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Thread: Underrated NIN songs/albums

  1. #1
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    Underrated NIN songs/albums

    Simply put, what are NIN songs and/or albums that you think are underrated (Or you like but most people don't). Mine would have to be:

    Songs:
    Not So Pretty Now
    Everything
    Running
    Getting Smaller
    Ripe (With Decay)

    Albums:
    The Fragile Right
    The Slip
    Hesitation Marks
    (All of these really do have some nice gems that most people seem to ignore)

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    Songs (one per album):

    That's What I Get

    It's endearing in its earnestness, its got a sincerity in its cheesiness, and instrumentally/production-wise it's fucking great. You can hear Trent figuring out "the NIN sound" on it in a very serious way, and I'd say that it and Ringfinger are the two clearest examples of the learning he was up to at the time.

    Help Me I'm in Hell

    NIN isn't a band I often associate with guitars when I think of how it sounds. This is the real beginning of Trent branching out into instrumental songs along with Pinion (and this more ... dynamic? than Pinion is). Historically alone it's important for the band that would go on to release an incredible wealth of instrumental work, and it feels like a precursor to the work he'd later do with film scores. It's interesting, it's cinematic, it's haunting and a much-needed anxious break from the assault of Broken that makes the whole release more interesting to me. It's all the helplessness beneath the rage revealed for just a second, for just long enough to make the anger iod the surrounding songs seem desperate rather than childishly triumphant.

    I Do Not Want This

    It's hard to say that there is anything "underrated" about The Downward Spiral, but IDNWT is less-mentioned and sonically impeccable. It has the dual personalities at war with one another illustrated more clearly on one song than anywhere else on the album, aiding the clarity of the concept heavily, and the production is just totally immersive. The use of distortion, the rise and crash of the dissonance, the last-ditch attempt at any form of empowerment -- it's a perfect and yet less-obvious example of what the album is doing so well, just with less of the glamorousness of other choices.

    Complication

    It tells a narrative with no words, it does what Help Me ... does which is making the NIN sound guitar riff oriented, it feels like an intense and incredible amphetamine rush followed by the empty burnout at the end that anyone on coke has felt and always makes me pixture cars speeding down a dark highway before stalling out beneath an overpass. It's fantastic and I'd listen to it over most songs with vocals on Right. It shined hard on the Fragility tour and it's a damn shame it has been entirely absent from live shows ever since.

    Adrift and at Peace

    Gentle, charming and understated, it's one of the least heavily-depressive songs from this time period and yet seems like a calm meditation on an underlying sadness present. It's a beautiful piece and an example of what I love most about Trent sat behind a piano.

    Only

    NIN is one of those bands where people tend to shit the most on all the singles. Only has been mocked, bitched about and generally treated as a punchline, with Trent himself once jokingly referring to it as his "gay disco song" at a live show some time in 07. But I think it's got way more to it of merit than the average fan gives it credit for -- an excellent representative of the classic fight between two sides of the self that NIN is all about, it presents the solipsistic, fading-from-reality vibe of With_Teeth perfectly while digging its teeth into the more groove-oriented sound that would go on to color the band's more accessible songs in the future. Trent Reznor knows how to write a compelling pop song that you can't play on the radio and Only is a fine example of that.

    The Warning

    Another song bitched about by live veterans and many fans, The Warning is conceptually a massive puzzle piece in the Year Zero box and gives a voice to The Presence in a way little else does. Trent offers a subdued, seething vocal take and the bass line drives the whole thing home, the song playing with vocal effects in a way oddly reminscent of The Downward Spiral and the comic built around it from the ARG only makes it a better song. Live it shines with a fantastic example of the intricate minimalism the band is capable of and it manages to offer a breather without being a snooze, trading high energy for brooding intensity.


    36 Ghosts IV

    This is sad, pale sky setting sun as the stars have just yet to ahine Reznor composition that I think of whensver I think of his sparse, melancholic piano style. After such a massive album it's understandable that it's somewhat forgotten, and it offers none od the overt thrills that some of the busier Ghosts tracks provide, but it does what the whole album sets out to do beautifully: creates a specific mental space that allows you to fill in the rest. The ending always reminds me of the sucking sounds on erasser, and it leaves me feeling haunted by something I can't remember even having, let alone having lost, a perfect closing point to an album titled Ghosts.

