After receiving many awards for the “The Social Network” soundtrack Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are back with yet another soundtrack, this time for “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”. Spanning three CDs with almost three hours of music, this album isn’t easy listening and the fact that it actually is a mostly dark ambient and industrial soundtrack might scare some readers already. Although it indeed needs a lot of time and attention to reveal all of its finer detail and beauty, people who dismiss it too easily will all miss out on a truly brilliant album.
Only the first and last tracks are actual songs – and cover versions, too. The album begins with a fast and heavy rendition of the Led Zeppelin classic ‘Immigrant Song’ and ends with a dark wave version of Bryan Ferry‘s ‘Is Your Love Strong Enough?’ However, the tracks in-between are what it’s all about. From single piano sounds to loud drones, from slow string layers to full-blown electro-industrial madness – there isn’t much that Reznor and Ross have left out. Even the tracks themselves aren’t just short ideas compiled on a few discs with often is the case of soundtracks. No, they all also make sense without the film to back them up. Sound-wise the album is state-of-the-art, with a crystal clear production that makes it a real treat for one’s ears.
It’s hard to highlight any of the best songs because it is the concept as a whole that makes the album so good. Sometimes it resembles the quiet moments of Nine Inch Nails‘ “The Fragile” album, other times it seems to be closer to Brian Eno. But in the end the two composers simply take all the incorporated genres a little step further near perfection.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross‘ “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” soundtrack doesn’t just support the film – it creates a fantastic and haunting atmosphere that goes way beyond the moving pictures. This isn’t background music at all. It’s a most impressive sonic journey in its own right.