Brief thoughts on “The Slip”

Giving it a second listen here now:

  • At 43 minutes this is the shortest album Trent R. has released since Pretty Hate Machine, and while arguably you can look at Ghosts I-IV as being a complement to it all that could have easily swollen the size of it, taking a more compact route all around with this one seems just right.
  • Initial impressions among many friends ranked it as Trent by numbers to a large extent and I can’t disagree — without the selling point of Ghosts as a fully instrumental collection, this feels like a combination extension and reworking of recent obsessions on the rhythm front, as the lead ‘singles’ “Discipline” and “Echoplex” (and I can’t get over the name of that one, knowing how much my old roommate/housemate Jake loved his — and a more un-Trent-like person I could not name) showed already. This is so far enjoyable rather than striking, and in terms of compressed pop punch nothing still beats “The Hand That Feeds” for me when it comes to the last three years, though I suspect everything on here will be more of a grower with time.
  • It is, however, extremely poppy in the best possible way — elsewhere today friend Anthony talked about how he might have figured Trent would have in fact gone ahead and just ‘dropped the boogie’ once he was off a major label, but as I said in response, there’s some part of him that will always want to be Prince. I think this is exactly what he needed and showed from the start, to excellent effect, and his devotion to astringent funk — again, “Echoplex” provides a prime example — pays off in spades. There are a couple of quiet and ambient moments as per usual — indeed, it’s interesting that all the instrumentals didn’t just end up on Ghosts, and “Corona Radiata” is an entrancing take on that style, while “Lights in the Sky” lets him indulge in his piano jones once again, nearly two decades removed from “Something I Can Never Have” but still tackling that sorrowful bent.
  • The whole thing, as I muttered earlier today, is yet another astounding PR move on the part of Reznor and his team — and there’s no doubt that having learned their lessons well they got in the server space to handle everything properly, links and downloads worked like a charm for folks and I got my Apple Lossless torrent downloaded within a couple of hours on my DSL line.
  • Finally, I’m still wondering what exactly the full impact of these experiments will turn out to be. Earlier today something occurred to me that hadn’t fully before — most of the various comments on the ‘free’ experiments and downloads and alternate arrangements address the question of how new bands and acts might make money in this environment, but I’ve now been wondering what if anything the current high profile pop acts would exactly do in the face of all this. The method of sale for Ghosts demonstrated one way forward; this even more consumer friendly approach is another and fully transforms the idea of album-as-promotional-tool for the current time and place.

More detailed thoughts at another time, perhaps.


7 Responses to “Brief thoughts on “The Slip””

  1. NIN, Trent Reznor, “The Slip,” free new album, etc. « Ned Raggett Ponders It All Says:

    […] will be downloading this while I’m at work so thoughts on the music later tonight. (UPDATE: and you can find those thoughts here). Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Why I love Sparks, part three million and […]

  2. Eve McGivern Says:

    I noticed that each track has a different ‘album cover’ associated with it.

    All in all, I don’t think this is a bad effort from Mr. Reznor. My favorite thus far is the trip-hoppy “The Four of Us are Dying.” I totally missed hearing Ghosts I-IV, so perhaps the trip-hop bent is not so much of a departure for him if such a sound were present on that disc. I can just hear Tricky adding vocals to this track.

  3. Eve McGivern Says:

    Btw, posting times are way off on the blog. I actually posted the above about 10 AM EST on May 7. Even with time changes, I can’t go forward into the future. πŸ™‚

  4. Ned Raggett Says:

    Ah, maybe you just need to give yourself more credit there. πŸ˜‰

  5. david schwarm Says:

    Ned, you know when you listen to a song with like RealPlayer or something & little random historical tidbits about the song are displayed?

    When I listen to this album I learn that:
    The “reversed” N in the logo was inspired
    by the typography on the cover of the Talking
    Heads album “Remain in Light”

    which is not all that relevant and rather hard to verify; however, I later learn that:
    After battling heroin addiction for years, Reznor
    reemerged sober and strangely buff with 2005’s
    “With Teeth”

    A “slip” in the world of sober talk obviously means to relapse. Given this information, the strength of this album increases significantly for me. Thanks, David S

  6. Ned Raggett Says:

    Interesting, hadn’t thought of that. I don’t think he’s specifically saying that but as a metaphor, one wonders.

  7. Remembrance of electronic angst past « Ned Raggett Ponders It All Says:

    […] — caused a flicker of interest, certainly. As I hope has been made clear enough via a variety of past posts, I am quite the fan of Mr. Reznor and have been for years, and have seen him enough […]

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