Trent Reznor Criticizes Nine Inch Nails Album: ‘I Forgot I Even Wrote That Song’

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Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor discussed Hesitation Marks and With Teeth in a new NIN.com interview.

OBVIOUSLY YOU’VE EXPLORED VIOLENCE AND AGGRESSION BEFORE, BUT THIS FEELS LIKE A RETURN TO THAT WAVELENGTH. AND THE SHOWS YOU PLAYED LAST YEAR FOLLOWED SUIT. THEY WERE SPARE AND LOUD AND PENETRATING. I’VE HEARD YOU TALK BEFORE ABOUT THE CHALLENGE OF REACHING PEOPLE THROUGH THE POLARIZED HAZE OF ONLINE LIFE, I WONDER IF YOU SEE NINE INCH NAILS, AND PARTICULARLY THIS MORE AGGRESSIVE SIDE OF NINE INCH NAILS, AS AN ANTIDOTE TO ALL THAT, AS A KIND OF EXISTENTIAL GREASE CUTTER. IS THAT WHERE THE NEED TO BE EXTRA ABRASIVE IS COMING FROM?

I THINK THE IMPETUS FOR THIS TRILOGY … GOD, I SOUNDS LIKE SPINAL TAP. LOOK, WHEN I THINK BACK TO THE LAST PROPER ALBUM, HESITATION MARKS, I DON’T REALLY KNOW WHO THAT GUY IS. LIKE, MY HEAD ISN’T THERE ANYMORE. AND IT WASN’T THAT LONG AGO. WE WERE JUST INTO SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT. I’M MAKING SET LISTS FOR SHOWS COMING UP AND THERE’S VERY LITTLE ON THERE FROM THAT ALBUM BECAUSE I DON’T FEEL IT RIGHT NOW. WHEREAS, I WAS REALLY DOWN ON WITH TEETH FOR A LONG TIME BUT NOW, FOR WHATEVER REASON, IT SOUNDS GOOD TO ME. NOT THAT I LISTEN TO IT THAT MUCH BUT IT POPPED ON THE OTHER DAY AND I THOUGHT, FUCK, I FORGOT I EVEN WROTE THAT SONG.

WHERE I’M GOING WITH THIS IS THAT THE STARTING POINT FOR NOT THE ACTUAL EVENTS CAME FROM LOOKING EXTERNALLY AND SAYING, WHAT’S MY PLACE IN THIS NOW? WHO AM I? AND AS A WRITER, WHAT CAN I SAY WITH AUTHORITY AND HONESTY? WHAT’S BULLSHIT, WHAT’S SOMETHING I THINK SOMEONE ELSE WANTS TO HEAR, AND WHAT’S REAL? BECAUSE, LOOK: I FEEL AT ODDS WITH THE COLLECTIVE OUTSIDE WORLD, WITH THE COLLECTIVE THEM.

I HEARD “HURT” ON THE RADIO ON THE WAY OVER HERE, JUST FYI.

OH YOU DID? ON THE SOUNDS OF THE 70S STATION? WERE THEY PLAYING IT OFF DAD ROCK VOLUME 62? NO, BUT WHAT I’M GETTING AT, IS, AS A WRITER: WHAT’S TRUE VERSUS WHAT’S MERELY REACTIVE?