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Thread: halo twenty eight. hesitation marks. 09.03.2013

  1. #7141
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    "While I'm Still Here" and "Black Noise" had me in awe last night. I guess it was my first full listen since I bought some new head phones, but wow, I can't stop thinking about listening to those two songs again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by d1stinct View Post
    "While I'm Still Here" and "Black Noise" had me in awe last night. I guess it was my first full listen since I bought some new head phones, but wow, I can't stop thinking about listening to those two songs again.
    I always crave Branches/Bones after those. And then the rest of The Trilogy. And then the next NIN release. Thank you Black Noise.

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    Coming back to this album after all these years is interesting, it has aged incredibly well, years have done wonders for it, it sounds great and I can kind of see where all the connections to The Downward Spiral come from, even with its sound, it isn't distorted, loud, noisy as that album, but it has the same meliticousness, if that makes sense? Albums After Fragile and before Teeth were more "raw" with it sound, more stripped down, I am not calling those records bad by any means, but there was a change in direction, I feel like Hesitation Marks truly came back with that eye for detail which Fragile/Spiral are known for, with expansive atmospheric soundscapes which gave so much life to those two legendary albums. Does that make sense?

    I know that Hesitation Marks was called "minimal" and in some ways, it isn't wrong destripctor to make, a lot of these songs start off that way but eventually build up to these really complex soundscapes or even just transform into entirely something else entirely, songs go through various of forms on this album, which is also kind of reminding me of Spiral or Fragile, I cannot recall from With Teeth to Slip songs being that way, there are some, like say "All The Love In The World". But I feel like almost every single song on Hesitation Marks is like that, even "Everything" which is the shortest song on here has a really cool expansive outro.

    I'd like to copy-paste my RYM review, for my thoughts upon the record overall;

    Hesitation Marks comes five years after The Slip and is the polar opposite to that album in every possible way, where The Slip was urgent, raw, guitar-heavy and noisy, Hesitation Marks is careful, layered, the guitar is the supporting element to the songs rather than being the main part of the show here.

    NIN finds itself experimenting with grooves and other elements, which creates their most accessible album since With Teeth, it is arguably their least rock-focused main album. It is the most subtle album, where almost every song begins very minimal and is built upon more and more until it becomes something completely else, in a way, each song feels like a journey where you find yourself in a different place from where you began.

    There is a big focus on percussion, drum machines, the percussion work is some of the most impressive NIN ever had to offer. It feels as if the rest of the instruments are around them, creating feelings of claustrophobia. The guitar here, as previously noted, is mostly used to add more atmosphere to the songs, the best example of this can be seen on "Disappointed" where a swarming guitar enters ever so often.


    Each song does its best to cover a different, new ground for the band, from "Copy Of A's" infectious EBM attack, All Time Low's funk and Everything's undeniable The Cure influence. Even with all this, the album doesn't feel disjointed and each of these songs goes hand in hand, going into one another perfectly.

    The album sounds absurdly crystal clear, incredibly polished while not feeling overproduced, which adds a lot to it due to how much under the surface there is to so many of these songs. You'll be finding new layers of sound upon many relistens.

    Trent rarely screams, this is the album where he probably sings and whispers the most; there are no walls of noise here; this a subtle album where the feelings of anxiety take over rather than the ones of anger, the album is full of self-doubt and worries of what may be, could be, the haunting, reverbed sounds push this forward, feeling regret and shame covers most of this record. Even if the distortion is rarely seen here, something still feels inherently broken here, this isn't Trent's "upward-spiral" in any capacity as some would like you to believe. It is a dark album about being scared of going back to what you were and feeling the guilt of your past still lingering within your mind, no matter how many years have passed.
    Last edited by HWB; 09-25-2019 at 05:40 AM.

  4. #7144
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    Quote Originally Posted by thefragile_jake View Post
    Honestly, the only track that doesn't work for me is "Satellite" and that's probably due to how Year Zero the song feels in both a production standpoint and lyrically. Year Zero still remains the one Nine Inch Nails project that no matter how many times I want it to click for me it ... it never does.

