade Fire’s Hunger Games Anthem

Slate's Culture Blog
March 2 2012 11:04 AM

Did You See This? Arcade Fire’s Hunger Games Anthem

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in a new clip from The Hunger Games.

Last month, when the tracklist for the Hunger Games soundtrack was released, I wondered if the Arcade Fire tune, "Abraham's Daughter," was the same "Abraham's Daughter" written by Septimus Winner during the American Civil War. It seemed plausible: Winner's song is about someone who is tired of city life, headed to battle, possibly to "die a martyr"—and all those things also describe Katniss Everdeen, the hero of The Hunger Games. And Arcade Fire are clearly students of American music; if nothing else, I figured, the song's title must be a nod to the tune by Winner, who also wrote "Ten Little Indians" and "Listen to the Mockingbird," among other American classics.

Now the song has been released, and... guess not? Win Butler spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the song; here's what he told them:

There’s something in the story of Abraham and Isaac that I think resonates with the themes in the film, like sacrificing children. So we made a weird, apocryphal, alternate-universe version of that, where it’s as if Abraham had a daughter—kind of a metaphor for Katniss.

Butler added that they tried to write less of a "pop song" than an anthem, one "that could be playing at a big sporting event like the Games" in the story. I'd say they succeeded—and managed to write a pretty good pop song at the same time. But judge for yourself:

Meanwhile, a new clip from The Hunger Games was uploaded to the movie's official YouTube page (now re-designed as "Capitol TV Productions") last night; watch it below.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.