veritas exquirere

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veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

Listening with Lindsay: ‘Can’t Catch Me Now’

Rodrigo lands on top

Three-time Grammy winner Olivia Rodrigo has taken the internet by storm with the release of “Can’t Catch Me Now,” the featured song in the newest edition to the Hunger Games anthology, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” 

The cinematic blockbuster serves as a prequel to the events of the original Hunger Games franchise, centering around a young President Snow. As a fan of “Ballad” and the entire Hunger Games saga, I was ecstatic to hear there would be a film adaptation and even more excited when I learned Rodrigo would be featured on the soundtrack.

The 20-year-old’s musical contribution was refreshing and a much-needed display of musical diversity. We are used to hearing Rodrigo’s voice in an early 2000s grunge-pop style similar to the likes of Paramore and Avril Lavigne, but this was a complete genre shift for her, and I loved it.

As a Rodrigo fan, her soft-rock ballads, such as “logical,” “favorite crime” and “traitor” are some of my favorites in her discography. These tracks showcase her raw talent, which usually gets hidden in production or buried under intensive editing. She truly can sing, and “Can’t Catch Me Know” was a strategic reminder.

It’s the lyrics that impress me the most about this song. Rodrigo’s folk-style storytelling perfectly encapsulates the essence of the movie, illustrating the message the author, Suzanne Collins, and the director, Francis Lawerance, were trying to pass on to audiences.

The first verse masterfully sets the tone, laying the foundation the rest of the song builds upon: “There’s writing all over the wall/ Shadows of us are still dancin’/ In every room and every hall.” The verse describes a past relationship doomed to fail from the beginning, yet forever lingering in memory: “You thought that it would wash away” and “Yeah, you think that you got away.”

The chorus then describes the nature of this torment, “But I’m in the trees, I’m in the breeze/ My footsteps on the ground/ You’ll see my face in every place/ But, you can’t catch me now.” The speaker left fingerprints of nostalgia and anxiety, warping the subject’s mind. The memory of the speaker is inescapable, and their essence will always linger: “I’m here, I’m there, I’m everywhere/ But, you can’t catch me now.” 

The bridge is the big, climactic moment the entire song eludes towards. Besides the bridge, the song is Rodrigo’s gentle voice accompanied by a simple acoustic guitar. The song swells from the second chorus to the bridge as Rodrigo’s voice crescendos in harmony. The background fills with a louder, more deliberate guitar as her voice grows stronger, riddled with power. She frantically repeats,  “You can’t, you can’t catch me now/ I’m coming like a storm into your town/ You can’t, you can’t catch me now/ I’m higher than the hopes that you brought down.”

While the haunting ballad applies to everyday relationships, the lyrics precisely paint the narrative of President Snow’s life. Lucy Gray, a female tribute from District 12 who stole Snow’s heart and corrupted his mind, lives on in the life of Katniss Everdeen. Everdeen, a female tribute from District 12 born nearly 60 years later, shares a similar spark. Lucy Gray is the “face” Snow visualizes in “every place,” as Katniss is the manifestation of Lucy Gray’s spunk, courage and rebellious nature that eventually leads to Snow’s demise.

The franchise is no stranger to featuring known artists on their soundtracks: Imagine Dragons, Coldplay, The Weekend, Lorde and many more have contributed to previous Hunger Games movies. The most notable being Taylor Swift and The Civil War’s “Safe and Sound,” which took home Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 2013 Grammys. 

While Rodrigo’s song missed the consideration deadline for the upcoming 66th award show, I would not be surprised to see her name in that category in 2025. 

I’m happy to see Rodrigo explore new musical styles and seize unique career opportunities. She has accomplished so much in just a few years that sometimes I question the sustainability of her success. However, the release of “Can’t Catch Me Now” only proves to the music industry that the pop singer is merely scratching the surface of her potential. 

 

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Lindsay Gould, Editor-in-Chief
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