Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo


4.0
excellent

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
December 21st, 2011 | 129 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A perfect companion piece to David Fincher's dark and moody film; "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is a cold, bleak, and otherworldy beast of a soundtrack that is a challenging and absorbing piece of music overall.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a bleak, dark, and winding tale with no clear form or reason; a story with several climaxes and resolutions, acting as an emotionally exhausting labyrinth of convoluted storytelling. The first half is an extended introduction that takes its time getting to the point, while the latter part make up for it with a confounding and large amount of plot, subplot, and frenzied action that somehow makes sense when all is said and done. As a film, it’s somewhat disjointed and confusing; chaotic and sparse with unclear motives and events that come off as oddly translated and unevenly placed. Despite the multiple tracks in which the story rides, it’s held together by one indispensable force: the music of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Now it seems a bit heavy handed to put so much praise into the effectiveness of a soundtrack, but it’s truly marvelous what the duo of musicians have done here. Teaming up once more, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross-who previously worked on 2010’s critically acclaimed, Oscar winning The Social Network-have crafted the perfect companion piece to David Fincher’s dark and haunting re-imagining of The Girl With the Tattoo. The music on this nearly three hour behemoth is staggeringly consummate for the film, which is a biting and often times disturbing depiction of the ugliness of humanity, especially in regards to violence against women. Cold and ethereal, Reznor and Ross’ score matches the frigid and desolate wintry landscape of Sweden, all while fitting perfectly with the brokenness of the characters who reside there.

Somewhere within the depths of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo lies some of Reznor and Ross’ most humanistic music to date. Falling somewhere between Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts I-IV, and the duo’s previous collaboration, the soundtrack sounds terrifying and edgy, but largely eerily beautiful and mesmerizing. Tracks like “Hidden in the Snow” evoke a feeling of isolation, met with a feeling of dread and urgency. The panging strings chime with an uneasy tone, while the throbbing, mellow bass only furthers the unsettling atmosphere. This is where the soundtrack truly shines; creating an uncompromisingly dense and absorbing atmosphere that draws the listener into a menacing and gorgeous world of keys, samples, strings, and electronics.

It’s rather difficult to pin down the exact technical way to accurately describe The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, as within its long runtime, the music makes radical shifts in tone and influence, and it makes them very, very often. The sounds range from industrial to drone, with ambient, dark ambient, and techno all making their appearances as well. It works, however, as the overall feeling and presentation is shockingly cohesive. Never once does that pitch perfect companionship of the film’s aesthetic and the music’s tone ever break. It’s impressive, really, that the musicians behind the score were able to make a massive, varied record that is always so uncompromisingly ingenious in regards to what the film tries to get across.

However, it goes without saying that listening to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a massive undertaking, ambitious for even the most dedicated music listeners. It also must be said that the soundtrack works most effectively when paired with the film. Alone, the pieces are small pockets of atmospheric, absorbing music. Combined with the visceral and haunting film, the soundtrack then becomes something quite different. It’s easy to appreciate the creativity and sonic manipulations found here, but as a standalone listen, the score for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo feels a tad bit lacking without it’s visual companion.

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have really hit one out of the park with this masterful work, combining the excellence of two musical minds into one, brilliantly cohesive package. The soundtrack takes what was so exceptional about The Social Network, and expands it beyond imagination. The cold and bleak landscapes the music creates are unfathomably unique in their effectiveness, actually managing to be an integral part of the overall experience. Soundtracks like this one rarely come along, speaking volumes of the always magnificent music of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 21st 2011


10614 Comments


I've been slowly but surely warming up to this ever since I first heard it. After seeing it with the film (which was good, albeit not great), I couldn't help but change my feelings toward it. Rarely does a soundtrack fit so stunningly perfect with a visual companion.

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Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 21st 2011


31375 Comments


For some reason I knew you would review this

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

Rev
December 21st 2011


9437 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review man


you should include that The Social Network soundtrack scored them an Oscar, cause which whether or not you like them, it's still considered a big deal

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 21st 2011


10614 Comments


Omg seriously? That's the third time you've guessed a review of mine. Either I've got to become less predictable, or you need to get out of my head lol.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 21st 2011


31375 Comments


that takes it’s time getting to the point


*its

haunting re-imaging


*re-imagining

make a massive, several genre spanning record


This reads really awkwardly

lacking without it’s visual companion.


*its

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have really hit one out of the park with this one,


One one one one one

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 21st 2011


10614 Comments


Yea I really needed to have re-read this. It's 2:30 am where I'm at. Bad idea lol.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 21st 2011


10614 Comments


Fixed. Thank you dev!

foxblood
December 21st 2011


6797 Comments


whoa interesting review

BassDemon333
December 21st 2011


3410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a monstrous soundtrack and its amazing. Great review btw.

Digging: Slipknot - .5: The Gray Chapter

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 21st 2011


31375 Comments


Maybe it's just me but I actually like how this review looks; how the long tracklist kinda frames it off rather than letting it spill out towards the end

Manic_
December 21st 2011


447 Comments


good review, i didn't realize the soundtrack was gonna be so long, gonna wait to see the movie before I get this though.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
December 21st 2011


6487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Have to see the movie, Fincher is great!

Digging: Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
December 21st 2011


6487 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Artistic vision of the director?

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
December 21st 2011


22014 Comments


I could have sworn there was already an american remake of this film but maybe I'm just losing it

Digging: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib - Pinata

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 21st 2011


16463 Comments


Did I ever mention that you review awesome material?

Nice write-up, I haven't listened to this in full but I have enjoyed it in bits and pieces.

Digging: Zella Day - Zella Day

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
December 21st 2011


7363 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I need to hear this

defjaw83
December 21st 2011


1772 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

im just saying shes fucking supposed to be hot


Dude, whether she looks hot or not would be at the bottom of a list of priorities for this character. Plus, Rooney Mara is smoking anyway, they've just made her quite feral in the movie to suit her character's backstory. Now shut the fuck up

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

asaf
December 21st 2011


888 Comments


great review. pos'

BallsToTheWall
December 21st 2011


44669 Comments


Dont need to see this movie to know Noomi Rapace > Rooney Mara


But then again I could be suprised. Maybe Rooney will be good as LiSBETH.

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith

defjaw83
December 21st 2011


1772 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Apparently she is very good. Would be a tough ask to be as good as Noomi Rapace, but as long as it's a different take on the character I'll be happy enough



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