“Facebook stinks. When I heard about ‘Facebook: The Movie’ the first thing I thought was: Ugh.” This exercise in point-blank sincerity is from Trent Reznor, the co-author, along with Atticus Ross, of the soundtrack to “The Social Network”; this is, as even inhabitants of other space-time dimensions know, the film about Facebook (which opens today in the UK). It’s a film where nobody dies, nobody is shot at, and there isn’t even anybody shut up in a basement. It’s a fairly bright film, really, if you keep in mind that the author of the songs in the score has his seat reserved in the Club of the Dark Men who Love the Shadows and who, another time, bought the house where Charles Manson skinned Polanski’s wife to compose in because it “inspired” him. It’s a truly brilliant film for the author of the (incredible) soundtrack to David Lynch’s “Lost Highway”, in which one guy transmutes into another while he is waiting in his cell on death row. So then why is Trent Reznor composing the soundtrack for a film that is... normal? Probably because it is directed by David Fincher –who is another great dark, sinister, twisted person– and because everything that Facebook implies has an ultra-gloomy background (from a practical, spiritual, and even ethical point of view) that only a musician and person like him (who is repelled by so many things) is able to capture.
Trent Reznor and David Fincher had already worked together –a remix of “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails is played in “Se7en” and Fincher directed “Only”, one of the (worst) NIN videos. Fincher has confessed that in the beginning, he wanted something like the kind of thing in John Hughes films for the soundtrack. Trent Reznor had a little fit and asked him for some time to create what he thought the score should be, with Atticus Ross. David Fincher says that he approved it right away, and he didn’t ask for any changes in the songs that Reznor and Ross had given him. Although it sounds like an absurd fairytale of happiness and satisfaction, it seems right: the soundtrack of “The Social Network” is very good. There is nothing orchestral. Perfect. It’s all electronic, incredibly inspiring–those song titles that are so NIN, like “Hand Covers Bruise” or “The Gentle Hum of Anxiety”– and it has touches that are absolutely techno freaky and brilliant: the air of the 8-bit console that there is in songs like “In Motion” – you can kind of hum parts of “Super Mario”! The rest is very close to the dark ambient of “Ghosts”, one of the latest overambitious (and completely instrumental) works that Reznor did with the name of Nine Inch Nails, and in which Ross also collaborated. Another great moment: the crazy version of “In the Hall of the Mountain King”, the classic 19th-century piece “Peer Gynt” (Edvard Grieg), which, according to Reznor, almost cost him a divorce because of how many times he had to listen to the original at home. And another: the music that is playing in a scene with a regatta (the only moment of “action” as such in the film), so absorbing and so perfect that it could exist outside of and separately from the film, in the form of a video clip. As David Fincher so suitably and rhetorically asked, “Musically, who can speak better than Trent Reznor about innovation, technology, and communication?” That’s it.
Marta Hurtado de Mendoza
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - Social Network by Some Kind of Awesome