The New Moon trailer dropped yesterday, and the hype surrounding it is already insurmountable. It’s safe to say that Robert Pattinson and his character’s journey to self-awakening have touched a nerve within the population, especially since it’s the first time audiences have the opportunity to emotionally connect with a character the way the film’s creators intended. But what is the secret to Twilight’s unprecedented success? Perhaps the key is in the film’s soundtrack, which prominently features artists like Sia and her powerful “Cheap Thrills,” Jack White’s “Lazaretto,” and Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Schollenberger’s “Familiar Faces.” Here, we will explore the New Moon soundtrack and its unique qualities.

A Theme Park for the Mind

If you’re unfamiliar, the Twilight franchise centers around a young man named Edward Cullen (Pattinson) who moves to Forks, Washington, with his family. There, he meets and falls in love with a vivacious town girl named Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart). When Bella finally decides to give her heart to one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, Edward is unwittingly trapped in a loveless marriage with another woman. Desperate to save her true love, Bella sets out to expose his dark secret. One year later, Edward and Bella have broken up and Bella is involved with a French Canadian artiste named Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). The foursome struggles with their newfound individualism as the events of the previous year are revealed to them in a game of cat-and-mouse that escalates out of control.

What makes the cinematic experience of New Moon so special is how it immerses its audience in Enchanted Park, a “theme park for the mind” that the characters visit throughout the film. Every ride, soundtrack, and visual pun is themed around one of the songs found on Sia’s self-titled album, which is inspired by Stephen Sondheim’s 1963 musical, Sweeney Todd. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the album’s co-producer, Greg Wells, said, “It’s a combination of things. I grew up with Sondheim and ‘Sweeney Todd’ on my bookshelf, so it was just natural for me to listen to it when I was writing the soundtrack.”

What’s interesting is that the album, which also features artists like Kelly Clarkson, Pharrell Williams, and John Legend, is essentially a collection of American standards that are altered to fit the narrative of New Moon. As a whole, the soundtrack is a celebration of American pop music, with the only exceptions being “Evergreen,” the Canadian national anthem, and a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses,” which is heard in a scene that wasn’t in the movie. Instead, the filmmakers used “Prologue,” an instrumental version of Johnny Cash’s “Ghost Rider,” for that scene.

A Passion for Broadway

In addition to the “theme park for the mind,” New Moon also features another standout cinematic element: cinematic moments set to the sounds of Broadway. The New York Times Magazine called them “nearly cinematic,” and Vogue Magazine compared them to “mini-movies.” Audiences can’t help but flinch when a character performs a song from one of America’s greatest artistic treasures, like Rodgers and Hammerstein’s great “Oklahoma!” or “Carousel.” As exciting as these moments are to watch, it was a labor of love for the filmmakers. In an interview with Time Out, Chris Weitz, the film’s director, said, “I wanted to put the audience in that room with those actors. It’s like going to a play—you’re sitting in the front row and it’s up close and personal.”

What’s great about these moments is that they give the soundtrack a completely different vibe. While some of the songs on Sia’s album are arranged in a manner that mimics their original Broadway cast albums, others draw from composers like Johann Strauss, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven, whose “9th Symphony” serves as the film’s finale.

As a whole, the soundtrack is a masterclass in how to score a motion picture. It’s packed with memorable songs that both stand out and linger in the mind long after the film’s end. In terms of pure entertainment value, there is very little that compares to listening to this album while watching one of cinema’s greatest love stories unfold on the big screen. It’s not everyday that you get to enjoy an album of this caliber for such a prolonged period of time, so make the most of it while it lasts.