Nine Inch Nails (the end!!)


This is a recent favorite, both in terms of concerts I’ve seen and reviews I’ve written: PopMatters got me into one of the astoundingly small venues at which Trent Reznor decided to stop while taking Nine Inch Nails on its farewell tour.

Apologies in advance if this will make for a lousy epitaph limerick or whatever, but it seems totally obvious and coherent that Nine Inch Nails should close up shop, and that it should be a really big deal, if only because Trent has been on the ol’ Debbie Downer kick for 20 years, always singing about things dying and ending and breaking. I had a hard time figuring out NIN as a teenager, precisely because my foo-fightin’, punkin smashin’ ears always found the singles too openly mopey, but as a nerd, this still is pretty hard to swallow: we’re losing the guy who followed up a career as the defining dark consciousness of 1990s alt-rock by then epitomizing new-millennium forward-thinking—you know, hiding USB drives in bathrooms and all that. Who’s gonna one-up Radiohead now? (I took a little pee break on the way in to the show, by the way, but found only an attendant offering paper towels and Milky Way Minis and squirts of Axe at a buck apiece.) More

Nine Inches

Nine Inch Nails - The Slip

My most recent PopMatters assignment was a review of The Slip, the second major digital release of 2008 from Nine Inch Nails.

“The Slip” is a curveball of a release that whips around and still solidly connects with the temple. Even the most devoted Nine Inch Nails fan couldn’t possibly have seen this coming less than two months after “Ghosts,” and Reznor is the first high-profile musician to demonstrate that being best buds with the internet, even to the point of giving away major releases, actually facilitates continued creativity. If “Ghosts” illustrated the ways in which technology can shorten the distance between the studio and the hungry ears, the moral of “The Slip” is that jettisoning the red tape and bullshit shortens the distance between one project and the next. It’s not just a step forward artistically, it’s a triumph of logistics. More