Nine Inch Nails
Trent Reznor's a pretty good guy to be a fan of. Of late, Nine Inch Nails enthusiasts have been treated to copious amounts of free or cheap music, special artwork, limited edition box sets, USB drives full of music left in public bathrooms, cryptic guessing game marketing campaigns and a ton of shows.
Unfortunately, all this loses some of it's punch when the music leaves something to be desired. It's not that its bad, it just lacks the substance that is required to sustain interest for more than a few days. Once the novelty of a free album wears off all that is left is a bland collection of songs, some of which chug along at the trademark pop-goth pace while others fill their alloted times with the familiar soundscapes that can be found on most of the previous NIN records.
While this is all coming out as negative the album does have some pretty nice moments. Discipline does some sort of onomatopoeia of it's title and rolls along briskly, regimented in it's approach to the interpretation of pop music that Nine Inch Nails have developed through dedicated practice and study. Meanwhile, Lights in the Sky is a truly sincere piano based number that showcases Reznor's emotional fragility.
Ultimately though, whether it's due to the years of honing a particular style that has now become dated and all too familiar, or - as I sometimes like to jokingly claim - that Reznor's not on heroin anymore, the fact remains that the material that the band have put onto The Slip simply doesn't stand up to the golden era work that they did in the mid 90's. And while it's never really fair to pigeon-hole a band based on the old stuff that you liked better, neither is life.