Tuesday, February 12, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 91


 
 









 
 

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, never completed
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' roll.


Photo courtesy of nothing records


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
live album.

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 searing takes
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 Dillon (drums).

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)

nothing records

4 stars

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, roots-driven and
multi-layered sound.

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 You're Missing."

Lead vocalist David Lowery and lead guitarist Johnny Hickman, either alone or together, write all of the album's 13 tracks. (On "What
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
modern America.

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 different message.

Cracker

Forever

Back Porch Records

4 stars

Ken Fountain

Senior Staff Writer
 
 
 
 
 

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