My Take on the Latest Nine Inch Nails Releases

The video, above, is the latest single released by Nine Inch Nails. I’ve been following Trent’s Twitter (1, 2) and Instagram (1, 2) feeds and the r/nin thread on Reddit in order to stay abreast of music updates. I currently own all of the “Halo” releases, most of the “Seed” compilations, all of the “Null” stuff, and all of the other collaborations (soundtracks) with Atticus Ross. Do I have everything? Probably not. Am I a fan? Most certainly. I’ve been a fan since first hearing the 1989 release of Pretty Hate Machine. I remember where I was living when I bought it, where I bought it, and the weather that day. I loved that CD. I’ve also seen NIN a few times live. They put on quite a show.

After listening to the new NIN single, I have to say that I’m not really impressed. It seems derivative of their old stuff—much like Trent’s plagiarizing old NIN material and sprucing it up with a heavy dose of krautrock nostalgia, the latest electronic music equipment and software, and all seemingly after reading Ready Player One.

I haven’t been impressed with a NIN release since 2005’s With Teeth. I think of 1999’s The Fragile as the best album NIN has made to date. Everything released after With Teeth has mostly made me scratch my head in wonder. I really liked the Ghosts experiment in 2008 (and all of Reznor’s instrumental collaborations with Ross), but Ghosts really wasn’t a NIN release in all fairness. The releases after With Teeth, that actually have lyrics and vocals, are stale and unoriginal at best.

People change, music changes, trends come and go, but I really am holding on to the hope that NIN/Reznor will release something of incredible substance sometime in the future. Until that time, I’ll continue to purchase and listen to the new additions to their catalog.