Sunday, 26 April 2015

Nine Inch Nails - The Meme

It’s that time of the month again, the time when I allow a little self-indulgence and pontificate about one of my favourite musical artists. This month it is the turn of Nine Inch Nails, the band fronted by Oscar winning musical genius Trent Reznor.

Yes, that’s right – Trent Reznor won an Oscar for the soundtrack to the Facebook film The Social Network, together with co-writer Atticus Ross.

In fact, quite a few Nine Inch Nails songs have found their way onto movie soundtracks and TV programmes.

Of all my music, Mrs PM finds Nine Inch Nails the least offensive and most palatable, probably because they incorporate elements of dance into some of their music. However, make no mistake, this is a band that produces angry songs ) sometimes very angry indeed) and that’s what I love most about them.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s plough into this.

1. How long have you been a fan?

I have been a fan since 1994 when I heard my first song by the band. In the early 1980’s, I was heavily into electronic pop music. Bands like Depeche Mode, Ultravox, Heaven 17 and Tears For Fears were huge favourites but they lacked the aggression I craved from heavy metal and rock music.

Nine Inch Nails bridged that gap. Their music is described as industrial but to me it is a fusion of that period from the early 1980’s with the menacing undertones that heavy metal and hard rock provide.

2. Do you remember the first song of theirs you heard?

The first song I encountered was Closer (see below). I first heard it at a rock club in Manchester called Rockworld that is now, sadly, no longer there. It was the only night club in Manchester that I could bear to be in and the patrons of the club were fans of punk rock, hard rock, heavy metal, classic rock and any combination of all of them. The dress code was non-existent and allowed everyone to express themselves in any way they desired.

When I heard the song I asked a mate who the band was. It wasn’t long before I bought my first Nine Inch Nails CD.

3. What’s your favourite album(s)?

My absolute favourite is the first album I ever bought – The Downward Spiral, which many regard as the band’s magnum opus. To be honest though I love every last one of their albums with the following standing out:

The Downward Spiral (1994)

Image result for the downward spiral

The Fragile (1999)

Image result for the fragile

With Teeth (2005)

Image result for with teeth

4. What’s your favourite song(s)?

This is an extremely difficult question, as always for a band that I love. My favourite songs are those that are the angriest. However, Nine Inch Nails have evolved over the years and while their music is quite heavy, I thought I would try to give a tour of the types of songs they produce.

Copy of A (from Hesitation Marks - 2014)

This is a recent song and is more electronic than some of the band’s earlier offerings. I find this to be a real earworm with it’s almost dance like beat. Recent songs seem to be less angry than earlier material because, perhaps, Trent Reznor is mellowing with age.

Discipline (from The Slip - 2008)

Moving back a few years, Nine Inch Nails offered an album for free on their website, an offer I simply couldn’t refuse. Nevertheless, I loved the album and this song is also a slightly dance-oriented song. I was watching a TV programme with a scene in a dance club and this song was playing in the background. Mrs PM didn’t believe it was Nine Inch Nails until Trent started singing.

Every Day Is Exactly The Same (from With Teeth  - 2005)

A while ago, when I was stuck in a bit of a rut, this song summed up everything I was feeling. The fact is I am still in a rut, but I can see a way out of it and I am a lot more positive. Every time I hear this song, it makes me consider what I want to do. I love it.

The Hand That Feeds (from With Teeth – 2005)

This is my favourite Nine Inch Nails song . It is angry but more subdued than the earlier material the band produced, which was full of rage and very heavy as a result. For me, this is the perfect Nine Inch Nails song.

Closer (from The Downward Spiral – 1994)

As I said earlier, this is the first song I heard by the band and I still love it. Mrs PM quite likes it too. However, be warned, the chorus is rather offensive with swearing. In fact, I was going to put up the official video, but I thought that might be a little offensive too. Despite all this, I think it is a fantastic song.

Warning - this song may offend.

5. Have you ever seen them live? (How often?)

Yes – I’ve seen them four times. The first time was probably the best because it coincided with the album With Teeth in 2005, but the most recent concert last year was another superb couple of hours.

6. Have you ever met them?

No. But I would love to.

7. Do you have a favourite era of their career?

Not really. Each album has its own merits.

8. Is there a song or album of theirs you dislike?

Strangely no. All of their albums appear frequently on my iPod and I like most of the songs I hear.

9. What do they or their music mean to you?

Let’s face it, Nine Inch Nails are the antithesis of happy-clappy music and that’s why I love them. Their music, on the whole, is dark and explores the negativity that exists in all of us. When I have had a bad day, I like nothing more than to pop on a good old angry Nine Inch Nails song because it has a cathartic effect and dissolves the negativity. You may think that’s a bit weird, and maybe you’re right, but it works for me.

10. Do you get annoyed when other people don’t like them?

Not many people I have met totally dislike them –even Mrs PM. So really, I don’t care.

11. Which artist do you want them to collaborate with?

Trent Reznor has collaborated with one of my favourite artists, David Bowie. I really wish this had been the start of more work between the two of them. Nine Inch Nails added something special to a typical David Bowie song – I’m Afraid of Americans is the result. Trent Reznor is the stalker in the video.

12. Are they underappreciated/unknown?

Not at all. In fact, they are more popular than ever, it seems.

13. Is there a song of them that everybody likes but you dislike?

No. I don’t really dislike any of their songs.

14. Do people think you are too obsessed with the artist?

I wouldn’t say so – unless they release a new album, in which case I do tend to overplay it.

15. Do you pre-order their new albums without having heard any music from it?


And Finally ...

I hope you like some of the music above and thanks for allowing a little self-indugence.


Pandora Behr said...

Are you ever going to do a meme of a band I know about , like say, blur, Oasis or Radiohead?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Surely you've heard of David Bowie.


Seriously, it's a way to introduce bands who you and others may not have heard of just to broaden your horizons.

But - yeah - okay. I might cover a more well known artist next time.




Pandora Behr said...

Saying that, I have heard of the Nine Inch Nails. ANd I reckon I've shown you the odd bit of music over the years...

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

You have indeed shown me the odd bit of music.

And I appreciate it.