Exploring Soundtracks: The Social Network

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Welcome back to another installment of Exploring Soundtracks. For the past several weeks, we’ve been combing through the films of David Fincher. So far, we’ve looked at “Seven”, “The Game”, “Fight Club”, “Panic Room”, “Zodiac”, and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”.

In every film he has worked on, David Fincher shows care and attention to the impact the soundtrack has on the overall film. But mostly, he does this by picking the right composers to work with. Ones who know what he’s after, and can deliver. Two examples that come to mind are when he brought on the Dust Brothers to score “Fight Club”, and Alexandre Desplat for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”.

Once again, Fincher’s judgement was spot on for “The Social Network”. To compose the score, he turned to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, musicians, composers, and members of the band Nine Inch Nails.

Synopsis

“The Social Network” follows the story of Harvard undergrad Mark Zuckerberg (Jessie Eisenberg), as the pet project he begins working on grows into the global social network, Facebook. Six years later, Zuckerberg is one of the youngest billionaires ever, but pays the cost with both personal and legal complications. He ends up dealing with two lawsuits, one involving his former friend (Andrew Garfield). Based on the book, “The Accidental Billionaires”.

The Social Network

While it may seem strange to have Trent Reznor composing a score for a movie about Facebook, the choice proved more appropriate than puzzling. For thirty years, he’s been making dark, abrasive records full of alienation and anxiety. Reznor’s music acts as the perfect backdrop for the character of Mark Zuckerberg. The isolated genius who only wanted to connect with people, and let that urge carry him forward into deep and murky waters.

With the help of Atticus Ross, Trent Reznor created a dark and contemplative score that bleeds through the every frame of “The Social Network”. All of it falls under the umbrella of grand, industrialized rock. Some of the more contemplative tracks feature nothing more than backing drones and minimalist piano. Other tracks like, “In Motion” crank up the energy and serve as background music while Zuckerberg hacks away.

One of the more astonishingly creepy and moody tracks is a synth-powered version of Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King”. The track starts off low and ominous as the Winklevoss’s compete in a rowing race, but quickly builds to a hauntingly frantic pace that puts a punctuation mark on the twins’ loss.

Final Thoughts

The soundtrack for “The Social Network” created by Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor is everything that you’d want from a dark drama in the digital age. Full of scratchy bass tones, electronic blips, and modulating synths, it manages to sustain an air of eerie tension throughout the film. It’s an album that balances a beautiful minimalism with carefully placed scratches, buzzes, and squeaks to amplify the sense of dread and anxiety that underscores every frame.

It also makes for good background music while studying, for all you college students out there. While you’re listening, try not to let it inspire you to be more like Zuckerberg.

That about wraps up our discussion of the soundtrack for “The Social Network”. Next time, we’ll look at Fincher’s next film, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”.

Track List

  1. “Hand Covers Bruise” – 4:18
  2. “In Motion” – 4:56
  3. “A Familiar Taste” – 3:35
  4. “It Catches Up With You” – 1:39
  5. “Intriguing Possibilities” – 4:24
  6. “Painted Sun In Abstract” – 3:29
  7. “3:14 Every Night” – 4:03
  8. “Pieces Form The Whole” – 4:16
  9. “Carbon Prevails” – 3:53
  10. “Eventually We Find Our Way” – 4:17
  11. “Penetration” – 1:14
  12. “In The Hall Of The Mountain King” (Edvard Grieg) – 2:21
  13. “On We March” – 4:14
  14. “Magnetic” – 2:10
  15. “Almost Home” – 3:33
  16. “Hand Covers Bruise, Reprise” – 1:52
  17. “Complication With Optimistic Outcome” – 3:19
  18. “The Gentle Hum Of Anxiety” – 3:53
  19. “Soft Trees Break The Fall” – 4:44

 

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