    Echoplex

    Another gripe-favorite. It captures the sense of withdrawn irrelevance that all post-Fragile era NIN material has revolved around in a compelling way, with an interesting groove that it seems to never escape, mirroring the feeling of walls closing in that you can't get away from. It may bore people now, but the drum machine on stage for Lights in the Sky was jaw-dropping the first time any of us saw it, and it offers a rarity in the NIN catalog for live shows -- something more mid-tempo, not pulse-pounding but not totally solitary, either. It feels like everything The Slip centered around sonically and lyrically all wrapped up into one song, and I love it.

    Running

    If Trent Reznor tried his hand at making a song intended for Talking Heads' Speaking in Tongues, this would probably be it. It's an exhausting listen, which is exactly where the narrator finds themselves, featuring a bizarre and alien sound that absconds structure and builds itself around an increasingly-anxiety-inducing groove, feeling like you're dehydrated on a treadmill and losing your mind, with a nice lyrical reference to Hurt to boot, a nice reminder of Hesitation Marks' ties to The Downward Spiral.

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    I Like Dudes

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    Album:

    Ghosts




    Songs:

    Kinda I Want To
    I Do Not Want This
    No, You Don't
    Where Is Everybody?
    The Mark Has Been Made
    I'm Looking Forward To Joining You, Finally
    Deep
    With Teeth
    The Line Begins To Blur
    Capital G
    Another Version Of The Truth
    Echoplex
    Corona Radiata
    The Four Of Us Are Dying
    Disappointed
    Various Methods Of Escape
    I Would For You
    In Two

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    Let's see...

    Songs:
    Ringfinger
    Eraser
    I'm Looking Forward To Joining You, Finally
    Ripe (With Decay)
    The Persistence Of Loss
    With Teeth
    Another Version Of The Truth
    28 Ghosts IV
    Head Down
    Various Methods Of Escape

    Albums:
    Ghosts I-IV and Hesitation Marks

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    That's very subjective..., let's try:

    Gave up (recently discovered it's wasn't a fans favorite among the Broken EP)
    The Becoming
    The Frail/The Wretched
    Complication
    Where is Everybody?
    The Persistence of Loss
    The Collector
    Right Where it Belongs
    Meet your Master
    Survivalism
    Echoplex
    Demon Seed
    Satellite
    Various Methods Of Escape
    In Two

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kleiner352 View Post
    Songs (one per album):

    That's What I Get

    It's endearing in its earnestness, its got a sincerity in its cheesiness, and instrumentally/production-wise it's fucking great. You can hear Trent figuring out "the NIN sound" on it in a very serious way, and I'd say that it and Ringfinger are the two clearest examples of the learning he was up to at the time.

    Help Me I'm in Hell

    NIN isn't a band I often associate with guitars when I think of how it sounds. This is the real beginning of Trent branching out into instrumental songs along with Pinion (and this more ... dynamic? than Pinion is). Historically alone it's important for the band that would go on to release an incredible wealth of instrumental work, and it feels like a precursor to the work he'd later do with film scores. It's interesting, it's cinematic, it's haunting and a much-needed anxious break from the assault of Broken that makes the whole release more interesting to me. It's all the helplessness beneath the rage revealed for just a second, for just long enough to make the anger iod the surrounding songs seem desperate rather than childishly triumphant.

    I Do Not Want This

    It's hard to say that there is anything "underrated" about The Downward Spiral, but IDNWT is less-mentioned and sonically impeccable. It has the dual personalities at war with one another illustrated more clearly on one song than anywhere else on the album, aiding the clarity of the concept heavily, and the production is just totally immersive. The use of distortion, the rise and crash of the dissonance, the last-ditch attempt at any form of empowerment -- it's a perfect and yet less-obvious example of what the album is doing so well, just with less of the glamorousness of other choices.

