Album Review: Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts I-IV

Well, I’ve finally been able to give NIN’s latest the once over. It took me a lot longer than expected simply to procure the music, as apparently I was one of about seven gagillion (and that’s a lot of people right there) that tried to download the albums these past few days. My first try resulted in a disconnection from the site. When I tried again, there was a message up with words to the effect of, “Even though we did no advance press on this release and planned on more traffic than usual, we’ve received three times the downloads we expected, so we’re going to have to shut down for a while.” Day two was much the same thing. I tried twice more on Tuesday, both times experiencing glacier-like download speeds, both times resulting in my computer timing out before the process was complete. Then, miraculously, just before midnight on Tuesday, it was like the heavens parted and I was able to download the zip file of the four discs I ordered in about 15 minutes.

What to say about Ghosts I-IV? As you’ve probably heard, it’s an entirely instrumental affair, so it’s kind of hard to judge outside of those parameters. It reminds me of soundtrack music, but what that movie might be is beyond me. Trent offers touches of industrial, somber piano interludes and I’ll be damned if that’s not some banjo I hear now and again. I’d like to say it’s excellent background music, but some of the compositions are fairly jarring, so that’s not completely right, either. Without a doubt, though, these were not some hastily compiled, throw away tracks that should have made the cutting room floor. They’re well thought out and executed. It’s just a bit much to digest in one sitting, what with the lack of vocals and all.

Each digital track comes complete with its own cover art and the pictures are stunning. The $10 package I purchased also comes with wall papers and a variety of other photo extras. If I read the fine print correctly, I also will be receiving two physical CDs in the near future.

While I’m not entirely sure what to “do” with this music, I’m glad I purchased it. Fortunately, it’s enjoyable enough in its own right. The fact that it’s helping to usher in a new movement in music distribution and fan interaction just makes it that much more appealing.

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