Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo soundtrack

I have to confess I am not a fan of Trent Reznor. I never understood the appeal of his music back in the height of NIN's popularity in the mid to late '90s. Still don't to this very day. I did not care much for his work on the soundtrack to the Social Network film but then again I never did see the movie nor have any interest. That would change when I went to see the David Fincher adaptation of Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo right before Christmas (yeah, a real feel good movie of the season...lol).

Much to my surprise, I enjoyed the film. It wasn't flawless by all means. I take umbrage to the inclusion of particular parts of The Girl Who Played With Fire (which was really dumb since Sony announced that it would put film versions of the book as well as The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest despite the poor box office showings).

As for the film score, I will have to admit Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross created a top notch film score. I think the reason I enjoyed the score so much was because I had seen the film therefore understood the music itself. The soundtrack is split into 3 discs. First disc just clocks in over an hour while the other 2 discs clock under an hour. The majority of the music is quiet, minimalistic ambient music but it does have some not so quiet moments like "Immigrant Song". I think the reasons for having a minimalistic film score is because David Fincher did not want the music to distract the moviegoer which often happens in many films nowadays, and also because the story is so dark and bleak, the music had to embody that same nature. David Fincher definitely picked the right guy (i.e Trent Reznor) to compose the score for his film.

The soundtrack kicks off with the blistering cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" featuring Karen O. of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Trent Reznor. Initially I wasn't too crazy about the song but when I saw the film and how it started off with this track, I quickly grew to love it. One of my favorite quieter tracks is track #6 "What If We Could?". The hauntingly sparse piano melodies just gives me the chills. As someone who really isn't into minimal ambient music, Trent and Atticus's work is surprisingly not dull and monotonous as I tend to see in this genre of music. The music certainly isn't easy listening for sure. The repetitive droning is often unsettling and eerie ideal for the film. I do think 3 discs is simply 2 too many. I felt this 3 cd soundtrack was ambitious and self-indulgent on Trent and Atticus' part. I do love how the soundtrack finishes with a cover of Bryan Ferry's "Is Your Love Strong Enough?" by Trent's current band How to Destroy Angels. Overall I am glad I bought the soundtrack. 

The music really does capture the essence of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (US version). I do though recommend seeing the film first before buying the soundtrack. You will really get a better understanding of the music and how it relates to the film.

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