Sound — 9
Ghosts I-IV is the seventh studio album by the renowned Nine Inch Nails. As most of you know, Trent Reznor, the mastermind behind the opus that is NIN, bears a grudge against the music industry. It is for this reason that the band has decided to follow in the footsteps of Radiohead and release the album online for free -- well almost. Reznor has cleverly devised a scheme where he is giving away the first of the four nine-track EPs that form the 36 track instrumentals that is Ghosts I-IV for free. From there on, to obtain the next 3 parts of the concept album, the consumer can, much like the Radiohead album In Rainbows, choose how much he or she wants to pay for it. The difference is that the minimum you are allowed to pay is 5 dollars rather than the overly generous yet slightly daft zilch option that Radiohead were offering. This way, NIN can still sell much of their album for less than the corporate suits would have demanded, all the while raising a certain finger in the air directed at said money-obsessed outfits. The perfect compromise? But wait, it goes on. To add insult to injury, Reznor even uploaded the album to the popular torrent website www.thepiratebay.org for the less charitable of you out there unwilling to part with the meager 5 dollars requested. Raise your hand if Trent just became your favorite rock star... That's what I thought. Forget all the BS that ex-Blink 182 man Tom DeLonge keeps preaching about, Reznor is officially the top dog at the forefront of revolutionizing the way the music industry conducts its businesses. Now for the music itself. One word can sum up the album in its entirety: breathtaking. Reznor described it as a soundtrack of dreams. Nothing could be closer to the truth. Listening to the album in it's entirety track by track, the sounds of spooky synths, lighthearted yet haunting piano lines, and alien-like drumming, Ghosts I-IV is like nothing you've ever heard before. It's exhilarating, poignant, and overwhelming. The ambience on every track, mixed with NIN's classic industrial sound evokes images of peaceful construction sites, floating buildings, and noiseless apocalyptic earthquakes. If the eye of the storm (which is the calmest bit -- take heed BFMV) had a sound, Ghosts I-IV would be the soundtrack.
Lyrics — 10
The album stands perfectly without lyrics. Vocals would seem like an overstatement to the already over-euphoric 1.8 hours that is Ghosts I-IV. It would be like using acid to wash your hands when your average bar of soap would do (minus the pain obviously).
Overall Impression — 8
Upon realizing that the Ghosts I-IV consists of 36 tracks, not to mention instrumental tracks, many would find it hard to comprehend listening to the whole album in one sitting. Kind of like the eight hour art exam I have to 'art' through in 2 weeks time. But Ghosts I-IV is not the kind of album that you can 'enjoy' by listening to random tracks here and there. To get the whole 'Ghost's Experience', you must brave the whole one hour and forty eight minutes without rest, just you and your headphones. It is only then that you will understand and appreciate the true sonic oeuvre that is Ghosts I-IV. In fact, it would have been simpler had the album been made a la Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells format (an hour long track) making it easier to understand the concept behind the album. I personally would recommend the setting of a darkened room to heighten the 'ghostly' dream experience. So before you get going, quench your thirst, take a looong toilet break, tell your parents/ roommate/ grandma that you're staying hands free (if you get what I mean) and that you're not to be disturbed, lock the doors, dim the lights and begin dreaming.