Album Review: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: Original Soundtrack'

19 January 2012 | 4:44 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Dark, moody and above all brilliant.

Anyone who ever listened to the Nine Inch Nails Ghosts I-IV record, which was made with Atticus Ross, could tell that soundtracks would be a natural progression for those involved. The team of NIN’s Trent Reznor and Ross had a knack for creating atmospheric landscapes that had a very unique but particular sound about them, and Reznor, tired from touring with his main act, was aching for some sort of new musical creative platform.

Whether they knew they would excel at it or not (winning an Oscar for their first soundtrack outing on David Fincher’s ‘The Social Network’) the duo were always going to be a perfect match for Fincher’s dark and abrasive form of filmmaking. Back for round two, the pair tackle Fincher’s version of the highly acclaimed ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,’ the first story in the ‘Millennium Trilogy.’

If awards were given for trailers, the film would win them all, thanks greatly in part to the first track taken from the three disc set. Reznor and Ross give Led Zepplin’s Immigrant Song a re-work with vocals provided by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s leading lady, Karen O. The result is a mechanical, intense, frenzied version that rivals the original with a fast paced beat and truly epic guitar layers.

The rest of the soundtrack takes a minimalist approach to creating a mood which suits the images and feel of the film perfectly. Obviously the music makes more sense when seen in conjunction with the visuals it was created for, but those in favour of ambient yet mechanical sounds created by subtle drum patterns, keyboards and all the weird and wonderful noises that Reznor seems to have an endless catalogue of, will enjoy this journey into an eerie darkness.

The final track follows the opening song’s lead, book ending the instrumentals with another rock song by Reznor and Atticus’s other project How To Destroy Angels. Is Your Love Strong Enough? plays over the film’s closing credits and keeps up the creepy factor with a ballad style song led by vocalist Mariqueen Maandig’s soft, yet powerful voice.

Reznor is a natural when it comes to creating soundtracks. You need look no further than records like Nine Inch Nails' brilliant 'The Fragile' to see that the ability to create powerful landscapes and extreme dynamics have been present in his music for a long time. Couple that with the equally talented and minded Ross, and the people at the Oscars can start engraving the trophy name plates the minute that these guys fire up the computers in their studio. 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' may or may not be a front runner for film of the year already, but as far as movie scores go, we already have the winner.

  1. Immigrant Song
  2. She Reminds Me of You
  3. People Lie All the Time
  4. Pinned and Mounted
  5. Perihelion
  6. What If We Could?
  7. With the Flies
  8. Hidden in Snow
  9. A Thousand Details
  10. One Particular Moment
  11. I Can’t Take It Anymore
  12. How Brittle the Bones
  13. Please Take Your Hand Away
  14. Cut Into Pieces
  15. The Splinter
  16. An Itch
  17. Hypomania
  18. Under the Midnight Sun
  19. Aphelion
  20. You’re Here
  21. The Same as the Others
  22. A Pause for Reflection
  23. While Waiting
  24. The Seconds Drag
  25. Later Into the Night
  26. Parallel Timeline With Alternate Outcome
  27. Another Way of Caring
  28. A Viable Construct
  29. Revealed in the Thaw
  30. Millennia
  31. We Could Wait Forever
  32. Oraculum
  33. Great Bird of Prey
  34. The Heretics
  35. A Pair of Doves
  36. Infiltrator
  37. The Sound of Forgetting
  38. Of Secrets
  39. Is Your Love Strong Enough?