Soundtrack Review: THE SOCIAL NETWORK

Allison Loring

by: Allison Loring
October 1st, 2010

Rating: 4.5/5

I think it is safe to say that THE SOCIAL NETWORK has become one of the most buzzed about film releases of the fall, but the film’s soundtrack has been just as hotly anticipated ever since it was announced Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) would be making his first foray into film scoring on the project. Teaming up with composer/producer Atticus Ross (THE BOOK OF ELI), Reznor brings his industrial rock/metal style to the world of film composing. This is not the first time working together for Reznor and Ross as Ross produced and programmed the last four Nine Inch Nails albums (Ghosts I-IV, The Slip).

It makes perfect sense that a film about the digital age and how social media plays into it would have two artists well versed in electronica compose the film’s soundtrack. Both Reznor and Ross clearly make groundbreaking music together their ability to create something new and inventive is showcased here.

Bringing electronic score to a new level, Reznor and Ross combine classic elements, such as piano, with more modern elements like synthesizers. “In the Hall of the Mountain King” is a perfect example of a classical composition infused with foreboding tones and driving percussion to bring the piece to a new level of anxiety. Both artists prove that working with electronic elements is not just something they have an ear for; there is a true sense of genius and enjoyment in each of their pieces.

The score is edgy, but also sad and almost melancholy at times. More than anything, it is layered. You end up hearing or focusing on something different each time you listen. A wall post, a comment, or a text message can be interpreted a thousand different ways without hearing the other person’s tone. Reznor and Ross give us a million different tones, sometimes all converging on one another in a single moment, creating exactly what that confusion of miscommunication can feel like.

I found this to be one of the few soundtracks I have heard recently in which I cannot pin point a single track or two that stood out to me more than the rest. This is a collection in every sense of the word, with each track moving from one to the next purposefully. The solid tone that rings ominously throughout “Hand Covers Bruise, Reprise” is picked up from the end of “Almost Home.” The hum from “It Catches Up With You” rings into the digitized “Intriguing Possibilities.” Each track fits with one another like a puzzle piece and creates the lost art of an actual album rather than a bunch of individual songs.

I am interested to see how these pieces play within the film itself, but the soundtrack alone has more than impressed and inspired me. Although the film has come to be known as “the Facebook movie," the story itself focuses on the timeless themes of friendship, loyalty, greed, and betrayal. These themes just happen to play out over a modern landscape of heightened and digitized social outlets. To that same end, the soundtrack uses classic elements and electrifies them with a modern twist. The world will continue to change and evolve around us as technology changes and evolves whether through computers or synthesizers, but at the end of the day, we will all still be people trying to relate to and communicate with one another. A guitar is a guitar, even if you learn you can amplify its sound. Words are words, whether you say them or type them. The question comes down to – which form of communication or expression ends up being more powerful?

This soundtrack is available through Null.

1. “Hand Covers Bruise”
2. “In Motion”
3. “A Familiar Taste”
4. “It Catches Up With You”
5. “Intriguing Possibilities”
6. “Painted Sun In Abstract”
7. “3:14 Every Night”
8. “Pieces Form the Whole”
9. “Carbon Prevails”
10. “Eventually We Find Our Way”
11. “Penetration”
12. “In the Hall of the Mountain King”
13. “On We March”
14. “Magnetic”
15. “Almost Home’
16. “Hand Covers Bruise, Reprise”
17. “Complication With Optimistic Outcome”
18. “The Gentle Hum of Anxiety”
19. “Soft Trees Break the Fall”

All songs composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Commenting Rules: Comments are intended to open up the discussion to our readers about the topics at hand, and as such should be offered with a positive and constructive attitude. If your comment is not relative to the above post or is disrespectful to the authors and readers, we reserve the right to delete it. Continued abuse of our good nature will result in banishment of the offender. Additionally, if you have any burning issues to point out to the GATW crew - typos, corrections, suggestions, or straight-up criticism - please email us instead of commenting here.

  • Sonic Spectrum

    I don’t normally find myself compelled to listen to movie soundtracks outside of their context of the film, but this one is absolutely an exception. I saw the movie this past Saturday, and I haven’t been able to get the music out of my head, so much so that I had to go and download the tracks and pre-order the CD on As you stated, electronic music as a backdrop to a story about online social communications fits very well, and adds a texture to the movie that would be missing otherwise. The film’s feel owes very much to the score, turning a solid movie into an excellent one.

    • allisonloring

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the soundtrack as well!

  • eq.elias

    I’ve been listening to the soundtracks on loop for weeks now, and still can’t get enough! Reznor and Ross had done a truly amazing job.

  • Recent Post