Well that didn’t take long! Only 5 weeks after the release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, and the release of accompanying song, The Hanging Tree, lead actress Jennifer Lawrence is featured on the radio hit The Hanging Tree (Rebel Remix) which shot to number 22 on the Billboard top 40 for Adult Pop. The simple four stanzas that Lawrence softly recites in the film were quickly layered over an uptempo dance beat, complete with strings, cymbal buildups and a modest brass melody, all coming together to make a tidy radio hit. The song has climbed Billboard’s modernized chart due almost exclusively from radio play, as the song has only recently appeared online. The track’s nonexistent presence online had been driving fans crazy, as made clear by the frantic comments left on the YouTube videos of other non-Rebel remix versions of The Hanging Tree.
In the “Mockingjay, Part 1,” The Hanging Tree (sung a cappella) is well-inserted into the action, serving to calm the heightened action, as a visibly tense Katniss obliges the pleads of her playful compadres to sing a song while still remaining every bit as solemn. The song she chooses is one she hasn’t sung for nearly 10 years, due to a ban from the Capitol, so singing it immediately after an attack by the Capitol was a marked act of defiance. Jennifer Lawrence has an extraordinarily unique and beautiful voice: quiet, slightly lower, and lightly raspy, one that often breaks when she explodes in a passionate outburst – something that she does in almost every one of her movies. If there is a formula for taking softly-sung vocals on a minimalist track, and remixing it into a dance hit, a la Summertime Sadness or Somebody That I Used to Know, Lawrence’s voice is ideal.
Listen for yourselves: The Hanging Tree – Rebel Remix (YouTube)