Taylor Swift
Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Anticipation for the upcoming film adaptation of The Hunger Games has been steadily building all year, from the casting announcements through the early production photos, from the preview of the preview to the full-length trailer. Now, just in time for Christmas, there’s one more delectable Hunger Games accessory to chew on: In the wee small hours of the morning, teen sensation Taylor Swift announced via Twitter the release of her contribution to the Hunger Games. The song — currently available exclusively through iTunes — is called “Safe and Sound,” and it’s actually a collaboration between Swift, alt-folk duo the Civil Wars, and Games music producer T Bone Burnett.

The song (which you can listen to below) is an eerie little ditty, miles away from Swift’s usual romance-balladry. The chorus is composed of lines like “Just close your eyes/the sun is going down/You’ll be all right/no one can hurt you now.” Appropriate for the somber tone of Hunger Games, there’s no sense of triumph in the lyrics or in Swift’s delivery. It sounds more like a funeral dirge than a victory chant, especially as the song continues with light percussion that sounds like soldiers marching to their doom.

As EW’s Dave Karger noted last year, there’s been a severe shortage of popular songs specifically written for film soundtracks. (Just compare the chart performance/cultural halo/actual quality of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” to the song from James Cameron’s other biggest movie ever: Leona Lewis’ aggressively forgettable “I See You.”) I’m intrigued by the tone that Swift and the Civil Wars are striking with this song — it gives me hope that the movie itself will be as tough and heartfelt as the books. What do you think of “Safe and Sound,” Hunger Games fans?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

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