So we've had some people (and when I say "some people," I mean JR) acridly observing that the new NIN album has not provoked much discussion. Well, I'm not ashamed to say that this new album does actually require some absorption before discussion, and um, well, it's all instrumental. I'm not really good at writing florid prose about the sublime places where transcendant music transports me, so if there's a lack of trenchant analysis and emotional outpouring, then blame me, not the music. As I would point out to our Anonymous WTC fan, I'm not Dierdre Keating.
But there are things to be said about this album, both complimentary and critical, so I think what Iris and I will do is write down what goes through our minds as we listen to Ghosts I-IV. After all, this is music for daydreaming and getting lost in your chain of thoughts. So, taking a break from my demanding workload and sneaking on my headphones at the office, here I go with the first installment:
1 Ghosts I--sounds like it could have been on "Still." Mostly just Trent and his piano, haunting and sad. If I could transport my novel from my head onto the page and then adapt it for the screen, this would so be the soundtrack. And what I love most about this album is that it makes me want to write my novel--it's saying to me, here is some art that I've made with my friends...you go make some too!
Hm, for a second, the music transported me to the dentist's office with a drill-like sound.
2 Ghosts I--omg, this is a long intro. I took a moment to IM Iris rather than capture my stream-of-consciousness thoughts. But never mind...here's the piano. Beautiful and bittersweet; echoing and distant.
3 Ghosts I--The pace picks up with this one. Trent's been listening to some world music lately, I think. It's very modern but indigenous-sounding nevertheless. Hints of South America and Australia, I think. At one point, I thought I heard Trent's bee/wasp sounds from Downward Spiral. A moment of Middle Eastern influence? And yes, I'm talking out of my ass about the global influences, but this almost doesn't feel like Trent Reznor or NIN. I'm really enjoying it, though. Even though it doesn't have a melody that catches in my head, it's pure enjoyment to hear.
4 Ghosts I--Starts off okay, gets kind of annoying for a moment, then improves with the drum part. More dischordant than other tracks...who let Jack White into the room? Uhhhh...not much to say about this one. It's not transporting me to distant lands or anything.
5 Ghosts I--I feel like I'm in the hospital, while starring in a David Lynch movie. There are definite shades of the Lost Highway soundtrack here, no? The piano part kind of echoes Track 2. Or Track 1, I can't remember right now. This sucking sound, it feels like I'm trapped inside some kind of hazardous materials suit or am behind Darth Vader's mask. Also, this music has turned kind of James Bond-ish.
6 Ghosts I--Oh fuck, it's this one. This one threatens to get stuck in my head and not in a good way. I mean, nice use of xylophone or whatever, but this one is pretty monotonous. I am tapping my fingers waiting to get to the next track. I'm sure this is of a similar length as the others, but it feels soooo long. Doo DOO doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo doo...
7 Ghosts I--Now, this is what I'm talking about! Funky, harder, sexier. Add in that guitar part...very sexy. It reminds me of "Closer" inasmuch as the air is filled with sounds that wouldn't by themselves sound remotely musical, yet I want to either dance or fuck to this. Since I am in the office, however, I will currently do neither.
8 Ghosts I--I feel like this track is very Year Zero or Niggy Tardust. Year Zero, especially. I hear shades of "Survivalism," definitely. I want to say more about this one, but uhhhhhhhh...I mean, writing about these songs is kind of like writing about wine. An industrial nose, goes down '70s hard rock, with a light, fruity finish.
9 Ghosts I--Back to the piano...reminiscent again of the Still tracks or "Zero Sum." A good song, doesn't overstay its welcome. Something about it reminds me of sitting in the house on a summer afternoon with nothing to do and looking through a window watching it rain, then seeing the sun come out, and watching it rain again.
And that, folks, is my take on the first installment of Ghosts I-IV. Stay tuned for Iris's thoughts, opinions, complaints, and gushing praise! In the meantime, add your own thoughts about any of the tracks or, you know, carry on with business as usual: