Need a guaranteed way to make your work day feel more intense and important? Try listening to the soundtrack of The Dark Knight Rises, which is now streaming in its entirety at Empire Online. Of course, there's the added bonus of getting an early, audio-only look-- listen?-- at the summer's most anticipated movie, which opens next Friday, July 20 and probably already has people camped outside theaters waiting in line, just because it's the kind of movie people go crazy over.

The first few tracks are embedded below, and you can also click over there to go through the whole thing.







I'm listening to the soundtrack as I write this, and so far it sounds… well, like Hans Zimmer, who has scored the previous two Christopher Nolan Batman movies in addition to giving us the unforgettable Inception BRAAAAANGH. The Dark Knight Rises score includes lots of resonant low chords, repeated quick note progressions that give a sense of urgency, and horn blasts to give that final sense of "Oh shit, something's about to happen." No, that's not the most eloquent way of describing Zimmer's phenomenal work on all of the Batman films, but I'm no music expert, just someone who instinctively knows when I'm listening to ZImmer's work, and who understands how much power he has to make you feel exactly what he and Nolan have in mind.

Beyond just getting a feel for the movie, of course, we can use the soundtrack to try and glean clues about the movie's plot. For example, the third track is called "Gotham Reckoning," which is what Bane calls himself when he arrives to wreak havoc on Batman's city. The fact that the track comes so early in the list indicates that Bane's first full-scale attack on Gotham could come very early in the film-- that football stadium explosion might not be some grand conclusion, but merely Bane's opening volley. I'm totally speculating here-- I haven't seen it, and haven't spoken to anyone who has-- but soundtracks can be interesting keys to learning about a movie, simply by listening.

Take a listen and let me know what you discover. And try and tell me whatever you do today doesn't seem more badass by listening to this.

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