Surveying the current state of ’90s alternative musicians is somewhat depressing. Of that original gang of cultural iconoclasts, who is left? Who is still doing relevant stuff? Even Beck seems to have disappeared up his own rear end somewhat.
Trent Reznor is increasingly seeming like the last man standing. His latest album, the first in four years, may prove to be one of his finest. While Reznor has generally been pretty consistent in producing good quality music, most of it has been after a certain fashion, and very little would not have sat comfortably on his landmark album The Downward Spiral. However, working on film soundtracks, and collaborating with Atticus Ross has had a profound, and positive, effect on Reznor’s music. The songs here are more electronic, more danceable, slightly more subtle, and less ragingly distorted than one has normally come to expect from Nine Inch Nails. Singles Came Back Haunted and Copy of A retain all the trademark menace, but without resorting to the quiet/loud/quiet/loud device that Reznor hitherto liked to employ. And you can dance to them!
This is a great album, and it has been on high rotate on my stereo recently. And for what it’s worth, my four year old twin daughters love it too, and like to practice a lot of their ballet moves to it! Even if you are someone who has traditionally not liked Nine Inch Nails, you may well like this one.