Friday, June 17, 2005

Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails- Downward Spiral

There’s a new topic of discussion pretty much every Monday night- me and Ned and BQ and Ed (and sometimes Terry G. and/or The Bank) get together and bullshit each other about politics, movies, records, whatever. It’s always great fun.

There were three consecutive weeks where band retrospectives were the order of the evening. We were talking about Zeppelin this one week, right, so all the albums came out and we listened to a bunch of songs. Same thing with Nirvana on the following Monday. Then it was Nine Inch Nails, the least well-received of the bunch.

I remember hearing Nine Inch Nails for the first time- I had made friends with this older guy from summer camp named Colin. He came up to Concord to visit and we drove around, listening to tapes, ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ being one of them. I fell for it at once- the lyrics were aggressive and full of anger, over a musical background that fit into the whole loose Altertnative Nation notion of ‘industrial’ (read: Ministry, Front 242, KMFDM, etc.) that was big at the time.

It’s no wonder, in retrospect, that I fell for it so hard- I was like seventeen, writing really shitty poetry in spiral-bound notebooks at my folks’ house. Trent Reznor’s lyrics are just as immediate and hokey- when he sang, he felt like a peer. Time has passed, and the shit sounds really silly now, we all noticed on retrospective night- dumb lyrics, just awful. Hard to listen to in a room full of people.

But sitting here in my room, right, listening to this stuff by myself? That’s a different story. It helps that Reznor’s voice is pretty well buried on a lot of the songs on ‘Spiral’- muddy in the back, just another instrument in the (pristine) mix. When the vocals are up enough to discernable and no one’s in the room, it’s easy to identify precisely because of all those notebooks of bad poetry- I can imagine trying to read any of those at a coffeehouse or whatever and seeing everyone just cringe. But it’s all very righteous when you’re alone, you know?

Nine Inch Nails- The Fragile

I hate to be so short in discussing a double album, but I don’t have a lot to say about it. More varied and in places gentle than the previous stuff was, to be certain. Okay in dribs and drabs, grueling as a marathon, with more of the same lyrically. As of this writing I’m amazingly bummed out and having a tough time and I’m still not willing to put forth the effort to wallow in this record’s misery.


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