    Also, if there's a fan club for those who actually really love "Everything" - let me be a member, please. It's SO unlike anything within the rest of the album and I'll fully admit that the track doesn't belong on the record ... but it wears it's love for The Cure on it's sleeve and it's just a really enjoyable track. I think my admiration of similar sounding bands makes me enjoy the track as much as I do.
    I'm the total opposite. I love Satellite - thought it should have been the radio single. Weirdly, I'm a huge fan of YZ (probably my third favourite NIN album behind TF and TDS), but I don't think Satellite is at all like anything off YZ, except the lyrics, kinda. Musically, it's completely different.

    Everything, on the other hand, is a song I still find jarring whenever it comes on. I don't actually think the song is bad, I just think it's placement on the album is wrong. It would have been great as the opening track, I reckon.

    HM overall is an album I liked right from the first listen. I'm not super taken with the first couple of tracks, they're a bit too traditionally poppy for my taste, but pretty much everything after Came Back Haunted is great. And yeah, I agree that a lot of it sounds like it could have fit comfortably on TF.

    (Also, does anyone else really love the demos Trent plays on the "Trent Reznor In Conversation With..." thing? They're so great.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by slopesandsam View Post
    (Also, does anyone else really love the demos Trent plays on the "Trent Reznor In Conversation With..." thing? They're so great.)

    Absolutely!

    Fun fact: "HesitationMarks" is still the name of my WiFi. :-) (And NAS media server is "DeltaMachine" - Depeche Mode.)

  6. #7146
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    I saw someone mention on another thread that Trent has recently said that he isn't happy with HM. Is this true, and does anyone know the source?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slopesandsam View Post
    I saw someone mention on another thread that Trent has recently said that he isn't happy with HM. Is this true, and does anyone know the source?
    i don’t know where it was, but he said he doesn’t know who that guy who made it is anymore - (probably because Trump happened and maybe he felt he was resting on his laurels a bit? I don’t know). I still love HM but I certainly think there is something more fiery about the recent EPs and live performances. The Royal Festival Hall show is one of the top shows I've been to ever (maybe THE top one)
    Last edited by WorzelG; 10-01-2019 at 01:20 AM.

  8. #7148
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    It's from an interview posted on nin.com if you scroll down far enough - Trent Reznor in conversation with Lizzy Goodman:

    OBVIOUSLY YOUíVE EXPLORED VIOLENCE AND AGGRESSION BEFORE, BUT THIS FEELS LIKE A RETURN TO THAT WAVELENGTH. AND THE SHOWS YOU PLAYED LAST YEAR FOLLOWED SUIT. THEY WERE SPARE AND LOUD AND PENETRATING. IíVE HEARD YOU TALK BEFORE ABOUT THE CHALLENGE OF REACHING PEOPLE THROUGH THE POLARIZED HAZE OF ONLINE LIFE, I WONDER IF YOU SEE NINE INCH NAILS, AND PARTICULARLY THIS MORE AGGRESSIVE SIDE OF NINE INCH NAILS, AS AN ANTIDOTE TO ALL THAT, AS A KIND OF EXISTENTIAL GREASE CUTTER. IS THAT WHERE THE NEED TO BE EXTRA ABRASIVE IS COMING FROM?

    I THINK THE IMPETUS FOR THIS TRILOGY Ö GOD, I SOUNDS LIKE SPINAL TAP. LOOK, WHEN I THINK BACK TO THE LAST PROPER ALBUM, HESITATION MARKS, I DONíT REALLY KNOW WHO THAT GUY IS. LIKE, MY HEAD ISNíT THERE ANYMORE. AND IT WASNíT THAT LONG AGO. WE WERE JUST INTO SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT. IíM MAKING SET LISTS FOR SHOWS COMING UP AND THEREíS VERY LITTLE ON THERE FROM THAT ALBUM BECAUSE I DONíT FEEL IT RIGHT NOW. WHEREAS, I WAS REALLY DOWN ON WITH TEETH FOR A LONG TIME BUT NOW, FOR WHATEVER REASON, IT SOUNDS GOOD TO ME. NOT THAT I LISTEN TO IT THAT MUCH BUT IT POPPED ON THE OTHER DAY AND I THOUGHT, FUCK, I FORGOT I EVEN WROTE THAT SONG.


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    It’s never really struck me before but it must be really weird being an artist of whatever description and trying to evaluate your own work.

