Trent Reznor, poster boy for industrial angst, has survived and tried everything. The shocker is that he sounds pretty damn happy about it.
A while back Mr. Reznor swore that he was going to resurrect the dead, NIN branded horse by kicking it repeatedly. He also promised to reinvent and re-imagine Nails, which gave hope to fans that were tired of the band's previous direction.
Then NIN released "Came Back Haunted," which (to some) tasted like the same stale cracker. It involved a spastic music video directed by renowned filmmaker David Lynch. Watching the video guaranteed you a grinding headache, and not in the typical Lynchian way.
As of August 19th, NIN has thrown another new song into the groins of diehard Nails fans everywhere. The song is titled "Everything," and it's catchier than the flu. You'll hear it on the radio a lot, and it's more refreshing than "Came Back Haunted."
Why? Give it a listen. The musical backbone is similar to recent Nails. It has the right amount of fuzz, electronic pulse, and a decent beat. What makes it different are Reznor's vocals and lyrics.
He sounds euphoric as hell. The song is drenched with nostalgic value. He tells the listener flat out, "I've become something else. Just as well." Just as well indeed. The song has been mislabeled by some press as 'pop punk,' purely because it's a Nails song you wouldn't want to listen to while beating your head into silly putty.
Fans that expect Reznor to be perpetually shrouded in darkness and instrument smashing rage should listen to "The Downward Spiral" on repeat and rock back and forth in the corner of their basement.
A lot of musicians get shit for doing the same thing ad nausea (See the beginning of this piece.) What Mr. Reznor is doing is attempting to further his growth as an artist. He can't always scream about broken hearts and heroin addiction, especially since he's a squeaky clean family man now.
Let him have his peace. He's screamed enough for it.