Week 7: Nine Inch Nails (#94)

This week’s artist might be a tougher sell for some of our participants.  When I was in my “dark years” in high school, Nine Inch Nails were a staple in my music diet.  Heavy, industrial, dissonant sounds resonated with the struggle that defined navigating the transition to adulthood through adolescence, balancing the expectations of parents, school and polite society.

As my parents might have said, “Don’t people listen to music any more these days?” Nine Inch Nails was known for starting with different assumptions about what music should be.  It could be made with a computer.  It could be made with found sounds, whatever was local to the artist.  It could play with textures and rhythms and what kept it music was that some people accepted it that way.

As a teen, my parents’ rejection of my music felt like a rejection of me (though time has taught me that it was more like a misalignment of tastes and values for a period, and a misalignment that most parents go through with their teens.)  In retrospect, I imagine it is for the best that they never gave my musical choices a chance and never sat down to listen to it.  When I listen now, I realize how dark, how explicit and how full of raw pain expression this music was.  Trying to listen together might not have been a bonding experience.

This is where the rubber meets the road of the Music project.  I urge people to give NIN a close listening, even if you do not find it pleasant.  This is where I see an opportunity to experience putting aside our first reactions and try to understand what the music is trying to communicate.

Parents please note: Nine Inch Nails is an artist that will require parental screening, for language and for content.

David Bowie introduces Nine Inch Nails on the Top 100 Artists list here (could there even BE a higher endorsement?): Rolling Stone Top 100 Artists: Nine Inch Nails
I really look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts this week!
Hop into the discussion and share what you listen to – what’s it got you thinking about?  Lean more about the Music Project here.

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