NIN: Hesitation Marks out Sept. 3rd

reznorSo the retirement didn’t last as long as you’d think(you’d think retirement lasts forever, at least in my neck of the woods it does).  We’re the better for it if “Came Back Haunted” is any indication as to what NIN 2.0 is offering.  This song seems to encapsulate all the best bits of every NIN era.  From the frantic industrial dance vibe of Pretty Hate Machine, to the pained mid-career drug-addled self pity, to the healthy but still pissed off mid-2000s renaissance, clear up to Reznor’s excellent film work with Atticus Ross.  It’s all there, but bigger.  The song is huge-sounding.  Not like symphony huge, or Rick Rubin “loudness war” huge.  But like at any minute the song is going to explode.  Trent Reznor’s passion for NIN has been reignited, and the flames are getting closer to the gasoline shed, so to speak.

For all intents and purposes, it seemed as if NIN had been boxed up in a mothball-filled crate somewhere in Reznor’s back closet(where he keeps all his leather pants and assorted absinthe mixers) and he’d moved on to more adult projects.  First a band with his beautiful wife, then film scores for David Fincher(which were excellent, btw).  There was talk of some sort of venture with Dr. Dre, or Ice Cube, or the estate of Easy E.  Well, all of those were real things that pointed to the idea that NIN really was just a distant, f****d up dream we all had in the 90s, followed by the mid-2000s hallucination of another version of the band where this beefy dude that looked like the skinny dude that fronted NIN way back when was now fronting them. Reznor had devoured Henry Rollins and Glen Danzig and had replaced the absinthe with whey shakes and protein bars.

But has this all been just a rue?  Something to distract us from what was going on behind the scene?  Maybe.  I’m not for certain, and I really don’t care.  “Came Back Haunted” is a stellar track and if it’s any indication as to where NIN is headed I’m on board.

I’m pretty much a newbie in the world of NIN and Trent Reznor.  The first album I bought of NIN was With Teeth.  I was 17-18 years old when Pretty Hate Machine came out and I wasn’t a fan.  The Downward Spiral came out right about the same time as Soundgarden’s Superunknown, so I pretty much ignored Trent’s masterpiece.  It wasn’t until The Fragile in 1999 that I began to come around to what he was doing.  I won a copy of it from a Fort Wayne radio station, so that was technically the first album I owned of NIN.  I just didn’t buy it.  But from With Teeth on I’ve been a loyal fan of Trent Reznor, and I feel despite what some mega fans from the very beginning would think,  Reznor has done his strongest work from 2005 on.  Since 2005, he’s put out With Teeth, Year Zero, Ghosts I-IV, The Slip, two sprawling and epic film scores for The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, an e.p. and a full-length debut with How To Destroy Angels…..AND he’s got arms like a longshoremen, grew a beard, got married, grew a couple kids, and has joined N.W.A with Dr. Beats and Ice Pack.  I don’t care what you think about NIN, Trent Reznor just took the crown from James Brown as the hardest work person in the f*****g universe.  All hail, Reznor!  All hail, Reznor!

And if the new single and new album weren’t enough, NIN is hitting the road for a massive U.S. tour with a revamped live version of NIN which includes one of our favorite musicians here at, Mr. Adrian Belew.  AND, playing shows with Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.  I think I just squealed out loud after typing that.  Will this tour be coming near me?  Not really.  Cleveland, OH and Auburn Hills, MI are the closest it gets.  Hmm, a visit to the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame would be sorta cool.  Haven’t been there since 97′.  Something to discuss with the Mrs.

Anyways, yeah, this is really happening.  This isn’t a 90s flashback, or a flashback of a mid-2000s fever dream.  This is real.  Nine Inch Nails are back, and they’re taking over.

Update:  Adrian Belew DID contribute to the album, but apparently is NOT part of the touring band.  Bummer.

12 thoughts on “NIN: Hesitation Marks out Sept. 3rd

  1. Reznor has definitely grown with his audience, all while keeping the angst around … just in case it’s needed. I’m not sure I’ve heard an artist who can put sincere angst into so many different styles. Other’s try, but, unlike Reznor, other’s sound forced in places.

    Devouring Danzig and Rollins? I knew it! The latest versions seemed too much like replicants to be true.


    1. Replicants are everywhere. Everywhere I say! Why can’t I have one to do the dishes??

      Reznor does angst with the best of ’em. And he does it in a way that as a person with very little angst I don’t feel like a poser listening to it.


  2. I haven’t heard Adrian Belew’s name or his music in probably 20 years. I’ll eventually listen to whatever Reznor’s up to but suddenly Mr. Belew is calling my name.


    1. Belew is probably one of my biggest influences, and not even for his guitar playing. His albums Mr. Musichead, Young Lions, Inner Revolution, and Here were albums that made me want to write songs, not just learn songs.

      My wife and I got to see him and his power trio play at Sweetwater Sound in their auditorium back in 2009. He was promoting this $10,000 guitar that Parker Guitars made for him. Insane. But the show was wonderful. We were like 15 feet from him. The band played for an hour and he did a Q & A. Cup of good coffee, my gal beside me, and “Thela Hun Ginjeet” playing loudly. Great evening.

      It’s always good to hear of someone else that not only knows his name, but knows the music. Are you a fan of his solo stuff, plus the King Crimson albums? How about The Bears?


      1. I was surrounded by Belew fans when I was young(er)–had friends and roommates that were King Crimson fans and in the early 90s I saw him perform (and I want to say Bela Fleck performed that same evening.) So I was never a proper fan, but I had friends with great taste and as a result I’ve been exposed–but I hadn’t thought about listening to him, like, by myself at home as a grown up until your post today.


      2. I’m impressed you even knew who he was, let alone have heard his music.

        On a side note, the wife and I saw Bela Fleck back in 1995 in St. Louis at a in-the-round theater. We had a friend that moved there for a job and the weekend we visited he bought tickets for us. Great show.


      3. After I replied I realized that it was probably the same venue rather than the same night– but those years are a blur :p Regardless, during that time I was fortunate to be around some music lovers that significantly expanded my appreciation for songwriting. They also took me to Beck, Dylan, Prine, Petty. “Made” me listen to Dave Matthews, Lucinda Williams, and others that I would have never touched.


      4. Yes…moments remembered more as blurry and out-of-focus snapshots than actual events you were physically a part of.

        Glad you had friends to keep you in good company, musically speaking.


  3. I always liked pervy-sex pest Reznor, Head like a Hole, Starfuckers Inc., various bits of debauchery with Manson. I went off him a bit when he bought a gym membership. I am a very shallow person though.


    1. Those forearms are intimidating. Those aren’t the forearms of a guy that hangs out in German sex clubs, haunted mansions in New Orleans, or with Marilyn Manson. Those are regimented forearms that will hurt you if you speak ill of the gym, protein bars, and whey shakes.


      1. I’m planning on being able to outrun him over long distances. You need to prepare for all contingencies in this reviewing game: AC/DC lightning strikes, Rollins rampaging through your vegetable patch, Rick Nielsen making unkind remarks about your family pets – got it all covered.


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