Set-Up: Obviously any film that tries to put a story like Beowulf in front of an audience has to think seriously about the sound track. Pick the right music and the film will cleverly manipulate the audience into a wide range of emotions and reactions, not to mention make a bit of a bonus profit as fans go buy the CD/MP3s after the fact.

Challenge: What would your Beowulf film soundtrack sound like?

  • Pick 5 different events (or parts of chapters) from the epic poem detailing Beowulf’s life.  These can be tiny transitional moments or long scenes/conversations; it is entirely your choice.
  • Select one song that you think is a great match for each event (or part of a chapter).  Music can be instrumental or have lyrics.  All music styles/genres are acceptable.
  • Identify the song and the artist/group that performed the version you think is a good match.
  • In 1+ sentences, explain why you made each choice.
  • Optional:  provide a link to an Internet version of the song (MP3 — iTunes; video — YouTube, etc) so that I can listen/watch as I’m reading.  Thanks in advance…but this is purely optional if you have time and can find the link(s).

10 responses to “W3, #7: SOUNDTRACK for BEOWULF

  1. the Battle with Grendel:
    BARBARIAN HORDE from the soundtrack to the movie GLADIATOR (composed by Hans Zimmer)

    This song is amazing–it works for any battle scene! It gets really exciting at certain points, then slows down but suddenly comes back louder than before!

    chapter one (details about Grendel haunting the moors):
    PROGENY from Ibid

    A very creepy song…it captures Grendel’s quiet evil very nicely…

    Beowulf talking about his invincibility, and how he must not be defeated:
    UNSTOPPABLE by Santogold

    This song doesn’t necessarily have to do with a warrior, but it talks about the need to survive, and how you mustn’t be stopped. You CAN’T be stopped.

    the warriors who ditch Beowulf when he is going to die:
    WE WALK by the Ting Tings

    Some of this song doesn’t make sense, but some of it does: ‘we’ve got the choice if it all goes wrong/we walk’. I think it describes the wimpy warriors perfectly: they’ve always got a choice.

    Beowulf defeating Grendel’s mother and returning to Herot:
    DUEL, VICTORY, AND EPILOGUE from the soundtrack to THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold)

    This song is intense, even though it’s really old. I love the scene in the movie (VERY nerve-racking–who’s going to win?) and the feelings I felt while watching this scene were identical to those I felt when reading the scene in which Beowulf fought Grendel’s mother.

  2. People in Herot being afraid of Grendel:
    Far from A Fairy Tale-Something With Numbers.
    “tired of hopingwaiting and waiting and waiting and waiting for no-one” displays the hopelessness of the people. They think there’s no hope.

    Tension builds between Unferth and Beowulf:
    Liar(It Takes One To Know One)-Taking Back Sunday
    The song goes ‘all our secrets they are tailored trouble’ ‘liar, it takes one to know one’. Unferth brings up Beowulfs past and accuses him of lying. Beowulf and Unferth both exaggerate in their arguments.

    Beowulf and Grendel’s mother:
    Life Less Frightening-Rise Against
    Pretty self explanatory. He fights for a ‘life less frightening’ for the people in Herot. It also says ‘Is there a God tonight?’ which hints at the Biblical references.

    Beowulf’s last battle with the dragon:
    Until the End-Breaking Benjamin,
    The song talks about not giving up until it’s over, and it also says: “it’s not enough, it never is” and that shows Beowulf intent upon being a warrior.

    Burning of Beowulf:
    Remember the Name-Fort Minor
    This song fits perfectly. It is all about how hard things are and the name is self explanatory. The 12 men who bury him pass down the stories, and everyone will ‘remember the name’.

  3. These song choices were based on lyrics more than tempo/ style of song. If this was actually being made into the soundtrack for the story, they might need to be rerecorded in different styles.

    1. If you’re going Through Hell by Rodney Atkins
    Beowulf fighting Grendel

    It is a good fight song because it encourages you to keep pushing through. It could also be used when Beowulf fights Grendel’s mother.

