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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

“Can’t Catch Me Now” by Olivia Rodrigo brings a new vulnerability to the upcoming Hunger Games prequel movie

The Fader
Olivia Rodrigo posing for a recent photo celebrating the release of “Can’t Catch Me Now.”

As a former Disney Channel binge-watching veteran, I grew up on many of the network’s shows. 

From the nostalgia of Jessie to my childhood favorite of Good Luck, Charlie, I found myself resorting to more of Disney’s newer additions, such as the 2016 sitcom Bizaardvark, when the primary shows ran out. The show starred Olivia Rodrigo and—while it is not regarded as one of Disney’s most popular programs—was sufficient enough entertainment for an eight-year-old me. At the time, it would have been hard to predict Rodrigo’s rise from her humble beginnings on the show where she was regarded as just another Disney Channel child actress.

Her current track record, however, has proved her to be much more than that. 

After leaving the network, 20-year-old Olivia Rodrigo hit her big breakthrough in 2021 with the release of her debut album, SOUR, which accumulated nationwide praise and garnered the young singer-songwriter seven nominations at the 2022 Grammy Awards, three of which she won. In 2023, Rodrigo released her sophomore album, GUTS, which received similar admiration to SOUR and again recognized her as the face of Gen-Z pop. Rodrigo’s raw lyrical appeal and ability to bring a fresh voice to the music charts to teenage audiences has opened up many doors for her in the entertainment industry, most recently landing her a featured song on the soundtrack for the upcoming 2023 movie The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. 

Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes—which is based on the prequel book to the original Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins—has become one of this year’s most highly anticipated films to come to the big screen, and with the addition of Rodrigo’s musical talent, the excitement for the movie’s advent only continues to rise. With past movie soundtracks for the franchise, including notable artists like Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Coldplay, the opportunity presented to Rodrigo to include her own song for the film is one of great honor. Rodrigo’s contribution to the soundtrack, a track titled “Can’t Catch Me Now,” was released on Nov. 3, 2023, just ten days before the film’s release in theaters. 

Sung in the first-person point of view, the song represents the movie’s lead heroine, Lucy Gray Baird, who finds herself wedged in a gutting betrayal and the abiding cycle of retribution that follows her. Lucy, portrayed by actress Rachel Zegler, is backstabbed by her romantic interest and moral compass, Coriolanus Snow. Rodrigo encapsulates the eviscerating hollowness of Lucy’s blindside and the following hunger for revenge, perfectly expressing this with stunningly evocative lyricism. 

Rodrigo’s first verses of the song open with the sentiment that Lucy’s wrath will continue to haunt those who betrayed her. “The bitter taste of my fury / And all of the messes you made / Yeah, you think that you got away.” The diction of these lyrics is a metaphor for Lucy’s persisting recrimination that will gnaw at all who double-crossed her, nagging at them like residual rottenness on their tongues. This word choice is a promise from Lucy that by letting go of her, everyone who left her in the dust will have to survive with the regret they have from doing so. 

The track, while predominantly told from the eyes of Lucy and her lingering revenge, also hints at the guilt that follows the lead protagonist, Coriolanus, who plays the crucial role in both Lucy’s fulfillment and, ultimately, her backstabbing despair. Rodrigo pens, “You’ll feel it all around / I’m here, I’m there, I’m everywhere / but you can’t catch me now,” stepping into the shoes of Lucy and letting Coriolanus and her other tormentors know that they will never be able to escape her surviving vengeance, even in death. This simultaneously exhibits how he will never be able to flee from the remorse that comes with the sorrow and rage he consciously caused Lucy. 

Much akin to Rodrigo’s past work, her versatile musicality provides a deeper connection to many listening.

Much akin to Rodrigo’s past work, her versatile musicality provides a deeper connection to many listening. Those in similar situations to Lucy who feel cast aside and abandoned by someone they truly love can empathize with the notion that Rodrigo puts across. This internal battle of absent closure and a lingering scar of betrayal that Lucy and many others fight lights a fire inside that creates an unquenchable thirst to regain the worth that was robbed from those so easily forsaken.  

Focusing on the technical side, the melody explores a different path from Rodrigo’s usual musical ambiance—which is most commonly of the pop rock or piano balladry genre—by tapping into a tense, vengeful tone. The quick-paced staccato of the acoustic guitar following the slow crescendo from the opening verses adds a rising suspense that accentuates Rodrigo’s haunting vocals. This is also accomplished with the bridge and the chorus, where the layered vocals provide an eerie harmony that juxtaposes with the ghostly nature of the song, expressing even more thoroughly the enduring vengeance that Rodrigo expresses.   

With the movie’s release quickly approaching, Rodrigo’s talent emerging from her humble beginnings is not unnoticed in this new soundtrack. In “Can’t Catch Me Now,” her vocal style tells a story to all listening that brings a new vulnerability to the movie and dives deeper into the world of the characters. The introspective nature and melodic choices that the song explores bring nothing but high hopes for all that is to come for Rodrigo’s music career. If the movie is anything like this hauntingly gorgeous track that she so beautifully expresses, viewers can be sure that it will be one worth watching. 

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About the Contributor
Kathryn Campbell
Kathryn Campbell, Staff Writer

Kathryn Campbell is a freshman entering her first year on The Central Trend. When she’s not at school, you can find her playing competitive ice hockey for Fox Motors Hockey Club. She has just completed her 6th year playing travel soccer and hopes to compete for the high school this spring. Her other hobbies include listening to music, writing, and hanging out with her friends. She is very enthusiastic about her next four years of high school and plans to make as many memories as she can. She is especially excited about all that awaits her in room 139.

Her favorite album: SOS by SZA Her lucky number: 4 Her go-to animated movie: Hercules Her favorite holiday: Christmas  

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