Given that rock music suffered its worst performing year for 50 years in 2010, there needs to be a new direction for their artists to find success. While most revenue will come via touring, the strain of doing so can take a while to overcome, therefore rock musicians need to find a new way to promote their music. They must just have found that with film scoring.
Fresh off Trent Reznor, of Nine Inch Nails fame, and Atticus Ross’ victory in the Best Original Score Oscar category for The Social Network, it has paved the way for more of rock’s finest to lend their musical talent to films. Their dark and somber theme sets the mood to the film, turning it into a more dramatic and key film, than the talkative tale it had threatened to be. Reznor’s involvement made such an impact, that he will once again team up with director David Fincher, to score the Hollywood remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is released in November.
Alex Turner is putting the return of Arctic Monkeys currently to the back burn, as he is set to release his first solo work on March 16, sound tracking Richard Ayoade’s debut feature film, Submarine. Ayoade, better known as Moss from The IT Crowd, had previously directed music videos for Turner’s band, including ‘Crying Lightning’ and ’Florescent Adolescent’ and the live DVD ‘Arctic Monkeys at the Apollo‘, as well as for Turner’s side-project with Miles Kane, The Last Shadow Puppets. Turner returns the favour with his bittersweet, mellow crooning, a perfect match for the film’s tales of romance and awkwardness, and a million miles away from Turner’s usual sneering and raucous rock band. It even helps that the film’s lead actor, Craig Richards, bears a striking resemblance to him.
Jonny Greenwood, the lead-guitarist for Oxford’s indie rock pioneers Radiohead, is also set to release solo material scoring the film Norwegian Wood. Its light, slow-paced acoustic sound is certainly unlike the new experimental Radiohead album, however this isn’t Greenwood’s first foray into movie sound tracking, as he did 2007’s There Will Be Blood. There, his orchestral sound is never relegated to background of the film, and it plays an integral part in building the film’s atmosphere.
Daft Punk have also been busy scoring, as they recently sound tracked the Disney film ‘Tron: Legacy.’ The French dance-punk duo created a roaring, electronic theme for the movie, which has proved so popular there is a remix album coming out in April, featuring the likes of Moby and Paul Oakenfold.
Whilst these four have been at the forefront, there have been other rock musicians recently getting their sound across through movies. Arcade Fire’s husband and wife duo of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne scored the film The Box in 2009, the guitar work on the Oscar-nominated score for Inception, was none other than Johnny Marr, Badly Drawn Boy did About a Boy and Elliott Smith contributed heavily to Good Will Hunting. It is a more clinical aspect of a film to use musicians to score and soundtrack the movie, as opposed to dumping a few hit songs on a soundtrack, regardless of how affective or relevant they are to the actual movie.
So in the coming years, Hollywood blockbusters could compulsorily include rock musicians writing the soundtrack, alongside their A-lister actors, directors and expensive sets.