Album Review: Nine Inch Nails – The Slip

Somebody should probably tell Trent Reznor that it’s OK for him to take a break every now and again. Right on the heels of his multi-disc Ghosts opus, he’s decided to give another freebie to the fans with The Slip. Oh yeah, and he’s about to start a summer tour in the near future. He’ll be hitting the Virgin Fest for those of us in the DC metro area on August 10. It wouldn’t surprise me if the guy also is working on a perpetual motion device, world peace, and a better way to cross-breed ducks, chickens and turkeys for the perfect Turducken experience for the holidays. We’ve voiced our love for both Trent’s music and the direction he’s headed with distribution and fan interaction here at LET. I do not, however, want the guy to have a heart attack from overworking himself, so I’m just suggesting you might want to take a breather when you get the chance, big guy.

The Slip can fairly easily be broken into two distinct portions. Fortunately for our purposes, that would be the opening half and the closing half of the CD. Opening with the spacey instrumental “999,999”, the album then throttles into ass kicking overdrive for the next four tracks. For those of you that weren’t in love with the completely instrumental Ghosts, you won’t have that problem here. Reznor is just as frantic and powerful as ever on tracks like “1,000,000” and “Letting You”. “Discipline” and “Echoplex” follow, which begin to slow the pace, but continue with the same spastic urgency that Reznor does so well, before he kicks things back up a notch with “Head Down”. From there, however, things make an abrupt about-face. “Lights in the Sky” is a piano dirge, plain and simple, with Reznor’s vocals barely audible in the background. “Corona Radiata” clocks in at over seven and a half minutes of essentially low key keyboard noises. This one was for fans of Ghosts, I guess, as the vocals are absent here. “The Four of Us Are Dying” maintains the chill pacing and then Reznor ups the ante on the earlier frenetic note of “Demon Seed”.

The Slip does not have the overall cohesive feel of Year Zero, but that’s not to say it’s bad by any stretch of the imagination. I liken it more to With Teeth; a bunch of great tracks, even if they seem slightly disjointed in their grouping.

I’m really digging the James Brown-sian pace NIN is maintaining since abandoning the big label in favor for putting things out at their own pace. I just don’t want that pace to result in a high speed chase with the cops, wife beating or an appearance in Rocky 47 (coming soon to a theater near you, I’m sure). I’m just saying.

To get your free copy of The Slip, check out the NIN site. If you’re too damn lazy for that, here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to feed your fix.

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