It came out of nowhere like a bomb. But it’s a lovely bomb.
I’m far from the biggest Nine Inch Nails fan, but somehow I have most of their (or his) records; probably because there’s not that many despite increased output since the middle of this decade.
Anyway, I downloaded the album, from a pirate site, although I paid the $5 (which was about £3) to the site which offered me a link that would cut off after a few kb and then tell me I exceeded my limit (still got no reply about that), and I liked it. I really liked it!
The things I never liked about Nine Inch Nails included lines like “broken bruised forgotten sore, too f*cked up too care anymore” delivered with fake macho angsty music that was Depeche Mode on steroids, with the subtlety of Kevin The Teenager. But amid all that, he can make some nice pop tunes and instrumentals when he sits down.
So, here Ghosts I-IV is all instrumentals. 110mins worth, 36 tracks born from a 10 week session. My criticism would be that a few tracks could’ve been shaved off but otherwise I enjoyed it immensely. To backtrack, those tracks that didn’t grab me, may at another occasion.
It’s not demeaning to say that this is background music: you’d probably ‘get it‘ mostly by playing it while looking out the window of a bus, train or plane, at night in bed or at a cafe. The music is largely simple rhythm, scatterings of riff and texture. You can tell there was some simplicity in making it, but simplicity doesn’t mean rubbish. You can make a really concentrated album that’s nothing but a pile of a crap. But even so there’s lots of detail here. I really think a lot of people outside of the NIN fanbase would love it. It’s not ground breaking, but it’s great. And it was a no-brainer as to who I would listen to between this and the new Charlatans record.
As for the model employed for distribution, I think it’s great as it’s shows an awareness of how things can work outside of the typical structure. At the same time though, I’m not too ‘woo’ about it. I wouldn’t mind listening to a great album if it came on a crackly, mono tape for £6. Sure it’s not quality or convenient, but I don’t care about the medium that much, I only care about the content.
Fortunately, Trent Reznor seems to have balanced both here. A thoroughly enjoyable record that I’ve played a lot (and will continue to) and would recommend to others. Thank you.