Nine Inch Nails - The Slip Album Review

By Marguerite French for UGO Entertainment on July 24, 2008

The Who: We've been creeped out and/or turned on by him for so many years that we almost take the eerie, erotic, industrial sounds of Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails for granted. We shouldn't do that, though: not only is it bad manners, but more importantly, if Trent feels underappreciated, he'll come and haunt our dreams. The Ohio native has been orchestrating his unique brand of rock since the late eighties, and has given us such gems as Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral.

The Buzz: There's a revolution of love in the established music industry, and that love is quantified via independently released albums. The revolution hasn't fully taken hold - the efforts of Radiohead et al., while appreciated, are not the great sacrifices that we need to overthrow the hegemony - but soldiers like Trent Reznor are on the front lines, fighting for free music. How is he doing this, you ask? He's giving his newest album, The Slip, to anybody and everybody for free via his website. Take it, use it, mash it up, just don't waste it.

The Verdict: It is both illogical and logical that Trent Reznor is not an icon as significant as someone like, say, Bon Jovi. Illogical because Reznor has been at the fore of electronic and industrial music longer than any visible figure; logical because he has masked himself in the technology and machinery that make his work possible - he has obscured himself in the very conflict his music celebrates. It is those struggles - man and machine, charisma and devotion - that are fleshed out expertly on The Slip. Reznor gives us eerie ballads like "Lights In The Sky" as well as grinding, multilayered caterwauls like "1,000,000." One gets the sense that Reznor is doing a good bit of self-reflection, and while that is good and indicates a possible exciting new direction, it sometimes keeps this album from being as generous as the spirit in which it was released - but only momentarily. Now freed from his relationship with any label, Reznor has given full expression to the many contradictions that make his work so appealing.

The Grade: A-

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