Nine Inch Nails are back

By Tracey Ferguson Scatina for Culpeper Star-Exponent on June 24, 2005

Nine Inch Nails, one of the most popular industrial groups ever, is back with "Teeth.”

I remember hearing about Nine Inch Nails in eighth grade. It was rumored that Trent Reznor used to date my high school math teacher. Although never confirmed, the rumor could be true since Reznor was a resident of Mercer, a town near my high school.

Michael Trent Reznor was born to Michael Reznor, an interior designer and Bluegrass musician, and Nancy Clark in 1965. When Reznor was 5, his parents divorced and he was sent to live with his maternal grandparents in Mercer, Pa.

With his high school friend Chris Vrenna, Reznor moved to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1985, and joined a band named The Innocent as a keyboardist. They released one album, “Livin' in the Street,” but Reznor quit the band after just three months.

These days, as the head man of NIN, Reznor hits a pressure point in conservative America with his work and he is unapologetic.

NIN's debut album, “Pretty Hate Machine” (1989), largely consists of studio versions of demo recordings. It went triple platinum in the U.S. and produced the singles “Head Like a Hole,” “Down in It” and “Sin.”

NIN's second major release was “Broken” (1992), an EP of six tracks plus two bonus tracks. The song “Wish,” aided by the video directed by Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson of Coil, won a Grammy in the “metal” category.

NIN's second full album and third major release was “The Downward Spiral” (1994). It went quadruple platinum and is often considered by critics to be NIN's best work. There were two singles released, “March of the Pigs,” “Closer,” “Hurt,” which was sent to radio only, but never released as a single, and “piggy,” which was also only sent to radio.

NIN's fourth major release was the two-disk album “The Fragile” (1999). It produced three singles, one released in the US (“The Day the World Went Away”).

And now, NIN's fifth major release, “With Teeth (2005),” was written and recorded following Reznor's painful battle with alcohol addiction and substance abuse.

Suprisingly, “With Teeth” seems a bit “poppy” but still maintains its rigid edge. Especially track 1 “All the Love in the World.” Reznor sounds calm and somewhat soothed when singing the lyrics. The beats are easy and quite different from some of the other hard-driven ballads.

But underneath the smooth sound, Reznor seems tormented.
He sings, “Sometimes I get so lonely I could… Why do you get all the love in the world? Why do you get all the love in world?”
His voice is husky and tortured.

NIN definitely has a unique sound and is known for controversial lyrics. “Teeth” doesn't move away from that trend.

I'm not sure NIN can do better than the hit “Closer.” I recall looks of disgust on parent's faces when friends would listen to that song. The lyrics are dirty and sex-driven.  The song was like a dirty pleasure.

“With Teeth” is a worthy addition to a NIN collection.

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