The first time I ever saw the album, I didn't even know Trent Reznor's name. I was young and angsty and browsing a small record shop near my childhood home when I came across a bright blue and pink album titled Pretty Hate Machine.
Soon "Head Like a Hole," the album's bitingly nihilistic single, became my anthem. Of course, this was the early aughts, about 12 years after that album debuted, so it wasn't long until I moved onto The Downward Spiral and then The Fragile after that.
So in a way, I grew up with Trent Reznor's music, and now his cold ambience and industrial metal have begun infiltrating film—and I couldn't be happier about it. Dabbling in a few projects earlier in his career, Trent Reznor partnered up with Atticus Ross in 2010 to create amazing musical accompaniments. So amazing in fact, that his first work with Ross, The Social Network, secured him an Academy Award. Their next score, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, also received film nominations and won a Grammy. Clearly, the partnership is working.
Now, almost a week away from its theatrical release, tracks are popping up on the web from Ross and Reznor's upcoming collabfor David Fincher's Gone Girl. You can listen to two separate songs, each pulled from a different website. The first is posted on Tumblr as extracted audio from the film's dedicated page. It sounds like an incredibly creepy lullaby, yet its still reminiscent of some of Reznor's more emotional tracks. Its title, "Mixdown," suggests that this could actually be a medley of songs strung together. The second, and my personal favorite, is posted on Nine Inch Nails' front page and is absolutely incredible. Opening with ringing bells and breaking down into a structured cacophony of electric beeps and mechanical sounds, this track has a sense of urgency and anxiety.
And that's kind of the point. According to Consequence of Sound, here was Fincher's guiding principle to making the soundtrack as told by Reznor:
Think about the really terrible music you hear in massage parlors. The way that it artificially tries to make you feel like everything's OK. And then imagine that sound starting to curdle and unravel.
It would seem Reznor and Ross are pioneering the curdled massage parlor music genre.
For me, there are very few composers who can sell a film. John Williams is one. Hans Zimmer and Johnny Greenwood would be a couple others. I think it's time I officially add Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to the list. Gone Girl's soundtrack will most likely be available when the film premieres October 3rd. Until then, listen to the duo's previous masterpieces in anticipation. [Spotify]
Update: Now you can listen to the whole album in full @NPR