Ladies and gentlemen, I am a massive Nine Inch Nails fan. As an emo teenager, that was my band. Trent Reznor's angsty lyrics might fall short of the standards of an adult seeking intelligent explorations of the human psyche via pop lyrics, but no one seemed to understand my pain better other than Morrissey.
Reznor's resurrected band debuted their latest single, "Everything," earlier this week on BBC Radio One. So it is with great regret and a broken heart that I announce to you that it is the worst thing Nine Inch Nails has ever recorded. It just plain sucks -- no doubt about it -- and here's why.
5. This Video Actually Fits It Can you imagine a world in which Carlton's Tom Jones dance from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Trent on a unicorn syncs up perfectly with a Nine Inch Nails song? That is now the world we live in.
I thought it was bad when we were all making porpoise jokes about "Every Day is Exactly the Same," not to mention Trent pronouncing that album's title as "A-with-a Teeth-a," but this is just getting ludicrous.
4. It's Going to Stick Out Like a Sore Thumb If "Everything" is an outlier on Hesitation Marks, which every other track released so far seems to indicate, then it's going to be one jarring misstep on a record of mostly pure Nine Inch Nails action. Seriously, listen to "Came Back Haunted," "Copy of a," "Find My Way" and "Everything" in order. One of these things is not like the others.
Furthermore, since it's positioned in the middle of Hesitation Marks, it seems like it will most likely throw off the entire flow of the album. Not that it matters if you're a person who listens to singles or their favorite tracks generally, but NIN has always been an albums band. Recall The Fragile or The Downward Spiral; dense records that demanded listening all the way through.
Ironically, Trent started a whole band to experiment like this, How to Destroy Angels, and it ended up sounding more like NIN than "Everything" does. Imagine "Everything" in a lineup with the rest of the NIN catalog on that upcoming greatest-hits compilation. It just doesn't work.
3. It's Actually Somehow Worse Than Trent's Synth-pop Days Oh, you thought "Kinda I Want To" was an outlier on Pretty Hate Machine? Actually, that was just what Trent did back before he got a recording contract. We're all lucky he never got signed for this stuff, because he had a million of them, including two which have surfaced called "Maybe Just Once" and "Purest Feeling."
"Maybe Just Once" sounds like Trent binged on Invisible Touch before he recorded it, and even that pales in comparison to how utterly wretched "Everything" is.
2. Even for a Pop-Rock Song, It's Not Very Good I know how I must sound with this article, but I have to admit: I love pop. I may have just bashed Trent for sounding like Invisible Touch on his early work, but only because he did it poorly. I actually love Genesis and Invisible Touch, just for totally disparate reasons as I love Nine Inch Nails, and never the twain shall meet.
But "Everything" isn't even enjoyable as a big dumb pop-rock song, the way, say, "The Hand That Feeds" was. Yeah, that song sounded like Trent crafting the ultimate "Nine Inch Nails for bros" track, but it was endlessly catchy and addictive regardless. This guy has always had a mind for hooks.
Somehow, though, when he actually tried to write a straight up pop rock song, he totally dropped the ball. "Everything" is one of the least catchy, least addictive, least flat out enjoyable tracks that NIN has ever recorded.
See reason No. 1 on the next page.
1. He Hedged His Bets For those keeping score at home, "Everything" is the fourth track we've heard from Hesitation Marks, if you count the live performance of "Find My Way" with the two previously released singles. The thing is, none of those songs sounds like this one, which makes one or the other look pretty disingenuous.
Allow me to explain by using the classic Metallica example. When they sold out, they made no bones about it. The first single from Load was "Until It Sleeps," they cut off all their hair and wore suits in public, and they played "2x4" live just so no one would be mistaken about what they were going to do next.
Trent gave us "Came Back Haunted" first, a middling track with all the hallmarks of a typical Nine Inch Nails single. It was boring and lacked progression, but it was definitively NIN. It allayed anyone's fears he couldn't do this whole thing anymore. But then he gives us "Everything," a total tonal shift.
Now which one is the real direction Trent wants to go? Was "Came Back Haunted" his way of hedging his bets on a first single before rolling the dice on "Everything" so people wouldn't automatically judge Hestitation Marks as a failure? Or is "Everything" Trent halfheartedly throwing a bone to radio?
Where do his loyalties lie? No one can say, because he refused to go all in on a direction with the pre-release singles for the new album, which leaves us little to judge the future on. If he wants to go in new directions though, putting out "Came Back Haunted" was the least ballsy way of doing so ever.
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