Nine Inch Nails: Hesitation Marks
Though “The Eater of Dreams” could have been a super cool opener with its plinking click track-like beat and roiling background mechanical feedback, it fails to make a stab as a good opener for Hesitation Marks, the first Nine Inch Nails album in five years. “Copy Of a Copy” has some cool arpeggiated keys and electric guitar and the self-aware lyric, “I am just a copy of a copy of a copy,” which I like a lot, but Todd Rundgren did this better years ago. (He actually appears later on this record.) “Came Back Haunted” has some gated electric percussion and some good noisy choruses with backing vocals and the first real use of electric guitar.
“Find My Way” has a rolling percussion, reminding me of some of Peter Gabriel’s moments, with a nice plucking piano and a good, controlled vocal. I truly dig the funky guitar groove of “All Time Low,” though we are into that Trent whisper thang he thinks passes for passion in a chorus that pretty much kills an otherwise interesting tune. (This is the one Rundgren is on later, in a revised version.)
Finally we get the rocker “Everything,” complete with great backing vocals, a straight-ahead punk beat and a truly good melody. This is a great, fun tune! “Satellite” is near-Prince territory, with its hand clap, danceable back beat and “In Two” is a great commercial, computerized-vocal bleat and bopper, marking that Hesitation Marks does get better as it goes on.
But overall, one wonders if Trent Reznor is better sticking to creating brilliant soundtrack albums these days and not resurrecting overused musical moments that were well-used even years ago when he trotted them out as original NIN stuff.