    Complication

    It tells a narrative with no words, it does what Help Me ... does which is making the NIN sound guitar riff oriented, it feels like an intense and incredible amphetamine rush followed by the empty burnout at the end that anyone on coke has felt and always makes me pixture cars speeding down a dark highway before stalling out beneath an overpass. It's fantastic and I'd listen to it over most songs with vocals on Right. It shined hard on the Fragility tour and it's a damn shame it has been entirely absent from live shows ever since.

    Adrift and at Peace

    Gentle, charming and understated, it's one of the least heavily-depressive songs from this time period and yet seems like a calm meditation on an underlying sadness present. It's a beautiful piece and an example of what I love most about Trent sat behind a piano.

    Only

    NIN is one of those bands where people tend to shit the most on all the singles. Only has been mocked, bitched about and generally treated as a punchline, with Trent himself once jokingly referring to it as his "gay disco song" at a live show some time in 07. But I think it's got way more to it of merit than the average fan gives it credit for -- an excellent representative of the classic fight between two sides of the self that NIN is all about, it presents the solipsistic, fading-from-reality vibe of With_Teeth perfectly while digging its teeth into the more groove-oriented sound that would go on to color the band's more accessible songs in the future. Trent Reznor knows how to write a compelling pop song that you can't play on the radio and Only is a fine example of that.

    The Warning

    Another song bitched about by live veterans and many fans, The Warning is conceptually a massive puzzle piece in the Year Zero box and gives a voice to The Presence in a way little else does. Trent offers a subdued, seething vocal take and the bass line drives the whole thing home, the song playing with vocal effects in a way oddly reminscent of The Downward Spiral and the comic built around it from the ARG only makes it a better song. Live it shines with a fantastic example of the intricate minimalism the band is capable of and it manages to offer a breather without being a snooze, trading high energy for brooding intensity.


    36 Ghosts IV

    This is sad, pale sky setting sun as the stars have just yet to ahine Reznor composition that I think of whensver I think of his sparse, melancholic piano style. After such a massive album it's understandable that it's somewhat forgotten, and it offers none od the overt thrills that some of the busier Ghosts tracks provide, but it does what the whole album sets out to do beautifully: creates a specific mental space that allows you to fill in the rest. The ending always reminds me of the sucking sounds on erasser, and it leaves me feeling haunted by something I can't remember even having, let alone having lost, a perfect closing point to an album titled Ghosts.

    Echoplex

    Another gripe-favorite. It captures the sense of withdrawn irrelevance that all post-Fragile era NIN material has revolved around in a compelling way, with an interesting groove that it seems to never escape, mirroring the feeling of walls closing in that you can't get away from. It may bore people now, but the drum machine on stage for Lights in the Sky was jaw-dropping the first time any of us saw it, and it offers a rarity in the NIN catalog for live shows -- something more mid-tempo, not pulse-pounding but not totally solitary, either. It feels like everything The Slip centered around sonically and lyrically all wrapped up into one song, and I love it.

    Running

    If Trent Reznor tried his hand at making a song intended for Talking Heads' Speaking in Tongues, this would probably be it. It's an exhausting listen, which is exactly where the narrator finds themselves, featuring a bizarre and alien sound that absconds structure and builds itself around an increasingly-anxiety-inducing groove, feeling like you're dehydrated on a treadmill and losing your mind, with a nice lyrical reference to Hurt to boot, a nice reminder of Hesitation Marks' ties to The Downward Spiral.
    kleiner wins this thread.

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    Yes Thats all for nowKleiner thank you for that post, very enjoyable and exactly what I was hoping for when I clicked on this thread. I'm not going to go album by album but instead just rifle some off with some thoughts.

    I'm going to go with;

    Demon Seed.
    If only for the break down / closer-esque muffled vocals in the last third. It sounds like the Nine Inch Nails of 2000's evolving as music technology evolves around it and in synthesis with it (bearing in mind this is coming from someone who has a child's knowledge of music production). It seems almost reminiscent of alot of TF, with it's crescendos and lulls in that last third too. I'm not going to go into what I think the song is about but like so many NIN songs it seems to be reflecting on his development as an artist, both in terms of lyrics and sound.


