Oct 18, 2013It was a given that Hesitation Marks would provide Nine Inch Nails with a future. But what's so impressive here is that it's given then a future every bit as promising as their illustrious past. [31 Aug 2013, p.52]
Aug 29, 2013Sure, it’s chorus-driven and a touch too slick, lacking the density and the ambition and the sheer bloody nihilism of NIN’s 90’s heyday, but Reznor’s not that guy anymore--that guy died with the heroin overdose. But there are more than enough moments here to suggest a maker not--whatever the protestations of one of its tracks--yet at peace.
Sep 9, 2013The record lacks the depth found in Nine Inch Nail’s previous records and the engrossing brilliance of their more experimental leanings. All that aside, Hesitation Marks stands as incredibly solid, perhaps more so than any record put out by the band in over a decade.
Sep 3, 2013For every circuit-overloading workout like “Copy of A” and “Disappointed”, there are a number of tracks where Reznor reverts to the teeth-gnashing angst of old without the pig-marching blitzkriegs to back it up, applying undue pressure on the the songs’ brittle structures.
Sep 3, 2013Given the singles that had come I made sure to steer clear of any other leaks to keep the album a surprise. Boy was it a pleasant surprise! so many soundscapes and so many different moods and atmospheres captured in different and exciting ways. with that signature Trent Reznor sound to the music. I was so thoroughly impressed, I love this album even after my third listen beginning to end. Trent still has it's bite and this album stands tall in the Nine Inch Nails catalog.… Expand
Sep 3, 2013Trent Reznor hasn't so openly embraced pop melodies and dance-able structures like this since 1989's Pretty Hate Machine. Hot off the heels of an Academy Award win and other score nominations, this is a record fusing dance, restrained yet sweeping vocals, and fine musicianship of Lindsay Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac), Alessandro Cortini (modwheelmood), Peter Paladins, and Adrian Belew (King Crimson).
It's every genre but never quite any one genre per song.… Expand
Sep 3, 2013one word: Awesome. come expecting to hear a new album not a new NIN old style album, experimenting and using rock, electronic and new pop tunes, melting them with industrial sounds makes this album something of mix between the fragile and pretty hate machine, with the ghost of with teeth and tds in between, great album as a whole, good NIN music. Various methods of scape! My favorite song of the album with copy of a came back haunted and I would for you, all time low and hehe, everything.… Expand
Sep 3, 2013"Sonic train wreck" is how I like to describe The Downward Spiral. And while Hesitation Marks is definitely "sonic," I felt I was often waiting in vain for the trademark "wall of sound" to hit my headphones like it often felt it should... and they simply do not come. Most songs pretty much stay "safe" from beginning to end, and there are none of those blissfully angst ridden sucker punches that blew your mind as a college freshman. I'm okay with a happier, fitter, more productive Trent Rezner. But I'm also wishing this album could get just a bit dirtier once in a while. All in all, it's a return to form and offers the intricate sonic layering you come to expect on the best of NIN. Good album. But still.... too safe.… Expand
Nov 7, 2013For the most part, I think this album lives up to the hype pretty well. The one thing I will say is that going in I was aware that this album was slightly divisive among NIN's fanbase, and it's pretty easy to understand why. NIN's never been a 100% “rock band” due to their influential incorporation of electronics, but this is the first time (not counting Ghosts I-V) where I'd say the guitars are pushed to the background in favor of synths & drum machines. Sure there's some great guitar work here & there, like the awesome riff in the bridge of “Came Back Haunted” or the dissonant leads in “All Time Low”, but most of these tracks are driven by layers upon layers of electronic melodies & eclectic sounds. There's also significantly less of that visceral angst & anger that gave previous albums a certain rough chaotic edge; it's especially notable compared to previous album The Slip, which was characterized mostly by raw, unpolished & free-flowing rock instrumentation. Hesitation Marks on the other hand is an album that's controlled, layered & calculated to the last decimal point. Sure that means it doesn't have the same energy as the earlier work, but that also makes it more appealing from a compositional standpoint. Most songs here have a pretty similar musical formula, but for me it's at least engaging enough from track to track to be justified. A perfect example of this is “Came Back Haunted”, with its mix of intricate electronic beats, pulsating bassy synths, and a consistent mid-tempo groove that carries the song along nicely & keeps it interesting. It also helps that there are infectious melodies stacked on infectious melodies. There are also a couple notable departures from this “sound”, like “Everything” & the R&B-influenced “Satellite”.
By far the most polarizing song here is “Everything”, a driving alt-rocker with triumphant singalong melodies & a generally optimistic message about Reznor celebrating the fact that he's overcome all the crap & problems life's thrown at him over the years. It's a refreshing move for a guy that could've very easy phoned in angst on this whole album just to keep the overly nostalgic perpetual Gen-X-ers in his fanbase happy. That actually seems to be a recurring theme on Hesitation Marks lyrically: self-analysis & introspection. On tracks like “All Time Low”, “Find My Way” & “Came Back Haunted” he details in cryptic but intelligible terms his struggles with drugs, anger & depression throughout the last couple decades and how grateful he is that he came out of it in one piece. Even when it's not quite as bluntly positive as “Everything”, there's a subtle victorious & even slightly uplifting running theme on these topics that's expressed effectively but doesn't feel preachy in the slightest. Also, for those looking for the more political themes of albums like Year Zero or to a lesser extent With Teeth, you can't go wrong with “Copy of a” or “Disappointed”, which is about conceding to political nihilism & pessimism in terms of governmental improvement.
Honestly, if I went just by what I said here, I'd be tempted to call this possibly NIN's best album to date. But to me, the thing that holds it back from flawlessness is how front-loaded it is. It drops in quality for me after “Satellite” to what I feel are, despite a couple exceptions like “I Would for You” and the very classic-sounding “In Two” (as well as “While I'm Still Here” to some extent), a handful of meandering afterthoughts that don't have nearly the same impact as the first half. I think Trent would've been better off going the route of The Slip by making a solid collection of 10 tracks that gets the job done effectively without bloating in length to over an hour. That being said, this is still a very rewarding comeback album. Any fan of previous NIN stuff should definitely give this a listen, since it's a very interesting progression in the discography.
Top 5 tracks: Find My Way, Came Back Haunted, Everything, Satellite, Copy of a
Score: 79/100… Expand
Oct 15, 2013Hesitation Marks, is as boring as hell It's no Pretty Hate Machine and has certainly gone downward Spiral. Song structures as basic, glitch drums, bit of singing, bit of synth noise, bit more singing, the end! What makes it worse some of the vocal lines boarder on the cringed worthy. You have to wait to near the end of the album to get anything like a decent NIN song but by that time all interest has vanished into a haze of nothingness. NIN fans will not like this review, as Trent is untouchable but NIN has no relevance today. Trent give up NIN and make film music.… Expand
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