Olivia's New Hunger Games Song Is Full Of Easter Eggs For Fans
Can we talk about that outro? 👀
Olivia Rodrigo understood the assignment. The GUTS singer released her new song “Can’t Catch Me Now” on Nov. 3, which will score the upcoming Hunger Games prequel movie The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. And for superfans of the dystopian franchise, the wistful track is packed with clever references and allusions to the world of Panem.
The Hunger Games movies have a long history with producing iconic music. When the original film saga was hitting theaters in the early 2010s, the soundtracks were just as big as the movies. They would feature new music from hit-making artists like Taylor Swift, Sia, and Lorde. And that tradition is still going strong, thanks to Rodrigo’s inclusion on the Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes soundtrack.
It’s clear Rodrigo was steeped in Hunger Games lore when she wrote “Can’t Catch Me Now.” The song’s lyrics actually sound like something Lucy Gray would say to Coriolanus Snow after the events of the book, and they include several nods not only to the prequel’s story, but to details from the other movies as well. Here are the lines that just hit different for all Hunger Games superfans.
Spoiler alert: Some of these lyrics reference the ending of The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.
1. “But I’m in the trees, I’m in the breeze”
The first line of the chorus stands out as the song’s most referential. It calls to mind the climactic final scene in the prequel book, in which Coriolanus Snow shoots the mockingjays in the trees, which serve as a constant reminder to him of Lucy Gray.
On the surface, the line is also a much more literal callback to the first Hunger Games movie. Shortly after the games begin, Katniss hides from the other competitors in the trees.
2. “There’s snow fallin’ over the city”
No need to overanalyze this lyric. Rodrigo’s mention of snow is an obvious nod to Coriolanus Snow, one of the main characters in the Hunger Games universe.
3. “And all of the messes you made / Yeah, you think that you got away”
This line also seems to reference a climactic moment in The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. At the end of the book, Snow hides a murder weapon in a lake, thinking he got away with his crime. But Lucy knows the truth.
4. “My footsteps on the ground”
It sounds like Rodrigo really did her homework while writing this song. This lyric could refer to the original poem that Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins used as a basis for the Lucy Gray character. In William Wordsworth’s 1799 piece, the only thing remaining of Lucy in the end are her footprints.
5. “I bet you figured I’d pass with the winter”
In The Hunger Games, Katniss emphasizes how hard winters are for the residents of District 12, noting that it’s a season when many people perish. Rodrigo seems to be singing as Lucy taunting Snow in this verse, guessing that he thought the elements would take care of Lucy after she escaped him.
6. “Yeah, sometimes the fire you founded / Don’t burn the way you expect”
In the song’s outro, Rodrigo alludes to one of the most memorable lines in Mockingjay, when Katniss shares an incensed message to President Snow in front of a burning hospital. “Fire is catching. If we burn, you burn down with us,” she says. Rodrigo’s lyric notes how Snow’s actions in the prequel come back to bite him decades later in the Hunger Games trilogy.
7. “But you can’t catch me now”
The song’s title and central lyric come from the final scene of The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, in which Snow chases after Lucy but is unable to catch her.
8. “Yeah, you thought that this was the end”
The final lyric has both meta and narrative impact on the Hunger Games world. The ambiguous ending teases that although Lucy disappeared, her spirit will live on in inspiring the rebellion decades later. It’s also a nod to the fact that the movie is a prequel, so there’s still much more to the saga.