    2. Stand By Your Man by Tammy Wynette
    Describing Grendel’s mother’s extreme devotion to her son

    Grendel’s mom constantly is watching out for her son and Standing by her son. She is there for him and fights for him to her death.

    3. Mean Streak by Little Big Town
    To Describe Beowulf’s attitude and personality throughout the whole story.
    (I can’t find a video for it, but it is available on itunes and such)
    Beowulf goes through several changes in attitude and personality, and this song talks about someone who is changing a lot and has someone else who has to put up with it.

    4. Life in a Northern Town by Sugarland, Little Big Town, and Jake Owen.
    Beowulf’s time in Herot

    This song talks about this person who comes to town and makes a lasting impact on the people there. They all grow to love this person by the time they leave. I also love the chant style chorus.

    5. I’m Only Me When I’m With You by Taylor Swift
    Beowulf’s last conversation while alive

    (You have to skip a little to get to the actual song)
    Beowulf isn’t in a relationship with him like in the song, but you see a side of Beowulf that is kind, giving, and humble that you never see with anyone besides Wiglef. Yes the song is a little peppy for death, but the lyrics seem to go well.

  4. – For the first chunk of the story that discusses Grendel being tortured by the joyfulness above him as well as his first destructive journey through the city I thought the song Dance with the Devil by Breaking Benjamin was perfect. It starts off a bit slow and builds sort of like all the anger that was surging through Grendel. The song is a bit of a downer but I promise I don’t need to pay the school counselor a visit Mr. Long[:
    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFVUe9QO62U

    – For the battle with Grendel, Sacrifice by Theory of a Deadman is a good choice. The song reminds me of Beowulf’s determination and certainty that he would defeat this monster. [Random: This song was on the Olympic commercial with Michael Phelps!]
    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2g2LweaZfJ8

    – After Beowulf successfully kills Grendel the people are ecstatic. I thought the song When You Believe by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey from the movie The Prince of Egypt was a great choice for this. The song is really inspiring and beautiful and it shows the joy and gratefulness that the people of Herot were probably feeling. It may even bring a tear to your eye.
    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxIN79n4jVo

    – I think Everybody’s Fool by Evanescence is a good song to describe Grendel’s mother and her fight for revenge. The song kind of talks about a person who thinks that they’re perfect and flawless and how they have everybody fooled and after all that happened, Grendel’s mother probably felt that way about Beowulf a little bit.
    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3DUYjtBI6s [the video is from the Chronicles of Narnia]

    – For the very end of the story when the great hero Beowulf passes away, I thought the song Broken by Seether was a good match because it’s a really emotional song that talks about losing someone really important.
    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi9LIAvfudk

  5. The song “Mina’s Tirith” from the Lord of the Rings Return of the King sound track composed by Howard Shore would fit from where Beowulf dives into the water through his fight with Grendel’s mother and ending when he gives Grendel’s head to King Hrothgar.
    This song starts out perfectly creepy for when he dives into the water and sinks for hours until he finds the bottom and is brought into the monsters home. Then it gets more dramatic for the fight scene and then there is some surreal singing that fits Beowulf when he almost dies and when he finds the sword and it ends perfectly for the fights and his giving the head to Hrothgar.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sGJPyGFgIU *the song starts about 4:41 in the video*

    For when Grendel is in pain because of the music, approaching, and then massacring the people in Herot for the first time: “Animal I Have Become” by Three Days Grace
    This song’s starting lyrics are why I chose it for this scene.

    Beowulf’s bragging about how he will kill the monster: “Handel Bars” by Flobots
    The cocky air of this song reminded me of Beowulf’s bragging.

    (I want to add that the actual meaning of this song doesn’t really mach the scene, but if someone was just listening to it without caring about the meaning then the song would sound like a lot of bragging about themselves.)

