Howard Shore & Metric
Cosmopolis (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
It’s somewhat misleading just to credit Metric for the music on the soundtrack of Cosmopolis, the film adaptation of author Don DeLillo’s 2003 novel. Although the Canadian synth-pop band performed the score, composer Howard Shore—the man responsible for the evocative music of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, among others—wrote the moody instrumentals; in addition, he co-wrote three new Metric tunes on the soundtrack with the band. (Plus, a bewitching trip-hop song from Somali musician K’Naan is even sandwiched near the end of the album.)
Metric’s Cosmopolis originals are very much in line with the apocalyptic, lost-in-space vibe and atmosphere-over-aggression bent of their latest album, Synthetica. “Long To Live” is haunted-mansion synth-pop reminiscent of Blonde Redhead, on which Emily Haines coos like ghost trapped in purgatory. “I Don’t Want To Wake Up” is a study in contrasts: Accessible, Joy Division-on-antidepressants keyboards clash with Haines’ voice, which is stretched and distorted into a thin, nearly indecipherable mew. The effect is desperate, yet somehow oddly uplifting. Better still is the sinewy “Call Me Home,” on which fragile-old-woman whispers add a sinister edge to the dank beats and sewer-creepy electronic effects.
This tune is closest in style to Cosmopolis’ score music. Akin to Nine Inch Nails’ instrumentals, these anxiety-ridden interstitials alternate between eerie silence and insistent beats, muted keyboard crescendos and moments of rock harshness. In Metric’s hands, these already-creepy textures are even more paranoid; they’re the sonic equivalent of feeling you’re being followed by someone, but you aren’t sure who they are—or where they might be.
Alluring and apprehensive, Cosmopolis is an engaging listen. A word of warning for Metric fans, though: The soundtrack’s instrumentals do tend to blend together, so anyone looking for a more structured album—or for more Emily Haines—should instead pick up Synthetica.