Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Still sharp and edgy industrial rock from Nine Inch Nails

Last Friday, I posted a mix of metal and hard rock. Among them was a track by Nine Inch Nails. Obviously, they were huge in the 90s (I say they, but NIN is mostly Cleveland native Trent Reznor). They had some great songs and tremendous videos. After putting out three successful albums in 5 years, Reznor took 5 years to complete his double concept album, “The Fragile.” It eventually went double platinum in the U.S. and was well received critically.

Wif Teefs

Another 5 years passed before Reznor released his next album, “With Teeth,” in 2005. 5 years between albums is a long time so although it wasn’t a comeback, it kind of felt like one to me. I was only a casual fan of his previous work. I’d heard it. I liked some of it. But when I saw he had come back with another album after another long hiatus, I was interested and picked up a copy. I have to say I was very, very impressed. “With Teeth” is far and away my favorite NIN album. Great compositions, a variety of sounds, and superior production make this one worth picking up.

Of the 13 tracks that comprise “With Teeth,” I ripped 8 of them to my iPod. I consider anything over half an album to be a good ratio and this one is over 60%. Check these out.

  • All the Love in the World –Reznor’s trademark ominously quiet verses grow slowly to an industrial but melodic finish.
  • You Know What You Are? – Reznor is pissed. Watch out. Mechanical clicking and fuzzy noise are perfectly placed to keep the ear engaged.
  • The Collector – The funky time signature makes this one hard to dance to but the driving beat and harsh vocal delivery make it hard not to dance.
  • The Hand that Feeds – This one sounds like it could have come off of “Pretty Hate Machine.” Maybe that’s why they made a video and put it out as a single.
  • Love Is Not Enough – My favorite lyrics on the album are in this dark track. “We didn’t give it a mouth…so it cannot complain.” “I’ve come all this fucking way, to wind up back at – back at the start.” In fact, this is my favorite track on this album.
  • Every Day Is Exactly the Same – Stomping percussion and pensive piano back more great lyrics. “Sometimes I think I’m happy here. Sometimes… I still pretend. I can’t remember how all this got started but I can tell you exactly how it will end. Every day is exactly the same.”
  • With Teeth – The guitar whines and grinds while the percussion tries to beat it down. The quiet bridge in the middle does nothing to soften this song.
  • Right Where It Belongs – For as dark as this song is, it’s absolutely beautiful. When some guys write songs about self examination and doubt, it winds up sounding like silly teen angst. Some guys, like Reznor, are able to really make you feel the song and escape cliché entirely.

I got a chance to see NIN at Bonnaroo last year. It was the first time I had seen them since 1991 or so. The show hasn’t changed much. Periods of quiet, oozy music with dry ice fog swirling around in electric blue back lighting punctuated by a hammering wall of industrial rock and blinding white lights aimed directly at your optic nerve. I still enjoyed it tremendously.

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March 17, 2010 - Posted by | Hard Rock, Popular, Rock

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