    Beowulf’s last statement and death: “Hymn for Gandalf” and” Death of Theoden” composed by Howard Shore
    I’m not totally sure why but I can see Beowulf asking for that tower to be called Beowulf’s Tower and his other last requests to this, and this was where Gandalf falls in the first Lord of the Rings movie and when Theoden dies in the third so I thought they find of fit.
    1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_JDHigZldg&feature=related

    When all of Beowulf’s followers except Wiglaf run away: “Bird and the Worm” by The Used
    It’s the chorus that made me chose this one. Especially “Terrified of what’s in side to save his life he crawls like a worm from a bird”


  6. First off, this was not as easy as I thought. But I managed.

    Grendel haunts the Herot
    Song: Light turns into Night & the Ghoul’s Dance by: Bruce Healey
    The song is actually part of a Disneyland Parade, it works great with the scene because it starts out dark and I can imagine a creature enterring a hall and scaring all the inhabitants. The scary voice in the beginning is helpful too. The music has a lot of, I call them swishes, in it that sound like something tearing people apart. It is very dark and very deep so it’s a perfect fit.
    *Unfortunetly no link found*

    Beowulf arrives at Herot
    Song: ‘Mob song’ from the Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack by: Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
    Let us imagine all the conversational parts away and we have Beowulf The Musical! It fits well, because Beowulf gives all this pep talk and his men would obviously be happy to help. Beowulf seems so angry at Grendel for no reason really, and Gaston has a lot of that in him aswell towards ‘the Beast’. I imagine them singing it while either getting ready for “sleep” or arriving at Herot.
    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=917Q8dbpRLE

    Beowulf being cockey
    Song: I Stand Alone from the Soundtrack of Quest for Camelot by: Steve Perry
    The song actually has to do with nature but a lot of quotes fit with a lot of Beowulf’s philosophy. “I embrace what others fear”, fits in so well with Beowulf’s stories of him killing everything none-human. It is such a “I-am-better-than-you” song. And how he stands alone, against everything. He gives no credit to anyone and in this song, the character doesn’t either.
    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTOlZkRLOj8

    The Battle with Grendel
    Song: Battle with the Forces of Evil from the Sleeping Beauty Soundtreack by: George Bruns adapted from the Tchaikovsky ballet.
    The song is such a fit because, it has all these clashing noises in it almost like Beowulf hitting Grendel or the Geats slashing and Grenel’s skin. The song in the movie, is the part at the end where the ‘hero’ battles the dragon, which makes the song even more perfect! In the end the song gives these high pitched notes, that sound like something falling, I imagine Grendel’s arm coming off.
    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNUUUaGJEMg

    Battle with Grendel’s Mother
    Song: Devil and the Deep Dark Ocean by: Nightwish
    As the title already implies, the song has to do with the devil, Grendel’s mother, and the ocean, in my way the large lake she lives in and we needed a break from all the soundtracks. The lyrics are very dark and the vocals are part dark scary voice and the opera singing, which reminds me much of Beowulf being told about the lake and the Mother and the opera vocals, in my mind seem like the deer who has a choice of the water and the wolves and it seems so innocent and so does the deer.
    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESumfSkondA

    Beowulf Dies
    Song A: La Serenissima by: Loreena McKinnett
    Song B: Hymn to the Fallen by: Katherine Jenkins
    Yes, there are two songs. Both are perfect for the moment Beowulf spits out his last wishes to his companion. La Serenissima in my mind has a lot of the instrumental tunes in it, that I imagine they would have had during that time. Hymn to the Fallen, well the name speaks for itself and the opera vocals are amazing and they just take you into the saddness that Beowulf’s people felt after he left.
    Link to La Serenissima: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m54SmVsQqgc
    Link to Hymn to the Fallen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKU3b7rnvlQ

  7. very beginning when “Beowulf” opens up and he’s “growling in pain”:

    To put is simply, this song is extremely emo. It talks about being without salvation and obviously Grendel is cursed to be forever without God’s love.

