Nine Inch Nails release
energetic live album
Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has
always said his band is an ongoing project. The songs are works in progress,
even when committed to tape. Through the
years, Reznor has released numerous EPs filled with remixes or alternative
versions of songs.
While Reznor may be an artist first, spending
an endless amount of time locked away in a studio tends to take the life
out of a song. So,
much like Radiohead, the true challenge
for the artist is to translate the works into a performance, to reinvigorate
them. And in some cases,
to inject anger into artificial rock 'n'
Photo courtesy of nothing
Nine Inch Nails frontman
Trent Reznor shows his versatility on stage on the band's new live album
And All That Could Have Been.
Reznor and company do just that with Nine
Inch Nails' latest release, And All That Could Have Been (Live). It was
recorded during the
band's 2000 tour. For better or worse,
a live album gives songs some sense of completeness. There's no way to
release a deconstructed
Part of the attraction of a live album
is its ability to convey a sense of urgency. The arrangements may change
from one night to the next,
but for those two hours, the fans get
to experience the music instead of just listening to it.
Starting with a crunching version of "Terrible
Lie" from 1989's Pretty Hate Machine, the album rarely lets up, going through
of "March of the Pigs" from 1994's The
Downward Spiral and the song that helped introduce Reznor, "Head Like A
Hole." The latter
actually sounds like techno funk.
Live, "Closer," from Spiral, becomes more
urgent than the version that gave the band its greatest exposure. Out of
the studio, it becomes a
real rock song, hypnotizing listeners
with pulsating beats, distorted guitars and keyboards.
But Reznor does more than act like an angst-filled
rock star. Some of the songs are more delicate and "deconstructed" than
on any remix
album. "The Great Below" almost sounds
too pretty to be a Nine Inch Nails song. And the closing "Hurt" finds Reznor
close to falling apart.
Reznor (vocals, guitar, keyboards) was
joined on tour by Robin Finck (guitar, keyboards), Danny Lohner (bass,
guitar, keyboards), Charlie
Clouser (keyboards, theremin) and Jerome
Half of the set list comes from 1999's
The Fragile, but it's littered with some of Reznor's best compositions.
It's a good document of what
was described as one of the best shows
of 2000 — and one of the better live albums to come out in some time.
Nine Inch Nails
And All That Could Have Been (Live)
— Ed De La Garza
Daily Cougar Staff
After 11 years and four albums, alternative
rock act Cracker recently released one of its strongest CDs yet.
Forever continues the Richmond, Va.-based
band's tradition of clever and literate songwriting propelled by a catchy,
The album's musical influences range all
over the popular map, from the thrash-metal-esque "Guarded by Monkeys"
to the r&b-inspired
"Shameless" to the hip-hop-flavored "What
Lead vocalist David Lowery and lead guitarist
Johnny Hickman, either alone or together, write all of the album's 13 tracks.
You're Missing," a sort of hip-hop autobiography
of the band, the other three members contribute one verse each.)
It's fairly hard to peg any major themes
that run through the songs, except perhaps the lifestyle vagaries of the
young, hip and lost in
The title phrase of "Guarded by Monkeys,"
which seems to refer to the wildness of the narrator's love interest, pops
up in a few tracks.
One of the stranger tunes, "Superfan" is
a kind of 21st century update on the Police's "I'll Be Watching You." The
narrator is a rock
fan/stalker who sings to the object of
his affection: "I'll track you down, steal your mail/ A lock of hair, some
fingernails/ A piece of you on my
shrine/ Now you're with me all the time."
Other standout tracks are "Shine," a bluesy
tune in which the narrator tries to convince his girlfriend that she has
a lot to offer the world, and
"Shameless," a bouncy number with a vastly
Back Porch Records
— Ken Fountain
Senior Staff Writer