Hunger Games hero Katniss Everdeen’s haunting folk song, “The Hanging Tree,” is now streaming online as it will appear on the Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 score album. Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Everdeen in the film series, sings the song over arrangement by composer James Newton and the Lumineers.
“The idea for the song came from the book…[author] Suzanne Collins wrote the lyrics and the idea was that it was an old Appalachian folk song that her father had taught her,” director Francis Lawrence said during an interview with AOL BUILD. “”So I knew we needed a melody like that. And the Lumineers had written a really beautiful song for the Catching Fire soundtrack, and I thought they could probably tackle something like that if they were interested. So I called them up…and the next day they sent me a recording of somebody whistling the tune and also a woman singing it. And it was perfect.”
Lawrence’s lone voice opens the track as she sings a harrowing ballad of a man’s hanging. Gently orchestration enters, first with gentle strings, building to a chorus over dramatic, soaring orchestration.
Lawrence recently joked during her cameo in Woody Harrelson’s Saturday Night Live monologue that she sounds like “a deer that has been caught in a fence” when she sings. It’s safe to say she’s much better than that.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 score album, not to be confused with the Lorde-curated pop soundtrack, will out Nov. 24.