Today's November 4th, and you know what that means: it's "Watchmen Soundtrack Vol. One Release Day", a day we have been looking forward to since...well, since we found out that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' outstanding Watchmen score would be rolling out on vinyl (in three separate volumes!) over the course of the next few months.
Of course the arrival of any new Reznor/Ross project is worth celebrating, but this one's particularly exciting: the pair's score is one of Watchmen's key selling features (demand after the first episode was such that HBO saw fit to release the premiere's closing-credits track a day or two after the episode aired); the work these guys are doing on the show ranks among the best they've ever produced, which is saying something.
Anyway, we were lucky enough to obtain a copy of the Watchmen: Vol. One soundtrack this morning, and figured y'all might appreciate a look inside. Let's see what we can see...
So, right off the bat: in classic Reznor/Ross tradition, the packaging on Watchmen: Vol. One is top-notch - in a nod to the show's burgeoning mythology, the album's been designed to look like a release from Sons of Pale Horse, the in-universe band that took inspiration from Rorschach's journal. That the album would be presented this way is very clever, and a big win for my Twitter pal Dave Gonzalez, who just last week was theorizing that this might be precisely the angle they'd take with the first album's release. They didn't quite go to the trouble of producing an actual Sons of Pale Horse album (which, given the band's fictional popularity with white supremacists, probably would've been a Bad Idea), but Dave absolutely nailed the presentation. I suggest you follow Dave on Twitter on the off-chance that he figures out the next two Watchmen soundtrack drops before they occur.
Alright, so, this is the front cover! As you can see, the intention here was to create the illusion of a Sons of Pale Horse album, and they've definitely achieved that. The red imprint, meant to mirror Rorschach's mask, has a glossy sheen to it. Very cool.
The backside features an actual track listing for the album, which includes such hits as "moloch (i fought the law)" and "locked up in here with me". Down there at the bottom, there's a handful of credits, which include a note about an Iggy Pop sample being used on "the end is night (suite)". If you handed this album to someone who didn't know better, they'd probably take it at face value.
Pull out the disc inside and you find this sleeve, which features some of Rorschach's ramblings. The first side reads "Regret nothing. Lived life free from compromise...and step into the shadow. now without complaint". On the other side: "This relentless world / there is only one sane response to it." Yup, that definitely sounds like the Rorschach we all know and love.
Each side of the album reflects Rorschach's mask, which is also a cool touch.
Then there's this insert, which offers further information about the history of Sons of Pale Horse...and the eventual falling out they had with their own hateful fanbase. This insert is four pages long (above are the first and last page), but if you open those images in a new tab and zoom in, you'll get the gist.
Worth noting here: on that first page, there's a reference to "The Nine Inch Nails" (which may or may not be a cheeky nod to the band's introduction on Twin Peaks: The Return, Episode 8); on the last page, Rorschach's fans are specifically referred to as "dude bros", which is just delightful.
And, finally, here's a cool little card that came with the press edition of the album.
It features a clarification on the album's actual track listing, and also includes a fun little message that I have to assume was written by Reznor/Ross (it's certainly got that unmistakable ring to it). All in all, it's a helluva package; if this is the level of meta hijinks that Reznor, Ross and Lindelof are planning to bring to these releases, fans are in for a major treat.
As previously reported, you can purchase Watchmen: Vol. Two and Three via Amazon even as we speak (unfortunately, it appears that Vol. One is currently sold out). So far, we're hyped about how they're handling this release, and can't wait to see what the next two volumes look like; as several people have pointed out, Vol. Two looks like it may feature Hooded Justice on the cover, which'd be fitting for the episodes that lie ahead.
Stay tuned for more on Watchmen and the ongoing release of its soundtrack as further updates become available.