The first time I heard a Radiohead song was during a midnight premiere for a movie about vampire teens. It was 2008, and I was in first grade in high school, the age when I started to wonder if I had outgrown the Jonas Brothers, but I was still happily blind to the idea. how silly it was to go to school in a puffy painted t-shirt. my allegiance to Team Jacob. i would read it dusk books a dozen times each, my paperbacks worn enough to fray on the corners of the covers. I was also obsessed enough to keep second copies on a shelf in my closet, safe from the elements and from the clumsy hands of my little sister, who let down my daily use. New Moon paperback in the pool.
2008 was a long time ago, and dusk has not aged so gracefully. The story’s gender politics don’t stand up to scrutiny (or any) scrutiny – the ordinary girl / vampire lover Bella Swan is an incredibly inactive heroine, literally willing to give up her whole life to have sex. with her hot vampire boyfriend. Jacob, the “cool best friend,” is possessive and toxic, and in the film the Native American character is played by a tanned white actor. Breakout stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are now indie darlings and are doing everything to distance themselves from the mundane crowd pleasures of the dusk franchise. I was in freshman year in college when the last movie came out, and I sat in the back row, laughing with my friends about how stupid this movie was.
But over the years, dusk regained a place in my heart. I think back to the stupid 14 year old girl who stood in line for hours to get a good seat at the premiere of this movie, and I see the same person who slept on the floor outside the Bridgestone so I’d be close enough to Harry Styles to see myself among the crowd. I see something beautiful and maybe a little badass about uninhibitedly loving something so girly, so culturally derided, and not caring how uncool that might sound. . More than the dusk movies themselves, I look back on the soundtracks, which were absolutely killer, and filled with a late 2000s indie who’s-who.
If you were not a young teenage girl in 2008 and somehow missed the unbelievably heartfelt dusk train, let me recap for you who’s on these soundtracks. Radiohead loaned “15 Steps” to the soundtrack of the first film, and Thom Yorke wrote a song for the soundtrack of the second film. The author of the book series, Stephenie Meyer, created playlists for each of her books, and she was a huge Muse fan. Before the first dusk film even came out, I had already packed my iPod with the songs of Muse that she had presented to me. âSupermassive Black Holeâ was featured on the soundtrack for the first album, but like Thom Yorke, Muse also wrote songs for some of the other films.
Other artists who contributed to the original material for the film’s soundtracks? The Killers, Lykke Li, Metric, Sia (pre-mainstream pop takeover), Paramore, Vampire Weekend, Victoria Legrand of Beach House, Bon Iver, St. Vincent. Stephenie Meyer used to put Blue October songs on her book playlists, and the band ended up following her on their 2008 book tour.
Of course, powerful soundtracks are nothing new and nothing special. Just last week, Shawn Mendes and Troye Sivan contributed covers of Queen to the Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack. Lorde wrote a song for one Hunger games movie, Taylor wrote one for Fifty Shades Darker. Corn dusk was different. Take another look at this artist list. There are some indie rock women who kill on this list – Lykke Li, St. Vincent, Hayley Williams, Emily Haines. But there are also legends of the dude – Bon Iver, Thom fucking Yorke. The soundtracks were my introduction to all of them and showed me that I was welcome in music.
The indie is often seen as a male coded space. Each year, with another Liz Phair follower breaking up with a guitar and raw, heart-wrenching lyrics, the headlines are talking about how things are changing now. Women have their place in rock! It is always implied that there is a tale of progress, that these things are better than they were a few years ago. It’s important to highlight new talents, and especially to do so when there are so many issues at stake. (If only rave reviews and sold-out tours were enough to get more women headlining at a music festival …) we sometimes erase the history of women, girls and non-guys who carved out a place for themselves in the scene long before we arrived.
The songs on the dusk Stephenie Meyer’s soundtracks and playlists were like portals to a new world. Hearing “15 Step” in the end credits led me to a beautiful twisted rabbit hole for OK Computer, and the Eclipse the playlist of the book made me discover Neon bible and Win Butler’s spirit of observation. I have often had the impression that their inclusion on dusk soundtracks were the way artists let me know they saw me. They didn’t mind that I was wearing pastel dresses and dangling earrings – they respected that I gave them all of my devotion, and those extra songs were a nod to me. You aren’t who they imagine when they think of indie, but we’re glad you’re here.
As the boys I knew doubted my knowledge of Arcade Fire’s discography, the fact that these soundtracks existed was a lifeline. I know I probably would have listened to Radiohead eventually if I hadn’t heard it in the end credits of dusk. But I’m not sure I would write about music if I wasn’t reassured that it had a place for me.
Before seeing Bon Iver in January in Austin, I researched the show’s setlist. Justin Vernon changed it every night on this tour, but sometimes he called listeners “Roslyn”, his wonderful song with St. Vincent de la New Moon soundtrack. âRoslyn,â like most of the songs from those soundtracks, doesn’t even air on Spotify. Unless you have a scratched CD of this soundtrack, you probably don’t know the song. I found a video of Vernon performing the song in Richmond, Virginia. The theater was dark, of course, and you couldn’t really see anyone’s faces. But I imagine from her perspective, a few women in their twenties glowing with gratitude when they heard the opening chords. This is our song! Like Edward and Bella, our favorite vampires, may he live forever.