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The student-run news site of H. B. Plant High School

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The student-run news site of H. B. Plant High School

PHS News

Olivia Rodrigo “Can’t Catch Me Now” Review

Amelia Knust
The Hunger Games prequel- The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes- is hitting the box office this month, and Olivia Rodrigo just dropped the chilling lead single for the soundtrack, “Can’t Catch Me Now.” Read more for an in-depth analysis of the lyrics and how they connect to the upcoming film and original trilogy!

Spoilers for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes!


As someone who is both a big music nerd and an even bigger Hunger Games nerd, I was ecstatic when I heard that Olivia Rodrigo would be singing the lead single for the Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes soundtrack, titled “Can’t Catch Me Now.” The soundtracks of the Hunger Games movies have notoriously been recognized for their star-studded tracklists and in-depth understanding of characters and themes. Throughout the years, they have had songs from top-rated artists like Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Lorde, Christina Aguilera, Kanye West, The Lumineers, Coldplay, and many more. Some of the most notable songs from the franchise have been Taylor Swift’s folk ballad “Safe and Sound,” described as a lullaby to characters like Rue or Prim, showcasing Katniss’s empathy towards others, or one of my personal favorite songs of all time, Lorde’s “Yellow Flicker Beat,” a hard-hitting anthem about Katniss’s relationship towards the rebellion around her. With songs like these and many others, the bar was set high for Rodrigo as she set out to become the face of the new soundtrack for the long-awaited prequel film. However, I had faith that she could capture the story, and I was not disappointed in the slightest as she dropped “Can’t Catch Me Now,” a sonically captivating piece that shares the story of the prequel’s main female protagonist, Lucy Gray Baird.

“Can’t Catch Me Now” follows a guitar-led folk-rock style, a nod to Lucy Gray’s history as a folk singer in the “Covey,” a group of nomadic singers that ended up in District 12 during the period of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. While the song stands strong by itself, it becomes a much deeper and more visceral experience for the ones who understand the story behind the lyrics. Many lines take specific jabs into the feelings of revenge and betrayal Lucy Gray Baird felt as her seeming lover, Coriolanus Snow (the eventual antagonist of the main series), used her to enhance his power and status in society. The song especially takes on a new meaning with knowledge of the end of the prequel novel, where Snow attempts to murder Lucy Gray. The ending is unknown as to whether she survived or died at his hands, leaving the reader with an ominous feeling toward her actual whereabouts. Therefore, “Can’t Catch Me Now” comes across as an accurate attempt to portray how Lucy Gray has haunted Snow with her spirit and memory throughout his lifetime and that he will never indeed be able to let go of her. Fans of the series have even pointed out the similarities between the repeating verses of the bridge and how the novel’s signature bird, the Mockingjays, pick up tunes and repeat them. This connection becomes even more daunting with Snow’s complicated hatred of the birds and their rebellious implications. It also serves as a symbolic foreshadowing of the nickname that Katniss Everdeen eventually is given as she becomes the leader of the rebellion against his rule.

Parallels between the prequel and the original series were incredibly present in the song, with many people applauding Rodrigo for her profound understanding of the series within the piece. For example, the last verse of the song goes as follows: 


There’s blood on the side of the mountain

It’s turning a new shade of red

Yeah, sometimes the fire you founded

Don’t burn the way you’d expect

Yeah, you thought that this was the end


There’s much to be unpacked here, and I particularly find it to be one of the most chilling parts of the entire song. The allusion to fire and the color red brings forth a reference to the series’s original protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, dubbed as the “girl on fire” for her awe-inspiring grit and memorable outfits. There is something incredibly poetic about the way Rodrigo embodies Lucy Gray as someone who unintentionally warns Snow that his prior mistakes over how he treated her will come back to bring his demise. No matter how hard he may try, his past will never truly leave him. We can see this in how Katniss’s cover of “The Hanging Tree” becomes a sort of anthem for the rebellion, a song that Lucy Gray had initially written. You can hear the spite in Rodrigo’s voice as she delivers these last lines, leaving the listener with a clear sense of intensity.

Overall, it’s evident that “Can’t Catch Me Now” beautifully serves its purpose as the musical embodiment of Lucy Gray Baird’s character and an overall summary of the novel’s themes. Rodrigo perfectly fits into the high bar given by her Hunger Games peers from previous soundtracks, once again proving her versatility for all genres and forms of lyrical content. Fan reception to the song has been extremely high, building up the excitement for the prequel movie releasing on Nov. 17th, starring Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, Josh Andrés Rivera, Viola Davis, Hunter Schaefer, and more. 


Listen to the song: Can’t Catch Me Now (from The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes) – Single by Olivia Rodrigo | Spotify


Buy tickets for the movie: The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

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