Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

There were many things which made the 2010 film The Social Network a success. One of those was the soundtrack. Trent Reznor and English composer Atticus Ross’ score to The Social Network did many things. One, it complimented the film’s drama with arresting musical backdrops. More importantly, however, the score for The Social Network became its own entity. Without crowding the film, Reznor and Ross’ music formed its own identify and ultimately took it somewhere new. The Social Network could have worked without the score yet because of the addition it became something truly exhilarating. Reznor and Ross attempt to do the same thing, which worked so well for The Social Network, in David Fincher’s newest film — The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo.

Along with Reznor and Ross, David Fincher has transported the majority of his principal production crew to a dark world of sexual violence and affluent sadism in The Girl with Dragon Tattoo. Published in 2005, Män som hatar kvinnor (Men Who Hate Women) is a Swedish crime thriller which was compounded by the untimely death of its author Stig Larsson. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (English title) was the first of 3 finished novels which were posthumously published and widely praised by mainstream audiences. The 3 books which make up the “Millennium Series” have already been made into Swedish films 3 years prior. David Fincher attempts to break into this momentary popularity by draping his own gritty yet stylish veil on an already gritty yet stylish subject matter. Along in tow, is Fincher’s two newest friends – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

The score for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has followed the same pattern forged by The Social Network. Before the actual album, came a six song sampler which offered nothing but more excitement for its full arrival. Both soundtracks were released weeks before the movie which only added to the growing hype. I only use The Social Network score as a reference point because the music felt strange and conceptually alienated without its parent film. The Social Network score finally fell into place when backed by emotionally involved scenes detailing the the rise of Facebook. I only use this point in hopes that Reznor and Ross’s score will make more sense when I finally see the movie. For now I am left with a three disc album of ambient anxiety.

Trent Reznor has been progressing in this very direction for years. Reznor, with Nine Inch Nails, has been experimenting with dark ambient work since the release of The Fragile in 1999. In 2008, Nine Inch Nails released Ghosts 1-IV, a four disc instrumental record, to a wave of underrated praise. Ghosts I- IV would be the raw material later refined by Reznor following the dissolution of the Nine Inch Nails project. The score for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo follows in the same tradition as Ghosts I – IV. For one, it is incredibly long and intimidating. Just shy of 174 minutes, Reznor and Ross’ soundtrack attempts to extinguish the remaining embers of empathy — and patience.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an extremely advanced soundtrack. Its highlights and momentary hooks are buried deep within 6 minute tracks, flanked by piano dissonance and ambient terror. Listening to the entire record, in one sitting, becomes a monumental task. I can not see how this soundtrack could fit practically in anyone’s life. Unless someone is inadvertently traveling into the catacombs of human depravity, I fail to see how this score would be a service. I would be lying if I said I was entertained through the entire album. I would also be lying If I said I wasn’t intrigued for 174 minutes.

Much like The Social Network the sounds on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo feel orphaned without its visual parents. When listening to this album, I became sidetracked and watched icicles fall from a 600 foot radio tower. The subsequent experience was sublime and terrifying. I can only imagine what the future will hold when I get to spend my holiday season in a psychological well of terror and tension.

Post Script: An acquaintance of mine has recently brought to attention the fact that Trent Reznor composed a dark ambient soundtrack for the 1996 video game “Quake.” I certainly want to keep my facts straight as the Quake soundtrack not only predates the Fragile release but it is a stronger predecessor to Reznor’s current soundtrack work. I want to thank Onslaught Six for bringing this to my attention — now if he would kindly stop staring at me from the street outside my house, it would be much appreciated.

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Tracklist


Immigrant Song
She Reminds Me Of You
People Lie All The Time
Pinned And Mounted
What If We Could?
With The Flies
Hidden In Snow
A Thousand Details
One Particular Moment
I Can’t Take It Anymore
How Brittle The Bones
Please Take Your Hand Away


Cut Into Pieces
The Splinter
An Itch
Under The Midnight Sun
You’re Here
The Same As The Others
A Pause For Reflection
While Waiting
The Seconds Drag
Later Into The Night
Parallel Timeline With Alternate Outcome


Another Way Of Caring
A Viable Construct
Revealed In The Thaw
We Could Wait Forever
Great Bird Of Prey
The Heretics
A Pair Of Doves
The Sound Of Forgetting
Of Secrets
Is Your Love Strong Enough?

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo , reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2011-12-17T06:33:31-08:00 rating 3.2 out of 5

2 Responses about “Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

  • J says:

    I appreciate the info, but your writing needs work. As with most bloggers who operate without an editor, some polish is needed to clearly convey your thoughts. You are using some words incorrectly and many sentence structures need to be streamlined to better convey meaning. I’m not complaining, just pointing out.

  • Thanks for reading. I’ll take the criticism but for now I’ll sit crying with my MLA Style Manual.