  10. #7150
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    Quote Originally Posted by WorzelG View Post
    i don’t know where it was, but he said he doesn’t know who that guy who made it is anymore - (probably because Trump happened and maybe he felt he was resting on his laurels a bit? I don’t know). I still love HM but I certainly think there is something more fiery about the recent EPs and live performances. The Royal Festival Hall show is one of the top shows I've been to ever (maybe THE top one)
    I didn't realise you were at that show as well!

  11. #7151
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    It does feel like HM came from a more optimistic place when it was written, it's still dark, but a funky kind of dark. Then the world SHAT itself and we were all reminded how fucking awful the worst people can be. Just thinking back to 2013-2014...things were OK. Trent was probably coming from the same place, things were OK, he was starting a family, work was good, the hate on soical media was manageable, the bad stuff was easily dealt with...now 5 short years later

  12. #7152
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    Yeah, to have anything to say on the album he even had to think back to his TDS era self. Or so he said.

  13. #7153
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    Quote Originally Posted by WorzelG View Post
    i don’t know where it was, but he said he doesn’t know who that guy who made it is anymore - (probably because Trump happened and maybe he felt he was resting on his laurels a bit? I don’t know). I still love HM but I certainly think there is something more fiery about the recent EPs and live performances. The Royal Festival Hall show is one of the top shows I've been to ever (maybe THE top one)
    Ah, the gig where we thought the show was going to be The Fragile in full and we got trolled with Terrible Lie after The Wretched.

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    Rob Sheridan said once, "who said it's a happy album?"


    'Everything' might, on the surface, make it seem like things are cheerful... but even that song is somewhat troublesome.


    I think it's a miserable album filled with unhappiness, confusion, loss, misdirection, mental health issues, etc.... Also, the album title is a term used to describe the action of creating self inflicted wounds; tempting suicide.


    This is not an I'm the happiest I've ever been album.

  15. #7155
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    Quote Originally Posted by WorzelG View Post
    It’s never really struck me before but it must be really weird being an artist of whatever description and trying to evaluate your own work.
    i listen to my own music a lot. not out of narcissism, but because i both enjoy my work, and because i am constantly trying to learn from it so i don't repeat myself or my "mistakes"

    i know thom yorke has said he can't stand listening to radiohead (which seems so odd to me) but i'm sure that's a rare thing.

  16. #7156
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    Quote Originally Posted by eversonpoe View Post
    i know thom yorke has said he can't stand listening to radiohead (which seems so odd to me) but i'm sure that's a rare thing.
    I don't think that's all that rare actually. It really just depends on where someone's head was when making an album and if they've had to listen to or play certain parts of it for a long time. Personally, I don't listen to what I make after it's out unless I really, really like what I've done, which is very rare.

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    When I listen to Hesitation Marks now, it's funny to me how so much current pop music sounds like a simpler version of this album. There's lots of moody, softer vocals with atmospheric beats and instrumentals on the radio at the moment. I could see somebody like a Lana Del Rey singing "Find My Way" or Billie Eilish performing "Satellite" and it seeming very natural for them. And while "Welcome Oblivion" doesn't sound the same as Hesitation Marks, I get that same feeling with HTDA right now too. I almost feel like WO would do far better commercially if it was released for the first time now. I'm sure commercial success no longer concerns Trent at this point in his career, but it's still interesting to think about.

    While many of younger pop acts aren't likely to be familiar enough with Trent's later work to consider Hesitation Marks an influence, I'm sure their production folks are familiar enough with something like HM to be influenced by it.

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    And don't forget how cool it was when every format had different artwork.
    The HM-era was great. So many good memories. Saw them in Milan (2013), Copenhagen and Vienna (2014) and those gigs were brutal.

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    Happy 7th birthday. Well at least for the digital release that dropped today 7 years ago.
    Probably the most polarizing release in the catalog. At the time I just saw it as the hiphop album to contrast the recently released industrial album Yeezus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brotha52 View Post
    Probably the most polarizing release in the catalog.
    I still don't understand why it's so polarizing for so many. IMO it's definitely a better "album" than The Slip (not to throw shade, I love that album too). You're right though, people seemed to either love it or hate it. Personally, I think Year Zero and the EP trilogy are superior, but it holds its own against albums like With Teeth and The Slip.
    Last edited by sonic_discord; 08-27-2020 at 02:10 PM.