    Discipline
    The straight to your face drums intro and catchy riff make what should have been a great big radio hit. It sounds like the "happiest" NIN has been and goddamm that falsetto "ohh-ohh-ohh-hoo-hooo" just works in the context of the song, even though it probably shouldn't. If Only was the beginning of NINPOP (which it wasn't), this is it's logical conclusion and, IMHO, the best single NIN could have used for radio / mainstream play. Considering so many pop-songs are good for a few listens then are disposable, I think this has the NIN quality that keeps you wanting to listen to it again and again; It was at the top of my most played for years and I'm still not sick of it at all. It's not the most complex song but it is complex enough to earn repeat listens while still being enjoyable.

    The Warning
    This song is fascinating. I couldn't have come up with the phrase, but as Kleiner said "intricate minimalism" make this song the outstanding track that it is. The harsh sounding but satisfyingly distorted guitars suggest the internal battle between man and machine we saw in TDS while sounding fresh with the rest of the soundscape.

    The Day The World Went Away (Quiet)
    I often wonder why this isn't the version on the album because everything about it is superior to the version we got. I'm not sure if it's underrated by ETS but I sure feel like it doesn't get enough vocal love for it's haunting vocals and "nah nah nah naah" intro and subdued musical qualities. The layering of Trent's voice and the repetition in that intro give me chills, it always felt like it was the audio equivalent of what it's like to be inside someone's head while they deal with denial, being overwhelmed with self-abusive thoughts and feeling. Sure, I love the aggressive outro of the album version but I feel like even that is overshadowed by the rest of the Quiet mix.

    Underneath it All
    Certainly not my favourite track from TF and not the most elegantly written lyrics but the simple rhymes "Kill my brain, yet you still remain, Crucifed after all I've died...you remain, I am stained" just work. It's punchy, it's memorable and it doesn't overstay its welcome. If this song had of been even 3mins+ it wouldn't have as much of an impact as it does.

    Sunspots
    Hmm, I guess I love Trent singing falsetto. The riff that was incorporated into another live song recently (the droney whine kind of thing) is juat one element in this noisy desperate outpouring.

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    Songs:

    10 Miles High

    Deep

    AWITHA TEETHA

    The Line Begins To Blur

    Non-Entity


    If these songs got more stagetime on tours, you’d get no complaint from me.

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    "No, You Don't" - Definitely poor judgment on track placement on an otherwise flawless album, but the song as a stand-alone track is great (in my opinion). That 7-second otherworldly earfuck at the end is pretty gnarly.

    "Deep" - I'm with the above post. Lyrically and audibly pleasing to the ear.

    "The Way Out is Through" - I can't think of a better way to start the back half of The Fragile. The build, the explosion; unorthodox, but precise. End ends abruptly where it begins--right "into....[the void]."

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    Part of me wants to say No You Don't should have been reserved for Things Falling Apart, but that staticy distorted blast to the end that suddenly spits you out into the soft keys of La Mer honestly summarizes everything beautiful and perfect about that album to me.

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    And All That Could Have Been (song).
    I would always listen to it a lot on grey days. And it just hit me that it is the last song on Still that has vocals. The Persistence of Loss and Leaving Hope are the final nails on the coffin, the sign that Trent felt powerless and gave up hope that he could ever make music again. I'm so grateful that not only he survived the downfall, but that he returned stronger than ever and felt a newfound joy in creating music.

    The rocky path towards With Teeth, with many songs going back to basics with piano and guitar (because Trent was, like he said, "cautious" about ever making good music again) only serves to illustrate the greatness of Still's final three songs, because, they, too, feature mostly piano and guitar. While Gave Up was aggressive nihilism, AATCHB was defeated nihilism. "Please, take this and run far away from me": It could be interpreted as Trent passing the baton to other musicians (like his bandmembers at the time), because he felt he could never be happy again after his downfall.

    It is a desperate, destroyed song, but it makes me smile. If Trent survived that, he truly can survive everything.

