Friday, August 30, 2013

Nine Inch Nails- Hesitation Marks

I really don't like to go negative on things. It's not because I'm so fragile that I cannot stand debate, it's because I don't see the point. That sucks, I hate it, so what? There are hundreds of new things being released every day- new video, audio, written, and painted works- there's so much to enjoy, why spend extra time on something you don't like? You learned what you needed to learn, now move on, right?
Well, I'm going to be upfront- I've heard the new Nine Inch Nails CD, and I didn't like it. Three things ruin whatever good might be on it. First, The awful drum sound. Synthetic drums, yeah, I get it, but these are really bad- tinny, tiny fake handclaps and casio preset snares abound. It sounds so awful I can barely hear anything else. It's really a let down, as Alan Moulder is one of my favorite producers precisely for the great drum sounds he can generate- listen to Curve's "Gift" and tell me that the drums don't make the songs. Secondly, I'm just not a fan of Trent's vocals. He sounds like the worst parts of Morrisey and Billy Joel to me. Nothing he can do for me there. Just a matter of taste. But by far my biggest problem is just how cynical and contemptuous the whole affair is. Here's a guy who had money rolling in from soundtrack work, and could indulge in his Arty fantasies with his wife, no less. So, why revive Nine Inch Nails? Seriously the only reason I can think of is because he wants to be a rock star in the most sold-out, cynical audience hating way. I haven't forgotten his stance. But, seriously- think it through- why isn't this called "Trent Reznor- Hesitation Marks"  ?  The lyrics aren't the same, the music isn't the same, many of the musicians aren't the same. The answer comes back loud and clear- marketing. People know Nine Inch Nails. Then, you add to it that little bit of condescension about releasing an "audiophile" version, as a download, if you buy it from his website. So, you fight against loudness by releasing an MP3? Even if you have only a little understanding of audio, that's bullshit on the face of it- the problem with loudness is compression- you have to compress the lower and higher frequencies so's you can fatten up the middle, essentially. So, to combat that you'll put it out on a yet-more compressed format? Here's my "alternate take"- he knew that becoming a major label apologist would lose some core fans. So, he does this little stunt to both ghetto-ize, and appeal to his small hipster core.
So, you can go ahead, and believe the hype machine on this new record. I find it actually offensive. I'm not one to declare anyone sold out, but this enterprise is wholly soulless and yes, sold-out. I cannot let this go- I mean the freakin' Quietus compares it to Prince?!?   Umm, maybe in that they're both insufferable, but musically, Prince has done everything he can to subvert the expectation that he'll release endless Purple Rains like some kind of slave to the lowest common denominator- This is Trent doing exactly that. So, feel free to indulge in it- I know I'm just a nerd, here. Fine- but I won't take that cheap trick.

1 comment:

  1. And here's your bonus track:

    ye gads....