Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Bird Box (Original Soundtrack)
(The Null Corporation)
It’s hard to listen without being instantly transported back to the haunting imagery of the film, but the Bird Box Soundtrack also sets such a mood by itself, that it’s perfectly suited to a rainy day or listening in the dark with headphones.
It begins with “Outside,” which is built around a minimal piano melody and then wrapped in layers of ambient drones and disembodied voices. The piano creates a growing sense of sadness about the outside world, while the pent-up tension surrounding it reminds us that outside is no longer safe.
“Looking Forwards and Backwards,” a variation on the same motif, emphasizes the loss of what we knew and of the growing isolation that Malorie (Sandra Bullock) experiences as she struggles to protect her children from this horrifying new world. As we learn more about what led them down the river to a safer place, “Careful What you Wish for” epitomizes the unease we feel every time we get a glimpse of what’s out there and who can or cannot be trusted.
“A Hidden Moment” offers unexpected tenderness in its sparse beauty. In contrast to the gritty drama of “The Social Network,” it’s one of the moments in this soundtrack which is more subtle but still effective. With its shrieking, dissonant synths and slowly building rumbles, this is our reminder that Reznor and Ross are at it again. Their ability to set a mood with even the most stripped-down of arrangements is truly innovative and matches the film’s aesthetic perfectly.