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    Eraser
    Ripe With Decay
    Sunspots

    and the greatest song of all time, And All That Could Have Been

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    I think My Violent Heart is quite overlooked.

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    Agreed Ryan. I remember when that got leaked for YZ I became so psyched for the record, b/c the sounds in that song were so wild to me.

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    Was listening to it earlier today:

    The Beginning of the End

    Goddamn, that outro.

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    I figure I owe an explanation for MY opinions too.

    Not So Pretty Now:
    As someone that grew up listening to a LOT of music genres, I can appreciate the very different sound this song has.


    Everything:
    Same deal as NSPN


    Running:
    I found this song as being slightly remiscent of Ruiner, one of my personal favorites, so I appreciate it for that. Also the funky synths in the pre-chorus.


    Getting Smaller:
    Same as NSPN


    Ripe (With Decay):
    This is honestly a fitting closer to The Fragile. The dimness parallels the mood in Somewhat Damaged quite well, but this time he feels different about it (hence the instrumentation). They just tried everything to fix themself, and failed. They are where they started, but now with all that failure weighing them down.


    (Explanations for the albums will be quite simple)
    The Fragile Right:
    The Way Out Is Through, Into The Void, Mark Has Been Made, 10 Miles High, Please, and Underneath It All. All fantastic songs (Complication is also starting to grow on me)

    The Slip:
    Head Down and Letting You are nice callbacks to Year Zero (even dealing with similar themes), and Lights In The Sky is a great fusion of We're In This Together and Right Where It Belongs.

    Hesitation Marks:
    Copy Of A, All Time Low, I Would For You, and While I'm Still Here are the highlights of this album for me, and I definitely recommend I Would For You for people that dislike this album.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bachy View Post
    Was listening to it earlier today:

    The Beginning of the End

    Goddamn, that outro.
    The song is a bit too straight ahead rock for my liking but yes, the outro is great

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    Quote Originally Posted by kleiner352 View Post
    Only

    NIN is one of those bands where people tend to shit the most on all the singles. Only has been mocked, bitched about and generally treated as a punchline, with Trent himself once jokingly referring to it as his "gay disco song" at a live show some time in 07. But I think it's got way more to it of merit than the average fan gives it credit for -- an excellent representative of the classic fight between two sides of the self that NIN is all about, it presents the solipsistic, fading-from-reality vibe of With_Teeth perfectly while digging its teeth into the more groove-oriented sound that would go on to color the band's more accessible songs in the future. Trent Reznor knows how to write a compelling pop song that you can't play on the radio and Only is a fine example of that.
    To me the song always felt like Trent trying to pull a James Murphy, but ultimately failing at it.

    The remix by EL-P is where it's at, for me. The way he replaced the poppy disco sound of the original with this slow, gritty and dark drunk of a beat suited the vibe of the lyrics and the way Trent sang them much much more, imo.
    To me it's one of the greatest remixes ever done of anyone by anybody.

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    Quote Originally Posted by r_z View Post
    To me the song always felt like Trent trying to pull a James Murphy, but ultimately failing at it.

    The remix by EL-P is where it's at, for me. The way he replaced the poppy disco sound of the original with this slow, gritty and dark drunk of a beat suited the vibe of the lyrics and the way Trent sang them much much more, imo.
    To me it's one of the greatest remixes ever done of anyone by anybody.
    I love the El-P remix a ton, along with the Everyday Is Exactly the Same remix from that time period. Big fan of both.

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    EL-P = Extremely Large-Penis

    That's why @kleiner352 loves it

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    On the subject of remixes - the DFA versions of The Hand That Feeds are extremely underrated, and therefore should be released on high quality download as soon as possible. Or do we have to wait for the 30th anniversary reissue of With Teeth?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipRock View Post
    On the subject of remixes - the DFA versions of The Hand That Feeds are extremely underrated, and therefore should be released on high quality download as soon as possible. Or do we have to wait for the 30th anniversary reissue of With Teeth?
    There is a promo CD full of 'em. Good luck!!!

