Writing and performing a song for a movie soundtrack can be a rite of passage for artists, and Olivia Rodrigo is the most recent singer-songwriter to take on the challenge. Just a few months after the release of her sophomore album Guts, Rodrigo released “Can’t Catch Me Now” for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes soundtrack on November 3.
“Can’t Catch Me Now” deviates from Rodrigo’s typical pop-rock sound and is a folk-rock song, demonstrating the singer’s versatility as an artist. From the song’s opening, “Can’t Catch Me Now” haunts listeners with its acoustic guitar and Rodrigo’s ethereal vocals. Even if listeners are not familiar with Suzanne Collin’s novel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which the upcoming film is based on, “Can’t Catch Me Now” is universal with its themes of revenge, heartbreak, and lost love.
For fans of the book, Rodrigo takes “Can’t Catch Me Now” to the next level as emotions directly from the book’s pages are put into song. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel to The Hunger Games series and follows one of the franchise’s villains, President Snow, as a teenager. In the prequel, a young Coriolanus Snow (played by Tom Blyth in the movie) is tasked with mentoring District 12 tribute Lucy Gray (played by Rachel Zegler) in the 10th annual Hunger Games.
The single starts softly, but each chorus builds as Rodrigo’s vocals become more defiant, promising the song’s subject that she is inescapable.
“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 / Through wading grass, the months will pass / You’ll feel it all around / I’m here, I’m there, I’m evеry where / But you can’t catch me now / No, you can’t catch mе now,” Rodrigo sings in the chorus of “Can’t Catch Me Now.”
There is no official music video for “Can’t Catch Me Now,” but before the song dropped, a snippet of the song was released with scenes from the upcoming movie. Paired together, it is clear to see that Rodrigo captured how Snow will forever be taunted by Lucy Gray, even decades later when the famous character Katniss Everdeen makes her first appearance in the series.
It might have been an easier task to create a song for a one-off film instead of a prequel for a monumental series like The Hunger Games. However, Rodrigo rises to the challenge with “Can’t Catch Me Now,” and it pays off.
If Rodrigo was simply experimenting with different genres, “Can’t Catch Me Now” works as a standalone single unattached to already-established characters. The beauty of “Can’t Catch Me Now” is its connection to the source material, making it one of the most iconic movie soundtrack songs in recent memory.