Recently Trent Reznor announced the reactivation of Nine Inch Nails as an active studio project, along with a greatest-hits record scheduled to be released in 2014 with two new tracks.
Of course, as a major NIN nerd, this is exciting news. NIN hasn't released one single compilation CD in Reznor's long career, so now we can only speculate on what might make it on there. We should probably expect "Head Like a Hole" and "Closer." Probably "Starfuckers" too. But the fun part will be the tracks you'd never expect.
If Reznor's track record holds true, this is probably going to have at least a few deep cuts included to give a more expansive overview of NIN's career. Here I thought I'd give him a few suggestions on what those should be.
6. "That's What I Get" One of the standout tracks on Pretty Hate Machine, "That's What I Get" is a prime example of NIN's early style. I'm not saying to include it at the expense of the hits, except for maybe "Down In It." I mean, what NIN comp would be complete without "Sin" or "Terrible Lie"? But "That's What I Get" represents the early years in all their glory and '80s cheese.
5. "The Line Begins to Blur" Since all the hits on With Teeth got packed on the the first half, it's easy to overlook the record's excellent second half. One of the best moments there is the crushingly heavy "The Line Begins to Blur," which represents the overall sound of the album a hell of a lot better than "Only."
4. "Even Deeper" You could make a case to include just about any track from The Fragile on an NIN compilation, but I think "Even Deeper" is not only the perfect deep cut from the record to make it, but could pass for a decent title for the compilation too. Not to mention its production help from Dr. Dre ties in well with Reznor's recent work with Beats By Dre.
3. "Deep" This one, only ever included on 2001's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider soundtrack, gets overlooked by even a lot of hardcore NIN nerds, but it represents everything that's great about Reznor's catchy hits. It could have fit right into The Fragile and with the right marketing, could have been a major hit in its own right. If there weren't any new songs on this compilation, this would have made a great re-release single.
2. "The Great Destroyer" This apocalyptic Year Zero track literally sounds like the world blowing up, and would make a perfect closer to the compilation. Even though two records were released after that album, "The Great Destroyer" can stand as a symbol of Reznor breaking down everything you thought you knew about Nine Inch Nails. It signals a significant change in direction, as the band departed from commercial record-making by releasing the last two Nine Inch Nails records in an online-only "pay what you want" format.
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1. "The Perfect Drug" As a major fan favorite, this one seems like an obvious choice, but you never know. "The Perfect Drug" was the centerpiece of the Reznor-curated soundtrack to David Lynch's film Lost Highway. To this day, it's never been played live by the band, but it's constantly begged for by the biggest fans. Reznor doesn't seem to like the song, but if he hopes to please fans with the record, it has its place marked out already.