    Beowulf walks away from Ecglaf after telling him the true story of his battle with Brecca:

    This song is a perfect song for a typical “mean girl” moment. However it will also work for this example because, at this point i the story, Beowulf is arrogant and believes that he’s the “cat’s meow”.

    Beowulf gives the arm of Grendel to king Hrothgar:


    The chorus of this song would work amazingly well for this instance. Hrothgar is relieved that this monster that has destroyed his city is no more.

    Grendel is fighting Beowulf in the hall:


    The chorus of this song would be perfect for a “slow-mo transitioning into a realistic timing” section of the battle scene, especially the last chorus. Grendel feels fear for the last time and struggles to decide whether to stay and die, or runaway and live.

    during Wiglaf’s long speech after Beowulf’s death:


    This song is a calm and perfect song for an ending (it’s also a religious song for an added bonus).

  8. Beowulf comes in cocky,the whole city has been praying for Grendel to be beaten:
    Its tought to be a god- Road to El Dorado.
    If you listen to the words I think it is perfect. It is a cocky guy being mistaken for a god and eating it up. With lines like “who am I to bridle if I’m forced to be an idol If they say that I’m a God thats what I am.”

    Right before the battle with Grendel and all the people in Herot are terrified and would do anything not to be eaten:
    Long black train- Josh Turner
    The song is like the whole ongoing message the monks are secretly trying to portray in “Beowulf.” Such as telling you if your not with the Lord bad things will happen.

    Battle with Grendel
    I chose a little diffrent tempo than most people, I didn;t choose like a scary or dramatic song.
    4 minutes- Madonna ft. Justin timberlake
    I chose this because when I picture Beowulf fighting Grendel I picture him doing some choreography to this song while wrestiling with a dragon.

    Battle with Grendel’s Mom
    I got lucky -Elvis Presley
    I chose this because Beowulf did get really lucky in finding that sword. When he fings it I can picture him singing this to the sword.

    Beowulf dies
    Heaven was needing a hero- Jo Dee Messina
    This song is so beautiful and I think it portrays Beowulf’s last moments well. I picture Wiglaf singing this to Beowulf. At the end of the story Beowulf was a hero and it was a shame he had to die when he actually became one.

  9. When Grendel terrorizes Heorot killing King Hrothgar’s men.
    Bodies by Drowning pool.
    Because death is all around and it is a chaotic moment.

    When Beowulf goes and fights Grendel bare handed.
    Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A.
    This song fits the situation because Beowulf is this foreign hero and he is arrogant about it and knows he’s going to kill the monster.

    When Hrothgar holds a celebration for Beowulf’s return with the monster’s arm.
    You’ve Got Another thing Comin’ by Judas Priest.
    Because he doesn’t know that Grendel’s mother is about to get her revenge.

    When Grendel dives into the swamp to fight Grendel’s Mother.
    Holy Diver by Dio.
    Because he’s literally diving into the water and seems like a holy/heroic figure to Hrothgar and his people.

    When Beowulf fights the Dragon.
    Every Rose Has It’s Thorn by Poison.
    Because Beowulf knows he’s going to die sooner or later. Therefore he does what he has to because being a hero has it’s highs and lows.

  10. Quotes from the story are in italics, while quotes from songs are just normal text.

    1. When Beowulf wounds Grendel and he escapes back to his marsh to die:

    Creeping in My Soul by Christine Lorentzen

    The lyrics are striking, and are very fitting for Grendel’s point of view as he realizes he is dying. It has a mysterious and sad tune; the lyrics talk of how Grendel is “fading away into the night”, how he has to find his “escape and get out of this black hole” of death, and how out of the darkness “they come crawling.” (I believe this is an excellent portrayal of the story’s quote “…his death near; down to hell he would go, swept groaning and helpless to the waiting hands of still worse fiends.“)

    Here is a youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE3oIXrnQWc

    (yes, the song is from Bionicles!)