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    i haven't actually re-listened to it for a while but my feeling about it is that half of it is really good, a third of it is fine, and the two songs people seem to like the most ("find my way" and "while i'm still here") are my least favorite songs trent has created outside of "capital G" (but i LOVE "black noise" so i accept that "while i'm still here" has to exist to lead into it).

    i also still prefer Welcome Oblivion over Hesitation Marks, which i only say because they came out a couple months apart.

  22. #7162
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonic_discord View Post
    I still don't understand why it's so polarizing for so many. IMO it's definitely a better "album" than The Slip (not to throw shade, I love that album too). You're right though, people seemed to either love it or hate it. Personally, I think Year Zero and the EP trilogy are superior, but it holds its own against albums like With Teeth and The Slip.
    I still think that Hesitation Marks thus far is the only record Trent has released that can rival The Fragile in terms of the sond design and quality of the production, that alone is huge, in general the album's incredibly varied, dancey, fun and angsty. almost every song has so many layers and many things happening all at once with heavy emotional weight being on almost all the songs present.

    It's a really strong record, not NIN's best but it is still incredible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonic_discord View Post
    I still don't understand why it's so polarizing for so many. IMO it's definitely a better "album" than The Slip (not to throw shade, I love that album too). You're right though, people seemed to either love it or hate it. Personally, I think Year Zero and the EP trilogy are superior, but it holds its own against albums like With Teeth and The Slip.
    I am a huge electronic music lover of all kinds. Been listening to NIN since PHM. I really loved the trilogy, especially Not The Actual Events. I'm also a big With Teeth fan. You can't top TDS and Broken. Not The Actual Events is the closest Trent got to the classic Broken/TDS/TF/WT that I love. I haven't hated anything Trent has put out. But there is something about the Hesitation Marks/Year Zero/Welcome Oblivion sound that just leaves me a little cold. These albums sound similar to me. I just don't find them as edgy as With Teeth or Not The Actual Events, which has that chaos I love with NIN. HM/YZ/WO feel a bit more meandering to me. I do love tracks like My Violent Heart, In This Twlight, On A Wing, Satellite, In Two. I do wish the drums were livened up a bit. I love drums and beats, but I find the beats on HM/YZ/WO don't develop much and kinda stay the same. I thought Hesitation Marks tracks sounded way better with the Tension tour live band. The live band gave the tracks a breath of life and helped break up the monotonous electronic drums with some live drums. Again, they're not bad albums, but not my go-tos. If someone threw it on, I wouldn't complain. I just don't find myself compelled to go back to it as much. I do find that I enjoy it more when I'm playing it on a decent system with subs.

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    Woah, 7 years? Time flies. I still remember picking up the CD on release day and listening to it non-stop. The back half of the record has some of the coolest NIN tracks ever I think, like I Would For You and Various Methods of Escape are brilliant and both explode with intensity and emotion. Running is stupendously underrated as well. I love its tense vibe, Trent's vocals, and those scratchy guitars. All Time Low is a classic modern NIN song I reckon, it's so layered and funky!

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    Quote Originally Posted by neorev View Post
    I am a huge electronic music lover of all kinds. Been listening to NIN since PHM. I really loved the trilogy, especially Not The Actual Events. I'm also a big With Teeth fan. You can't top TDS and Broken. Not The Actual Events is the closest Trent got to the classic Broken/TDS/TF/WT that I love. I haven't hated anything Trent has put out. But there is something about the Hesitation Marks/Year Zero/Welcome Oblivion sound that just leaves me a little cold. These albums sound similar to me. I just don't find them as edgy as With Teeth or Not The Actual Events, which has that chaos I love with NIN. HM/YZ/WO feel a bit more meandering to me. I do love tracks like My Violent Heart, In This Twlight, On A Wing, Satellite, In Two. I do wish the drums were livened up a bit. I love drums and beats, but I find the beats on HM/YZ/WO don't develop much and kinda stay the same. I thought Hesitation Marks tracks sounded way better with the Tension tour live band. The live band gave the tracks a breath of life and helped break up the monotonous electronic drums with some live drums. Again, they're not bad albums, but not my go-tos. If someone threw it on, I wouldn't complain. I just don't find myself compelled to go back to it as much. I do find that I enjoy it more when I'm playing it on a decent system with subs.
    I don't know, Year Zero feels far heavier to me than With_Teeth, Slip also feels heavier than With_Teeth in many ways.

