Sunday, June 3, 2018
Nine Inch Nails-Pretty Hate Machine (halo 2)
Released on October 20, 1989 by TVT Records, Pretty Hate Machine (halo 2) is the first full-length studio album release from Nine Inch Nails with all songs produced, arranged, performed, and programmed by its mastermind Trent Reznor. Along with production contributions from Mark “Flood” Ellis, John Fryer, Keith LeBlanc, and Adrian Sherwood as well as contributions from NIN cohorts in Chris Vrenna and Richard Patrick. The album is a collection of songs that would showcase Reznor’s approach to the sound of industrial music that had become an underground sensation through acts like Ministry, Einsturzende Neubauten, and Skinny Puppy but with a more sonic approach to the production as well as elements of pop craftsmanship in songwriting. The result is one of the finest debut albums of the 1980s.
The album’s opening track is the second single Head Like a Hole as it opens with this array of flourishing keyboard sounds that is followed by pulsating beats that help sets up the song into this intense and upbeat song with its bass-heavy synthesizers and steady rhythm. The lyrics of the song is filled with a lot of angst and power in its act of defiance as it is surrounded by tribal chants in the background courtesy of the layered production by Reznor and Flood. The song’s chorus with its driving guitars is definitely an example of great pop craftsmanship as it rocks and easy to sing-a-long to. Terrible Lie is a more mid-tempo song with its heavy beats, melodic synthesizers, thrashing guitars, and Reznor’s snarling vocals as he sings lyrics filled with disdain towards the idea of faith as it has element of direct anger towards God.
The album’s first single Down In It is a mid-tempo song with drum machine beats that would pulsate amidst its layers of synthesizers with some melodic keyboards and guitar spurts courtesy of the song’s production from Reznor, Adrian Sherwood, and Keith LeBlanc. The song also feature Reznor singing in a rap-like tone with its lyrics that are filled with a lot of despair about one’s self. The mid-tempo ballad of sorts in Sanctified is led by a melodic bass line as well as soft beats and lush yet heavy synthesizers. The song’s lyrics that are sung calmly by Reznor through its atmosphere production from Reznor and John Fryer show that air of imagery into what Reznor is singing as it include some droning guitars from Richard Patrick who was then the live guitarist of NIN before co-founding Filter in the mid-1990s.
The ballad Something I Can Never Have is one of the album’s standouts in large part to its atmospheric and layered production from Reznor and Fryer with melodic piano parts, soothing yet brooding synthesizers, and Reznor’s calm vocals as he sings haunting yet somber lyrics to play into a sense of loss. The song would also feature atmosphere beats and textures during the song’s chorus as it add to its eerie tone. Kinda I Want To is an upbeat track with bopping rhythms, guitar spurts, scratchy synthesizer textures, and Reznor’s growling vocals as he sings lyrics of yearning and lust. The song opens with this warbling yet atmospheric synthesizers as it would lead into the bulk of the song as it includes a bridge from Down In It with driving guitars and warbling synthesizers. The album’s third and final single Sin is a synth-heavy song led by pulsating yet rhythmic beats that is energetic enough to dance to along as the layers of synthesizers in its production by Reznor and Fryer along with Keith LeBlanc’s re-mixing give the song so much to digest. Even in the song’s lyrics where Reznor would be calm as well as snarl a bit as he sings about the ideas of sin as it include some driving guitars and a collage of hisses and such.
The mid-tempo ballad That’s What I Get is one of the album’s standouts in terms of its layer of warbling synthesizer melodies that is accompanied by melodic blurbs of another synthesizer before it becomes this somber yet ambient tone as Reznor sings the song. The song’s lyrics of longing and despair matches up with Reznor’s calm vocal as it is carried by this incredible production from Fryer who blend the two elements of calm and ferocity. The Only Time is another mid-tempo track that is largely carried by a funky bassline with a steady beat and soft synthesizer blurts for the verse while it becomes a more bopping rhythm for its chorus. Reznor’s snarling vocals play into the song’s humorous lyrics as it play into the joys of fucking as the song also includes a live drum performance late in the song to play into its offbeat tone. The album closer Ringfinger is a melodic yet chilling song due to its mid-tempo presentation with a bopping beat and melodic synthesizers. The song’s lyrics are definitely with entrancing and eerie imagery as it include these layered vocal in the chorus as well as scratchy keyboards and sampled guitars from Jane’s Addiction’s Had a Dad to help drive the song.
The 2010 remastered edition of the album (halo 02R) that is mastered by Tom Baker does broaden the album a bit while getting rid of a few samples from the original album due to licensing reasons yet the changes are just extremely minor. The added track in the remastered edition is a cover of Queen’s Get Down, Make Love that was a B-side to the Sin single that was produced by Al Jourgensen of Ministry under the Hypo Luxa alias. The song with its sample of sexual moans from a Japanese porno film, melodic synthesizers, hammering mid-tempo drums during the chorus, driving guitars, and Reznor’s snarling vocals as he sings Freddie Mercury’s playful lyrics. The song is definitely one of the finest covers that Reznor has done as it include a sample of We Will Rock You by Queen.
Pretty Hate Machine is a phenomenal debut album from Nine Inch Nails. With its mixture of industrial bombast and electronic collage with pop sensibilities that help the songs be engaging. It’s an album that manages to provide what Trent Reznor would do as an artist and as a producer as it remains the outfit’s most accessible work to date but it also maintains an edge that doesn’t play by convention into what would later come for industrial music in the 1990s. In the end, Pretty Hate Machine is a spectacular album from Nine Inch Nails.
Nine Inch Nails: halos: halo 1 - halo 3 – halo 4 – halo 5 – halo 6 - halo 7 – halo 8 – halo 9 – halo 10 – halo 11 – halo 12 - halo 13 – (halo 14) – (halo 15) – (halo 16) – (halo 17) - (halo 18) – (halo 19) – (halo 20) – (halo 21) – (halo 22) - (halo 23) – (halo 24) – (halo 25) – (halo 26) – (halo 27) - (halo 28) – (halo 29) – (halo 30) – (halo 31) – (halo 32)
seeds: (seed 1) – (seed 2) – (seed 3) – (seed 4) – (seed 5) – (seed 6) – (seed 7) – (seed 8)
Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross Film Soundtracks: null 1 - null 2 - (null 3) – (null 4) – (null 5) – (null 6) - (null 7)
Soundtracks/Miscellaneous: The Broken Movie - Natural Born Killers OST – Quake OST - Lost Highway OST
Live Shows: (NIN/Bauhaus/TV on the Radio-6/7/06 Atlanta, GA Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheater) – (NIN/Deerhunter-8/13/08 Duluth, GA Gwinnett Arena) - (Jane’s Addiction/NIN/Street Sweeper Social Club-5/10/09 Atlanta, GA Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheater) – NIN/Godspeed! You Black Emperor-10/24/13 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena - NIN/Jesus & Mary Chain/Tobacco-9/27/18 Atlanta, GA Fox Theatre
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