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‘Can’t Catch Me Now’ Single Review: Olivia Rodrigo is the Latest Pop Star to Enter ‘The Hunger Games’ Universe

4 Stars

"Can’t Catch Me Now" was released Nov 3.
"Can’t Catch Me Now" was released Nov 3. By Courtesy of Geffen Records / Olivia Rodrigo
By Anna Moiseieva, Crimson Staff Writer

Two months after the release of her chart topping album “GUTS,” Olivia Rodrigo has returned with a stunning single for the soundtrack of the highly anticipated upcoming film “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.”

Rife with references to the film’s story — based on Suzanne Collins’s novel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”— Rodrigo’s dynamic vocals paired with an acoustic guitar tell a haunting story of vengeful retribution from the point of view of Lucy Gray, the novel’s heroine.

Rodrigo’s soft, hushed voice depicts a quiet landscape oppressed by the injustice inflicted on the song’s narrator. She sings “There’s snow fallin’ over the city / You thought that it would wash away / The bitter taste of my fury” accompanied by the simple, unadorned guitar instrumental. The lyrics allude to Coriolanus Snow — the film’s main character and future antagonist of “The Hunger Games” series — and his family motto, “Snow lands on top,” while recounting the aftermath of his wrongs.

The layered vocals in the chorus create a sense of rising tension as the song’s narrator affirms that she will not be forgotten, despite her evasiveness. “I’m here, I’m there, I’m everywhere / But you can’t catch me now,” Rodrigo sings. The track alludes to the end of “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” reflecting how the impact of Lucy Gray will never be forgotten by Snow — instead it will echoes throughout Katniss’s Hunger Games and the rebellion.

As the gentle notes of the post-chorus blend into the bridge, Rodrigo’s layered vocals dominate the instrumental becoming a powerful chant, effectively asserting Gray’s boundless existence that will continue to haunt Snow. The lyrics “You can’t, you can’t catch me now / I’m comin like a storm into your town,” ring out, accentuated by the fast paced string instrumentals.

The stacked, forceful lyrics push a story of revenge harkening back to the anthem of rebellion, “The Hanging Tree,” from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1.” Rodrigo’s reverberating voice throughout the bridge brings to mind the crowds across Panem’s districts singing the anthem as a symbol of their unity against the oppression they face. This intense bridge juxtaposed with the song’s quieter verses beautifully conveys the steeped anger behind the conflict between Lucy Gray and Coriolanus Snow.

Rodrigo’s newest single evokes the touching nostalgia of “The Hunger Games” film franchise and generates excitement for the expansion of the beloved story.

—Staff writer Anna Moiseieva can be reached at anna.moiseieva@thecrimson.com.

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