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    'Deep' It has so many elements and a small guitar solo with wah pedal/effects. Its a great rock song and high energy. The ending builds up, I love when NIN spends 2 minutes ending a song!!!!

    I fucking love it and wish NIN did more songs like this/style.

    I wish I had a high quality version, its not on Spotify.

    Play it loud!

    Last edited by snaapz; 06-12-2018 at 11:32 AM.

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    Entirety of The Slip.

    Just The Slip, it's an amazing album.

    Especially the instrumentals, they're some of the most underrated works in NIN's discography.

    I fucking love The Slip.

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    Honestly, I think 'Not the Actual Events' and 'Year Zero' are painfully underrated records. Year Zero to me was THE perfect record for the time and to this day is one hell of a listen. From beginning to end it was awesome. What really disappointed me about it was that there really wasn't a North American Tour for it. It was a pretty topical/political record (for NIN standards) and a lot of the themes (10+ years later) still apply. LOVE. IT. I want that vinyl reissue so damn bad.

    Not the Actual Events has been on repeat for me for the last two weeks. At first I was like "Hmmm, this is just noise...." Then Add Violence came out and had Less Than (which is a killer track) and I was like "This is more like it, maybe I should re-visit that 'other EP..." and never have I wanted to slap myself so hard before. I must have been drunk or something when I first listened to it because clearly I missed how fn AWESOME the whole thing is. I just wish Branches/Bones was longer.

    As for songs, the most under rated (IMO) is Underneath it all from the Fragile.

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    Non Entity for me, i just wish it got the studio time it deserved.

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    Albums : Hesitations marks , Add Violence (?) The slip, Still (This is a perfect album and deserve all the love in the world)

    Songs :
    Ghosts (8,32 this song so fucking good, 36)
    Year Zero : (God Given , Another Version of the truth , Good soldier)
    With teeth : I do not know if this album is underrated, it has a lot of love, but Sunspots, Right where it belongs, The line begins to blur, Home need to be played again in the tour ... and I have a little problem with teeth the song, I'm not a fan of the song but the brige with that piano part is amazing (I hope Trent can use that part in another song as In this Twilight/Zero Sum or closer/the only time)
    The Fragile : They need to play a lot of songs again (starfuckers , No You Don't, La mer, into the void, complication, the Great Below, Where is everybody, Underneth it all, We're in this together, Fragile.
    Pretty Hate Machine : Sin!!! kinda I want to
    Broken : Help me I'm in Hell

    Other songs : 24 hours (Joy division cover) , Atmosphere (Joy Division Cover) ,Metal ( Gary Numan Cover ) Non Entity and Democracy (Killing Joke)


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    Quote Originally Posted by renton44 View Post
    Honestly, I think 'Not the Actual Events' and 'Year Zero' are painfully underrated records. Year Zero to me was THE perfect record for the time and to this day is one hell of a listen. From beginning to end it was awesome. What really disappointed me about it was that there really wasn't a North American Tour for it. It was a pretty topical/political record (for NIN standards) and a lot of the themes (10+ years later) still apply. LOVE. IT. I want that vinyl reissue so damn bad.

    Not the Actual Events has been on repeat for me for the last two weeks. At first I was like "Hmmm, this is just noise...." Then Add Violence came out and had Less Than (which is a killer track) and I was like "This is more like it, maybe I should re-visit that 'other EP..." and never have I wanted to slap myself so hard before. I must have been drunk or something when I first listened to it because clearly I missed how fn AWESOME the whole thing is. I just wish Branches/Bones was longer.

    As for songs, the most under rated (IMO) is Underneath it all from the Fragile.
    Fully agree on Underneath It All. I guess I agree about Year Zero as well, because a lot of people here seem to love it but I can't get it at all. Or maybe it is overrated and it is everybody else that is wrong.

  30. #30
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    I Would For You. The song almost sounds anthemic, but there's so much raw emotion and honesty, particularly in the chorus, that it's set apart from other NIN tracks. All of the layers of synths and swarming guitars are brilliant, and the outro never fails to be engaging. One of the reasons why HM is such a great record, the songs have so much emotional impact, especially in the second half.

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