Friday, January 28, 2011

AAN: Inception score vs. The Social Network score.

Annual Awards Nerdism: With both of these lovely scores currently on replay on my iPod, I thought it would be interesting to compare the two. Especially because I really cannot decide which one is better. Other people may not think so, but I reckon these two scores are the front runners in the Oscar race, and they also just may be among the best scores of all time.

Inception-Half Remembered Dream

The Social Network-Hand Covers Bruise

Inception opens with some piano 'pings' (as I like to call them) playing while the first studio logos come on, and then it proceeds into a sound that is actually the tune to Edith Piaf's 'Non, je ne regrette rien' extremely slowed down. Its such a clever way to open the movie-and the soundtrack-as the whole thing is infused with tones of 'Non, je ne regrette rien' (probably because it serves as the 'kick'). Within the short track it also has a lot of eerie sounds which contribute to the 'dreaminess' aspect of it, and the second half sees a bit of music which is used throughout most of the movie.
The Social Network, of course, opens with the infamous break up seen, but the titles see 'Hand Covers Bruise' accompany Mark Zuckerberg running to his dorm (it takes a very long time). Trent Reznor says "I liked this noble melody that feels damaged, fraying around the edges with strings in the background. I like the tension, the feeling of falling apart." That is exactly what this track is all about. Its played several times throughout the movie, but I feel its best use is when Eduardo is explaining to Gretchen about how everyone elses shares weren't diluted but his were. Its an interesting track, though some would hardly recognize it as 'music'. Nevertheless, it seems to contribute to the 'betrayal' theme of this movie, somehow.
Winner of this round: The Social Network


The Social Network-Soft Trees Break the Fall

Inception's score ends on a high note, whereas by the time you get to the end of The Social Network's, it has toned down immensely. Another difference the two have is the fact that 'Time' is played during the film and 'Soft Trees Break the Fall' is played after the credits start rolling. All in all, they are both really beautiful tracks, but since I am a long time fan of 'Time', it will always win.
Winner of this round: Inception


The Social Network-In Motion

In Inception's score, 'Mombasa' sticks out like a sore thumb. Everything else is so dreamy and overly dependent on an entire orchestra of strings, whereas this is seems so computerized. Yet it fits the 'reality' aspect of this film quite well, as when Cobb is running from Cobol Engineering in Mombasa, one of the guys says to him "You're not dreaming now, are you?" I guess the bombastic nature of this song seems to add to that statement. This song is probably best used when you are exercising or trying to type really really fast...its like a rush of adrenaline.
The second track in The Social Network's score is 'In Motion', which is used in the scene where Mark retreats to his dorm room and starts bitching about Erica and gathering photos for 'Facemash'. Its one of m favourite tracks, as it doesn't have those eerie themes of betrayal and ambition going with it. Instead, it is a fast and peppy song which conveys a great deal of geekery within it. And, for some reason, it always makes me type really fast or feel like hacking. Not that I know how to do the later.
Winner of this round: The Social Network


The Social Network-Magnetic

'528491', which is the number that is often planted in Fischer's mind throughout the inception stages of his dream, is also the song which corresponds with many of his scenes. We first hear it when we first see Fischer 44 minutes into the film, and it is played quite a few times through the film. Its best use, though, is when Fischer gets shot by Mal and Ariadne comes up with the plan to drag him out of limbo. The song escalates until they find themselves on the shore of their subconscious, where its like the whole song just 'drops' and we hear the famous 'brrrrrrrrrrrrm' again. Its as epic as epic can be!
'Magnetic' is one of my most favourite tracks off The Social Network's score. Its played during the first meeting between Sean and Eduardo and Mark, and boy, does it go with that scene well. You can almost here the disenchantment Eduardo has with Sean swelling around it, but the 'coolness' of Sean is covering it up. Its a pretty hip little song, too.
Winner of this round: Inception (mainly 'coz that song has been my ringtone for months now)


The Social Network-3:14 Every Night

These two tracks have never really gelled with me. 'Pardox', which plays when the van is under the water and everyone is climbing out, just doesn't really reach the heights the rest of the score provides. In saying that, it is a nice bridge between 'Waiting for a Train' and 'Time', and it also serves as a nice entrance to 'Time'. But it just doesn't feel right for me. I have the same feeling with '3:14 Every Night', which plays during the scene where Divya informs the Winklevii about 'The Facebook'. It has such a strange sound going through it, which makes me a little uncomfortable (not in a good way). And it pisses me off a little that there is more piano towards the end of the track. I think that song's a little too sinister for a drama about Facebook.
Winner of this round (the better one out of the two): Inception

Inception-Dream is Collapsing

The Social Network-A Familiar Taste

'Dream is Collapsing' is a song which will be most associated with Inception because of two reasons: it plays a lot during the film and it also the song that cuts into the spinning top, causing a lot of anger. When you listen to this song, its like being thrown straight into a sea of epicness (bad description, I know), so its exactly like watching Inception, just in 2 minutes 24 seconds. I put this as my ringtone once, and it gave each text a purpose. I'm strange like that.
'A Familiar Taste' is the song that plays when 'Facemash' is launched and everyone at Harvard is having a go at it. This track feels very dirty, but it epitomizes what the film has in store. It has those early themes of betrayal, power, greed and drive running rabid through it. I think it will always be remembered for the way it fits to that cleverly edited scene which combines the Phoenix party with the rest of the Harvard system and little old Mark and his buddies being at the centre of it all. Which pretty much sums up the rest of the film, don't you think?
Winner of this round: The Social Network (by a nose).


The Social Network-In the Hall of the Mountain King

Of course, by a landslide, the best track on the Inception score has to be 'Time'. Listen to this song with the headphones in, the volume turned right up and your eyes closed...its fucking amazing. This song deserves an Oscar on its own. Such a thrilling end to an amazing movie.
I realize that 'In the Hall of the Mountain King' isn't exactly original to The Social Network, but the revamp that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross give it is amazing. Its all in the way it zips and zaps. Thank goodness this was the song that accompanied that beautiful regatta scene.
Winner of this round: Inception

The Social Network got 3 votes, but Inception came away with 4, just edging it out.
Hopefully this will be the case at the Oscars.


  1. By far the most original way of comparing the two. I'm trying to word this in such a way that I don't come off as a kiss-ass. Which I kind of am. But also mean it.

    So, play Dream is Collapsing and A Familiar Taste together up until the part where the latter goes all kind of meshes beautifully. I haven't tried with the others, though.

  2. Thanks! And thanks for attempting to sound kiss-ass.
    That is quite a cool mix of songs! Thanks for pointing that out

  3. Great, great review.
    Glad the social network won, never the less.

  4. I like TSN's "Painted Sun In Abstract". Is is great

  5. I still feel that " Waiting for a train " Was an awesome song in In ception. I know that Time is WAAAY better but still waiting for a train is beautiful


You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.


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