Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rock of Ages: Nine Inch Nails - "Closer" (1994)

It's fitting we get to Nine Inch Nails as they embark on their "final tour." Sure, many bands have said farewell, but for some reason deep down inside, I feel like Trent Reznor might just be telling the truth. Regardless, there is no denying the impact that Nine Inch Nails has had on music. Their 1994 magnum opus, The Downward Spiral, is a fitfully difficult album. It's filled with heart wrenching songs and ear splitting riffs and other worldly sounds. In a generation defining song, "Closer" rocked the world of alt rock radio in the early 90's. Even with it's extremely explicit subject manner, it was one of the most popular and well played songs of the generation. To boot, it had an amazing music video done by phenomenal video director Mark Romanek. It's a landmark recording and a visual masterpiece that adds to the harrowing sound of the track.

"Closer" sports a very dirty and gritty drum beat that adds different layers of rhythm as the song progresses. The main bassy synth line haunts me to this day with its creepy blooping in and out sound. As far as 90's singers, Trent Reznor brings some of the most intriguing and emotional vocals to the stage. As the song moves along and gets more intense, Reznor's vocals grow and swoop with emotion and urgency. The Downward Spiral is filled with similar songs and has a mood all it's own. Some people say grunge killed the 80's generation of blind optimism, but it's really Nine Inch Nails. There is nothing more the antethisis of the decadance of the era that proceeded it than their work. It's a dirty strange symbiotic sound of new wave crunched into these hardcore and harsh beats and sounds. That's what gives "Closer" such power.

Up Next: Jeff Buckley... nuff said

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