Title : The Slip (2008)
Genre : Industrial Rock
Rating : ***** **½ (out of 10*)
This Week I'm Listening To...
Trent Reznor celebrates NIN's freedom from a record company telling them what to sound like by releasing not one, but two free-to-download CD's in 2008. The first one, Ghosts I-IV, is a study in minimalism. OTOH, The Slip is a legitimate full-length CD (10 tracks; almost 44 minutes) that you can legally snag with Reznor's blessing at (where else?) http://www.nin.com/ .
What's To Like...
I have to start by saying that this is the first NIN album that I have ever listened to in depth. So I won't be comparing it to any of their earlier stuff.
The arrangements are excellent. I presume I have Reznor to thank for that. The lyrics are adequate, and you can understand what he's saying. (Methinks I've been listening to too much Doom Metal lately). The instrumental portions are really quite good.
And did I mention this - it's free!
What's Not To Like...
Okay, enough of the guitar reverb already. Who do you think you are, Jimi Hendrix? Reznor also has this annoying habit of taking a couple bars of perfectly good music, and repeating them ad nauseum. The spirit of Erik Satie must be possessing his soul.
Last, and least, this disk seems to freak out my truck's CD player. Normally it is constantly spitting out the Track Number, and how many seconds have played on any individual track. But with The Slip, all it does is keep repeating "Unknown Artist - Unknown Album" over and over again. Weird.
The Din of NIN...
I suspect that NIN is, like red wine, Polka-Metal, and Salvador Dali, an acquired taste. Lots of people have given their opinions of The Slip at RateYourMusic; there doesn't seem to be any consensus. Some, like me, think that Tracks 6-10 are better than Tracks 1-5. Others think that Reznor hasn't done anything good since the mid-90's I do find it amazing that the overall rating for Ghosts I-IV is higher than The Slip at RYM (3.53 vs. 3.35).
Personally, I found myself liking this album a lot more than I anticipated. I was expecting thrashing, gnashing, and bashing; instead I got ten catchy, carefully-constructed songs. We'll give it 7½ stars, and bump that up to eight if they cut back a bit on the distorted guitar. And maybe-just-maybe allow ourselves to be talked into going to see them in concert the next time they pass thru Phoenix.