Hesitation Marks: Nine Inch Nails Are Back


By Danny Thompson

After taking a few year break from recording as Nine Inch Nails to pursue other projects, Trent Reznor is back at it with his latest NIN album, Hesitation Marks. From the very title of the album, one knows that this will be more of the classic twisted Trent that put him on the alternative music map in the early nineties, and the tracks don’t disappoint. Even to a rocker like myself who will grab a guitar over a synthesizer any day of the week, Hesitation Marks was a good listen.

What makes industrial music so unique is the fact that it mixes danceable house music-esque beats with darker lyrical themes that belong in a grunge song. This crossover is incredibly evident on “Copy of A” which consists of Reznor’s lyrics about feeling purposeless and homogenized being laid over what would be an otherwise party worthy beat. That’s essentially industrial rock’s M.O.: you could dance to this, but you really wouldn’t want to. The beats give the songs energy and move them along, and the lyrics give the songs an added amount of depth.

Another highlight for me was the slightly more psychedelic track “Find My Way.” Lyrically it’s sort of a cry to the sky for guidance, and it works perfectly with a beat that almost put me in a trance listening to it. Every track on Hesitation marks has it’s own character, and “Find My Way” is one of the more unique ones.

The track that most jumped out at me, and most likely will to any listener, is “Everything.” Rather than another dance beat with dark lyrics, this song really sings at you, if you will. Reznor employs a greater range of instruments with the use of a guitar and an electronic drum kit. It’s the poppiest song on the album and works as a nice change of pace from the darker lyrical tracks that populate the rest of the record.

Overall, it’s safe to say that Nine Inch Nails are back. As Trent Reznor ages, so does his sound, but it maintains the same tenacity that made Pretty Hate Machine popular over 20 years ago. For me, this album was a change of pace from what I usually listen to, but I liked it a lot. No two tracks sounded the same, and that’s quite hard to achieve for an industrial rock act. Every song had feeling behind it, and I didn’t want to stop listening.

4/5 Stars