Viper Squad Ten

[ Thursday, April 26, 2007 ]

Whereby the author rambles on self-indulgently about music , TV and stuff
Starbuck [17:30] Comments: 0 []
This was sent to me by my co-editor Stu...

The Life of Wylie: Life On Mars - The Answers
Of course the assumption must be that even the writers Life On Mars are wrong when it comes to their understanding of what the denouement actually revealed, as Starbuck Lewis-Smith's incisive analysis can never be faulted...

Also prompted by my co-editor, read this:
Allmusic - Year Zero (Nine Inch Nails) review
As a reader of these words you will no doubt be a person of discernible and indoubtable taste, and as such you will probably already own Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails.

I've listened to the new album pretty much every day since it was released, a treat my tired old heard-it-all-before ears have not been subjected to in a long long time. I don't know if a lack of time leads to a lack of enthusiasm, but the latest Arcade Fire and The Good The Bad & The Queen both having suffered dismally due to lack of effort on my behalf - I've hardly played them at all. But I digress.

Having now read that review-of-sorts, its nice to know what its all about, and what's apparently going on around it. On my occasional historic expeditions into the hinterlands of the web I've noted that Uncle Trent has been playing the multimedia game for a long time now, his specialty during the self-destructive years apparently being broken websites seeded with coded bit-rot clues. Still, this new campaign looks like something else.

Whatever, it's all about the music, maaaan, and to add my tuppeneth, I reckon its probably the least immediate and approachable of all NIN albums, no matter that its not Titan-heavy, but no matter, because on headphones it's crack-addictive. It just doesn't need Trent's trademark perfect-pitch vocal melodies to stand out above the music, but they're still there and as catchy as ever, despite often being almost subliminally buried within the background.

The fact of it being a "concept album" made the whole thing feel not quite right to me at first, and not just because all concept albums are inherently a little bit silly. Every previous NIN album has been so very personal to Reznor, and personal to your correspondent as well, having grown with and taken strength from his music from the very start (you can tell what an old duffer I am when I say that a gig from the Pretty Hate Machine tour was probably the best concert of my life...)

So I found some difficulty connecting when I first listened to the new album and heard various familiar sound motifs being applied to a story of near-future make-believe. (I concede that The Downward Spiral was a concept album as well, but its impossible not to experience it as a personal metaphor.)

But getting used to change is just part of growing up.

And talking of living through change, just thinking about the songs off the previous album With Teeth makes me smile, even the slightly rubbishy ones. It'll always remind me of my first time. It came out not long before I was wed, and I'd resisted partaking until the very first day of my honeymoon. It was quite overwhelming... the excitement of anticipation having held back for so long, mixed deliciously with a wonderful feeling of joy as me and my new wife enjoyed the sunshine poolside halfway up a Bangkok skyscraper on our first proper day of wedded bliss...

... and listening to the album for the first time was pretty good as well. Boom boom!!!

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