18 Sep 2013

Hesitation (high) Marks


http://www.spin.com/sites/all/files/styles/style820_546/public/130717-nine-inch-nails.jpg 


After a few days of solid listening, I can’t think why many people are calling this Nine Inch Nails album underwhelming or in some cases, boring. If you’ve pretty much created – and then reigned over – a music genre for 10 years, you have the ‘right to do what you want’ card. Maybe some people wanted a Downward Spiral follow-up? That would be equivalent to late-career hip hop albums made my millionaires, still rhyming about shooting people in drug deals… fuck those records. 

Among other achievements, Trent Reznor is sober, older and a parent and goddamn if the latter two alone aren’t enough to change your outlook and output. There is still an underlying bleakness to the record, partly due to the production being a tad sparse, closer to Pretty Hate Machine than say With Teeth, though obviously much more refined than the former. 

Which leads back to the point of Hesitation Marks being an evolution… if this was a How to Destroy Angels release, everyone would love it I’m sure. But putting that NIN logo on the cover creates a huge expectation from most ‘fans’ and less importantly, music critics. The album as a whole is admittedly pretty ‘mid-tempo’ and also more electronic/less organic than others, but so what? It’s not a Downward Spiral or a Fragile because those records regardless of how ‘timeless’ they were, are, like all art in one respect, a snapshot of their time and of the mind of their creator. Also from a personal point of view - you buy the vinyl and get a free CD version with it. #winning.