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"Slipping into her mind was such a wonderful break," Taylor tells Rolling Stone. "It's pretty intense writing about my own life, my own struggles. It was almost like a vacation to get to write from someone else's perspective."
'The Hunger Games' soundtrack, produced by Oscar winner T Bone Burnett, also features contributions from Miranda Lambert and her Pistol Annies cohorts ('Run Daddy Run'), Secret Sisters ('Tomorrow Will Be Kinder'), Maroon 5, Arcade Fire and more.
'Safe & Sound,' the melancholy first single from the soundtrack, was recorded by Taylor with her pals, Grammy-winning duo the Civil Wars. The tune was penned during a spontaneous two-hour writing session at the producer's home studio last fall. (Watch the 'Safe & Sound' video below.)
"The Civil Wars had a show that night in L.A.," recalls Taylor. "So they raced right over to T Bone's house. There's so many things he could've done production-wise to make that song bigger sonically than it is, but I think that would have possibly been a mistake. For him to have left the song as a lullaby is brilliant."
'The Hunger Games' soundtrack will be released March 20. 'The Hunger Games' stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth in the post-apocalyptic tale of a reality-TV competition in which participants are chosen to fight each other to the death. The film, based on the novel by Suzanne Collins, opens in theaters March 23.
Listen to Taylor's 'Eyes Open'