  26. #7166
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    In a lot of ways, I see it as a follow up to TDS (tonally, to me, it works).

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrLobster View Post
    In a lot of ways, I see it as a follow up to TDS (tonally, to me, it works).
    Same and the wa ythe songs are structured also reminds me of TDS quite a bit, not with the aggression as HM doesn't really have much of that, but I can really see how it can be seen as a follow-up to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HWB View Post
    I don't know, Year Zero feels far heavier to me than With_Teeth, Slip also feels heavier than With_Teeth in many ways.
    I don't know, "heavy" is not the word that comes to mind when thinking of Year Zero. It has moments. I didn't mention The Slip in my comments because it's actually an album that has a rawness and heaviness to it. It's more in the vein of With Teeth than Year Zero or Hesitation Marks. I prefer The Slip over Year Zero, Hesitation Marks, Welcome Oblivion.

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    Maybe I'm the weirdo here, but tonally HM does not match up to TDS.
    I like HM for a few songs, and I chalk it up to decent, but lesser than WT and YZ. I don't get why people compare it to TDS, because it feels ALL over the place whereas the TDS was a much more concise concept album.

    I think the songs on HM are mostly ok, but Running annoys the hell outta me (the guitar riffs - seriously?) and I Would For You feels like this grandiose Fragile-Era-Esc song that just falls flat. The music is there, but lyrically it just isn't up to par. Everytime I listen to it, it just feels hollow.

    And I say this fully admitting there are songs on this record I really like: Various Methods of Escape is a fav. In Two/ While I'm Still Here/ Black noise are great.
    While I don't mind Disappointed/ Everything /Satellite - they disrupt the album, and people saying this is a cohesive TDS follow up to me just does not make sense me.

    I guess I don't get people saying HM was this follow up to the TDS, and I know some interviews alluded to that, but I disagree. I never understood the framing of HM in that way. Perhaps that's because I never felt that TDS needed a second act. PHM never needed one, TDS doesn't, and the Fragile doesn't. For that matter, WT and YZ were all great in their own rights. I don't get why HM was tacked onto TDS....let it be it's own thing. I suppose that was my ish. I also think the Slip is underrated while HM is lauded above it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magnetic View Post
    Maybe I'm the weirdo here, but tonally HM does not match up to TDS.
    I like HM for a few songs, and I chalk it up to decent, but lesser than WT and YZ. I don't get why people compare it to TDS, because it feels ALL over the place whereas the TDS was a much more concise concept album.

    I think the songs on HM are mostly ok, but Running annoys the hell outta me (the guitar riffs - seriously?) and I Would For You feels like this grandiose Fragile-Era-Esc song that just falls flat. The music is there, but lyrically it just isn't up to par. Everytime I listen to it, it just feels hollow.

    And I say this fully admitting there are songs on this record I really like: Various Methods of Escape is a fav. In Two/ While I'm Still Here/ Black noise are great.
    While I don't mind Disappointed/ Everything /Satellite - they disrupt the album, and people saying this is a cohesive TDS follow up to me just does not make sense me.

    I guess I don't get people saying HM was this follow up to the TDS, and I know some interviews alluded to that, but I disagree. I never understood the framing of HM in that way. Perhaps that's because I never felt that TDS needed a second act. PHM never needed one, TDS doesn't, and the Fragile doesn't. For that matter, WT and YZ were all great in their own rights. I don't get why HM was tacked onto TDS....let it be it's own thing. I suppose that was my ish. I also think the Slip is underrated while HM is lauded above it.
    +1
    100% agree with you here.

    For me, the only thing that connects HM to TDS is the artwork of Russell Mills. It's like saying The Fragile is the sequel/second act to Pretty Hate Machine. They're miles apart tonally. We all learned that Fight Club did not need a sequel. Neither did TDS. As much as I love Mills' artwork, the TDS connection felt very forced to me. And I do not find HM to flow like TDS does. HM feels a bit more slapped together than a complete journey from front to back. It doesn't have that journey feel like TDS. I find the whole TDS sequel/second act angle for HM hurt HM (no pun intended) more than helped it. I would have rather it just stood as its own thing.
    Last edited by neorev; 08-29-2020 at 02:16 AM.

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