In years past, I’d grown increasingly displeased with Trent Reznor’s music. The final Nine Inch Nails album was largely phoned in, to be perfectly honest. The How to Destroy Angels EP was fantastic if you’ve ever wondered what Nine Inch Nails would sound like with a female lead. The Social Network soundtrack promised a glimmer of hope but I immediately let down as Reznor spent the whole time walking on eggshells.
“But Jeff, the Social Network soundtrack won an Oscar.”
So did Eminem. I rest my case.
After what I felt to be a poor decision in playing a Led Zepplin cover during the opening credits, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opens up and delivers a compelling combination of sight and sound. It became immediately evident to me that Reznor was taking more chances with his music this time around. Instead of having to endure subdued electronica like the Social Network soundtrack, this time we’re treated to a whole host of fascinating timbres that add an indispensible element to the film. Reznor has proved that he’s not just some guy who was allowed to do a soundtrack. He’s a bona fide composer.
While Reznor’s soundtrack compliments the movie beautifully, what’s even more impressive is that the music is fully capable of standing on its own. That alone is a breath of fresh air. For too long, we’ve been living with soundtracks written to satisfy directors and producers. We’ve had to put up with this drivel that makes for a decent movie-going experience but makes for pure dog shit once you put the headphones on and listen to it. Not this one. This music is a treat to listen to on its own.
This is a new breed of soundtrack. Even if you have no interest in the film, at least give the score a listen.
Jeff Higgins is the founder of Groove Sandwich. He is frequently confused with Daniel Craig.