Review: Nine Inch Nails – The Slip [2008]

By Daniel Del Ferraro

Trent Reznor is a sadomasochist. On his website he posts cryptic messages, hinting that there will be new releases and news. I think he gets off on people scratching their heads and begging for answers. After wearing out my mouse by clicking on the refresh button a few months back, up popped the link (theslipnin.com) for the free download of the latest Nine Inch Nails’ album, The Slip. From there you get to pick what kind of download that you want: MP3, FLAC, or m4a lossless. Well, boys and girls, up for grabs on amazon.com are a very limited number of CDs and LPs of The Slip. The CD will be released July 22, while the LP will be released on August 5. For the hardcore, obsessively pack-ratish NIN fan either or both of these sets will be another notch in your bedpost.

Now, onto the music. The kids on the board keep yelling at each other because they can’t agree: Is The SlipYear Zero? People went freaking bonkers when Trent let loose an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) that followed the events of Year Zero—what they wanted was another game for The Slip. That, though, has not come which makes people question whether this truly is a sequel. As you listen, though, it could be argued that many of the songs seem to perpetuate the theme of a world gone bad that was Year Zero. I’m not here, though, to try to prove anything. Some other fan who swears he can see into the mind of Trent Reznor can do that.
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Some standouts for The Slip are “1,000,000,” “Letting You,” “Discipline,” “Echoplex,” “Head Down,” and “Lights in the Sky.” “Discipline” fits in well with “Capital G” from Year Zero and “Only” from With Teeth. There is a groovy beat that just begs you to dance, even though you realize—”Hey, I should not be dancing to Nine Inch Nails.” This was actually the single that Trent released through his website to taunt and tantalize his fans with things yet to come. The video for this song is by far the funniest Nine Inch Nails’ video because the band is dressed like The Village People. Oh so many girls’ fantasies come true in this cartoon.

Not as danceable, but so much heavier is “1,000,000.” The song begins as “999,999,” an instrumental, ends with Trent saying, “What did I slip into?” From that point on you have slipped into Trent’s mind and the true genius of Nine Inch Nails. On the other end of the spectrum is “Lights in the Sky,” also the name of NIN’s current tour around North and South America. With a tempo like NIN’s Johnny Cash-covered “Hurt,” this song is not the happiest. Lyrics like “Watching you drown/I’ll follow you down,” sink deep into you like the person in the song.

The price for The Slip can’t be beaten, but you still have other options if you just need to have that hard, CD copy rather than digital. Definitely check out NIN on tour this summer for a complete mind-bending experience. Why not also check out nin.com under tour info? Trent has links so that you can download the concert locations and view them with Google Earth. Also, you can see red spikes around the globe that represent the over 1,400,000 people who have downloaded The Slip from the NIN website.

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