Goe On: ‘Dragon Tattoo’ will bear out genius of Trent Reznor

Trent Reznor first scared the beans out of me in 1989.

I was watching the disturbing, raw video for “Closer” as a 7-year-old in my friend’s basement.

Thanks to Nine Inch Nails, one of my earliest memories of MTV is of a monkey crucifix and a releasing heart valve.

Twenty-two years and several counseling sessions later, Reznor is haunting me once again, and this time I like it.

You’d think after multiple Grammy awards with Nine Inch Nails and an Academy Award for Best Original Score for “The Social Network,” Reznor would be ready for a break.


In full on EGOT mode, Reznor is again collaborating with pal Atticus Ross and director David Fincher for a movie score, this time for the hotly anticipated movie “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

When you sit down to watch “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” remember: Love is that moment when your heart is about to burst.

That line, paraphrased from author Stieg Larsson’s book, perfectly exemplifies Reznor’s music. The score is frantic, calculating and unsettling at times, but it hits you square in the chest and forces you to feel.

I can’t get around the excellent cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs wails on the near perfect cover.

The anxious drum beat matches the discomforting tone of the Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and possibly is the exact beats per minute of a heart about to explode.

The full movie score features 39 songs, most of which I would categorize as ambient horror. The music itself is not scary, but when placed within the context of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” it transforms into an engulfing dark mass of audio.

One departure on the score is an updated cover of Bryan Ferry’s “Is Your Love Strong Enough?” The song, which first appeared in Ridley Scott’s “Legend,” gets the Reznor update.

Stripped of its 1980’s glory, “Is Your Love Strong Enough?” has become an industrial rock power ballad featuring lead vocals from Mariqueen Maandig, Reznor’s wife.

One thing is clear after listening to the soundtrack. Reznor is the absolute perfect person to score the film.

Several themes underscore Larsson’s trilogy, one being violence. Reznor is one of the few musicians willing to explore dark themes and has enough talent and cross-over appeal to pull it off, making it palatable for mass consumption.

As daunting a task scoring a movie must be, Reznor is not even close to taking a break. His current band, How to Destroy Angels, drops a new album in 2012 and its rumored it will play several live shows. Reznor also hinted he will spend a large portion of next year writing material for a new Nine Inch Nails release.

Growing up, I didn’t understand the full appeal of Nine Inch Nails.

The NIN sticker is as ubiquitous as the Dead Head stickers, saying something about Nine Inch Nails’ immensely loyal fan base.

In my defense, I was probably too young to get on board.

Now I understand: Reznor is genius. The noisescapes from “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” prove it.

David Goe is a programmer for KAFM 88.1 Community Radio. His show airs at 9 p.m. the first Friday and first Saturday of each month. You can email Goe at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow him on Twitter at @David_Goe.


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