    The lyrics: http://www.sweetslyrics.com/477113.Christine%20Lorentzen%20-%20Creeping%20In%20My%20Soul.html

    It may also have a mix of when his mother finds him dying. “Wake me can’t you hear me calling” – Grendel speaking to his mother to wake him from death? The song can be interpreted in many ways.

    2. When Beowulf gets Grendel in his grip:

    The Bird and the Worm by the Used

    Unlike the first song, this song only has parts of it that really fit Grendel’s situation. When Grendel was seized by Beowulf, “his mind was flooded with fear” and he “wanted [nothing] but retreat, desiring nothing but escape.” In this situation, Grendel is helpless. From the song: “All alone he turns to stone, while holding his breath half to death. Terrified of what’s inside, to save his life, he crawls like a worm from a bird.” Grendel, in this case, is the worm, wanting to run away from Beowulf (the bird). Grendel is trapped and helpless: the word ‘crawling’ is a great one for his situation, for he wants to crawl back to his marsh. He is also alone; it is only him and his enemy in a battle to escape death. Beowulf is the one that has the power over the helpless “worm” – he is the bird that can strike the worm down or let it go.

    Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7r69PynOAw

    The lyrics: http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/The-Bird-And-The-Worm-lyrics-The-Used/37074D97591FD4BA482572A5002CA8C4

    3. Beowulf in his final moments:

    The Grim Goodbye by the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

    By this time, Beowulf is a king. He is wiser and fights for his people, rather than for himself and for his fame. However, he was also stronger and believed himself to be immortal when he was young. From the song: “Fate seems to recreate, I just cannot escape, something holds me down and makes me act a way I can’t explain. Even now I can feel it coming over me, choking me, as I’m falling behind.” Beowulf, in his younger days, had always been saved by God or had fate on his side. Now “fate seems to recreate” as his time has finally come and he is experiencing death. “I just I cannot let this go, I just cannot win” from the song, and “I can hold out no longer” from the story. Beowulf is admitting that he cannot win, something he would have never done in his younger days.

    Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf883pV41mI

    Lyrics: http://www.lyricsmania.com/lyrics/red_jumpsuit_apparatus_the_lyrics_8901/dont_you_fake_it_lyrics_29363/grim_goodbye_lyrics_319881.html

    4. Beowulf hears the story of the Danes:

    Heaven Help Us Now by My Chemical Romance

    Beowulf heard the story of how Grendel was haunting the moors of Herot, and “immediately” set out for the Danish store. “I hear you’ve been bleeding, make your choice, they say you’ve been pleading.” Beowulf says “Grendel’s name has echoed in [his] land” and that Hrothgar has been miserable – Beowulf has heard of the suffering and the torment the Danes have been going through. An excellent portrayal of when Hrothgar’s men were desperately praying and calling for godly help to rid Grendel: “Cause mostly I’ve been sprawled on these cathedral steps, while spitting out the blood and screaming ‘Someone save us!’ ”

    Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgkUdjXgmCI

    Lyrics: http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Heaven-Help-Us-lyrics-My-Chemical-Romance/32444DD6E1737144482572040012F1C0

    5. When Beowulf boasts of himself and the Geats’ strength to Hrothgar:

    Through the Fire and Flames by Dragonforce

    Beowulf believes that he is the strongest man on earth and that he is unstoppable. The reader can draw a conclusion that he must also think of his comrades as powerful as well (though not as powerful as himself). “They have seen my strength for themselves, have watched me rise from the darkness of war, dripping with my enemies’ blood.” and “So Beowulf chose the mightiest men… the bravest and best of the Geats.” This song is very fitting for Beowulf’s frame of mind, the lyrics are perfect. Here are the best lines: “In flames of death’s eternal reign we ride towards the fight… We feel the pain of a lifetime lost in a thousand days, through the fire and the flames we carry on.” Basically, through thick and thin, through everything and anything, Beowulf and his men will triumph over all evil.

    Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3H4liC2sWg

    Lyrics: http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Through-the-Fire-and-the-Flames-lyrics-Dragonforce/594EA0A3BF902CBE482570C200261ADD

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