Music Review: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Bones and All

Written by on December 11, 2022

On Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ original score to Luca Guadagnino’s cannibal romance Bones and All, the Nine Inch Nails frontmen provide creepy, moving, powerful, fuzzy and surprisingly acoustic accompaniment to an otherwise overwrought film. My own personal misgivings about the movie aside (great gowns, beautiful gowns), Reznor and Ross’ score stands on its own as a piece with its own story and movements, much like Reznor’s Downward Spiral. Many of the motifs and styles of The Downward Spiral seem to be replicated or echoed in the Bones and All score. For example, songs like Good and Destroyed, as well as Vinegar, feature repeated acoustic strumming, with strange discordant noises overlaid. This seemed very similar to the strumming and noises from Hurt. Meanwhile, the entire Downward Spiral motif, featured several times throughout that album, seems to be repeated in songs like By the Light of the Campfire. Unusually for a Reznor and Ross score project, (You Made It Feel Like) Home features Reznor singing. This is a piano ballad that, when it first started playing in the movie, I genuinely thought was Randy Newman due to how different it was from anything I’d heard in a Nine Inch Nails album. Listening to this song on its own, I like it. However, as part of the film, it only helped contribute to its overly goofy and too-ridiculous-to-be-taken-as-seriously-as-it-wanted-to-be nature. Again, the end of this song seemed to harken back to previous projects with a mild piano reprise of the outro to We’re In This Together.

Overall, Reznor and Ross’ score for Bones and All is a half-relaxing, half-sinister masterpiece with acoustic flourishes, unsettling fuzzy noises, long moments of silence and numerous moments of Nine Inch Nails magic. The score helped accentuate the film’s greatest strength; it’s portrayal of real world America as a calm but empty space. It’s gorgeous cinematography and color palette highlighting the few and far between light places in America’s small towns and the gentle sadness of its citizens.

 

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