Nine Inch Nails Album Review-Hesitation Marks

“I am just a copy of a copy of a copy/Everything I say has come before,” Trent Reznor sings on the opening lyrical track, “Copy of A,” on the new Nine Inch Nails album Hesitation Marks. This ironic concept of conforming to old patterns in ones music contradicts the sound of the album where Reznor strips down the flesh of his industrial sounds and leaves just a skeleton to rebuild.

hesitation marks

Though this album may not have the same grungy guitar and obscure, fast drum beats, it is still packed with mood-changing melodies and musical build-ups like in their previous albums. NIN proves they are still an important part of the music industry-and a sellable band despite the absence of corporate funded marketing campaigns- by resigning to a major label, a radical move by Reznor as an independent artist. With the 25th anniversary of the first NIN album-Pretty Hate Machine-coming up, this respected artist wants to change the world of popular music, once again.

Hesitation Marks is the first NIN album in five years and it is one of their best. The second track, “Came Back Haunted,” revisits the heart-thumping feeling that the previous track, “Copy of A,” has. Reznor’s voice clashes with the high-pitched synthesizer leading up to the chorus, which then provides a blast of triumph as Reznor screams, “I said goodbye and I/Had to try and I/Came back haunted.”

Haunting is exactly what this album does with tracks like “Find My Way” and “Black Noise.” But tracks like “Everything” and “All Time Low,” provide a new feel of the NIN sound. “Everything,” marking the middle of the album, is a typical pop-punk tune with slightly distorted guitar and a steady drum beat leading the song along. Though this a song you could expect to be written by a headlining band at Warped Tour, Reznor’s strained vocals pulls you in, and he lets you know he’s changed while he sings “Wave goodbye, wish me well/I’ve become something else.”

All Time Low” changes the pace of the album a little bit. A driving funk guitar riff over a simple drum beat makes you want to tap get up and move your feet. This song visits sounds similar to that of Peter Gabriel or Depeche Mode with the funky beat taking a sharp left turn onto a dark and eerie dirt road.

The second half of the album takes on a more electro-dance feel. Without the ominous and eerie sounds sprinkled through, you might not be able to recognize some of these tracks as NIN.

The closing two tracks of the album, “While I’m Still Here” and “Black Noise,” respectively, flow seamless into one another with the same beat and melody. “Black Noise” then slowly fades into a dark abyss where even creatures of the night can get lost. The album ends with heart-twisting noises that create an empty pit in your stomach.

First Post!

Welcome to my blog. If you are reading this then you are participating in history. This is my first blog post and the readers will determine the history from here.

A little about me. My name is Colin, I am 21and I live in Irwin, Pennsylvania, a town outside of Pittsburgh. I am currently a Senior English writing major at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. If you don’t know where Greensburg is, keep it that way. (I’ll dive into that topic later). I work at a corporate bookstore in the area that draws in characters like the serial floor pooper and the chronic masturbator. Which one will I share more about first? Well, you will just have to wait and see.

Music is a big part of my life. I have been playing the guitar since I was about 12 or 13 and I have since then picked up other instruments such as the piano. I ran a blog previously to this one about my journey of learning other, more obscure instruments as well as tips and fun facts about music. You can check it out here.

I love the Penguins and the Pirates and, by nature, I have to like the Steelers. Otherwise, what kind of Pittsburgh sports fan am I?

I look forward to bringing you my portrait of the world. I hope you stick around and enjoy it.