Thrash Hits

May 15th, 2014

Top 6: Under-appreciated Nine Inch Nails songs

Nine Inch Nails live at Reading Thrash Hits

If you’re a Nine Inch Nails fan, chances are you’re pretty damn excited for the UK leg of the band’s European tour that kicks off later this week. It’s been a long, long, long while since Trent Reznor and his gang of (un)merry men brought Nine Inch Nails’ brand of barrier-breaking, genre-mocking, soul-eating music to the UK, and they’re doing it this time in the biggest indoor venues we’ve got. Whatever you think of Reznor’s music, that’s a mighty damn impressive state of a affairs for a man who makes some of the darkest music on the planet.

While we could take a peek at what songs they’ve been playing around Europe, there’s something to be said about keeping yourself in the dark about a band’s setlist, which is why we asked fellow NIN fan Daniel Cairns to put together a little preview piece for us in the form of…

The Top 6 under-appreciated Nine Inch Nails songs we want to see played live

1. And All That Could Have Been

This appeared on the Still EP, or the bonus disc on the And All That Could Have Been live album if you’re up to date with your Halos. It’s an outtake from The Fragile, and is arguably better than anything on that album. It’s unashamedly miserable, as Trent gently burbles “…happiness and peace of mind, were never meant for me”. It’s the perfect song to listen to repeatedly if you’ve just gone through a traumatic dumping, been made redundant, had to move back home and had your TV die out on you. Not that that happened to anyone I know.

2. Reptile

God bless Mr Reznor, he doesn’t exactly do subtlety. “Seeds from a thousand others, drip down from within” he croons over a slow thudding bassline and sleazy sounding guitars. There’s even a sample in it that sounds like a reptile baddy from Castlevania 64, but you’ll only notice that if you’re a colossal wanker. ‘Reptile’ is the kind of song they dance to in nude bars in Hell (probably).

3. Somewhat Damaged

You can tell if an album’s going to be good by the quality of its first track. All the best albums have amazing openers, like ‘Planet Telex’ off Radiohead’s The Bends, ‘The Fear’ off Pulp’s This is Hardcore, and…err…‘Hotdog’ off Limp Bizkit’s Chocolate Starfish (etc).  You could tell only a few moments into ‘Somewhat Damaged’ that Trent was about to go off on The Fragile. It just builds and builds, until it ends with everything pounding in unison, with Trent screaming “BROKEN, BRUISED FORGOTTEN SORE, TOO FUCKED UP TO CARE ANYMORE”. It’s an anthem for disenfranchised people everywhere, especially idiot teenagers.

4. The Great Destroyer

Year Zero was Trent going political. It wasn’t his finest hour musically, and honestly, Trent’s at his best when he’s singing about how unsure he is of himself, or when he’s being dirty, but it still had its moments. It was largely electronic, a lot less sonically dense than previous records, and a bit more instinctive. Arguably the best track is ‘The Great Destroyer’, a funky little number that starts off all catchy and poppy (some of the album wasn’t a million miles away from Jutin Timberlake, which isn’t a bad thing), before it all of a sudden morphs and explodes into an electronic noise track. Props for the harmonised vocals bit just before that too. Very Queen.

5. All The Love In The World

Trent Reznor, for all his self-loathing and penchant for noise and atmospherics, can never really truly escape what he really is, and that’s a master craftsman of pop songs. While Ministry continue to ruin everything about themselves with punny song titles that even the Butthole Surfers would reject, Reznor’s kept Nine Inch Nails relevant simply through writing better songs than most people, and the first track from With Teeth is a good example. It doesn’t build and build like ‘Somewhat Damaged’, but it turns into a pretty banging house tune at the end.

6. I’m Afraid of Americans

It’s not strictly a Nine Inch Nails song, it’s good old David Bowie, but there’s a Nine Inch Nails remix in which Reznor appears and it’s basically become one of his own, in my bloodshot, weary eyes. Props for the video too, in which a chubby Trent stalks lovely old David Bowie through New York or something. It’s a bit like something that happened with me and Russ Abbott once.

Nine Inch Nails are currently out on the road across Europe, and arrive here for the UK leg of their tour from Sunday. There are still a few tickets left for select dates – check out NIN.com for more details – but here’s what we’re getting from Trent & co. this time around:

NIN May 2014 tour dates
18 Birmingham LG Arena
20 Glasgow Hydro Arena
21 Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
23 London O2 Arena
24 Nottingham Capital FM Arena
25 Manchester Phones 4u Arena


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