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.