Following the first two volumes, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have just one-third of their Watchmen soundtrack left to reveal. The final act is shaping up to be quite a different experience, as first hinted at by the lounge ballad “The Way It Used to Be” and substantiated by a surprising new sample: an instrumental cover of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars”.
The reinterpretation appeared in the seventh episode of the HBO series, “An Almost Religious Awe”, which aired this past Sunday. A full version has now come online, and it’s an appropriately haunting rendition. Subtle piano notes play the familiar melody alone until the “chorus” hits with a swell of synthesizers. At first, they appear to be a twinkling addition to the track, but they slowly take on a more ominous tone as it builds towards a dramatic conclusion. Take a listen below.
This isn’t the first brush with Bowie for Reznor and Ross. Nine Inch Nails served as the opening act for Bowie’s 1995 “Outside Tour” and later collaborated on the Earthling track “I’m Afraid of Americans”. During their most recent tour, NIN covered both “I’m Afraid of Americans” and the ★ (Blackstar) cut “I Can’t Give Everything Away”.
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Watchman: Vol. 3 is out December 16th. The full OST is said to span 39 tracks, which means the forthcoming collection will presumably consist of 11 songs. Pre-orders are available along with the first two volumes via NIN’s website. While you’re at it, you can also pre-order their recently announced deluxe reissue of their 2005 album, With Teeth.