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Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks

Nine Inch Nails – 'Hesitation Marks' album review

A classic NIN album: nasty, dark and packed with pop hooks

By Eddy Frankel
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Back in 2009, Trent Reznor told us that Nine Inch Nails was dead. He pointed a middle finger at record labels, quit touring and buried his most successful creation. But – surprise, surprise – he’s back, touring a new album (on a major label) and reminding us all why he’s still the goth king of electro-sad. ‘Hesitation Marks’ continues Reznor’s process of stripping away the elements to reveal an altogether colder, bleaker musical form.

It’s a minimalist voyage through a stark world of modular synths, processed beats and self-loathing. It may not have the youthful hate and aggression of earlier work, but you’d better believe it’s still full of misery. ‘Copy of A’ is a brilliant statement of intent, and tracks like ‘I Would For You’ keep the downward momentum going. The real surprise is ‘Everything’: three minutes of pure pop punk. That’s right – just for one track, Trent went all Avril Lavigne.

But in the end, this is a nasty, dark record that’s incredibly pop at the same time. It won’t convert you if you’ve always hated NIN, but it’s a stonking addition to the canon. Buy this album here

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