The Slip review by Nine Inch Nails

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  • Released: May 5, 2008
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 8.7 (214 votes)
Nine Inch Nails: The Slip
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Sound — 6
Singer/songwriter/industrial rock shaman Trent Reznor is marking his 43rd birthday with the release of Nine Inch Nails new album The Slip. Produced by Reznor, Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder, The Slip comes out one month after NIN released their Ghosts I-IV album featuring thirty-six instrumental tracks that experiment with sound waves, mechanical textures and various levels of penetration channeling electronic effects and processed beats into the mix. The Slip has all of those too but weighs it's instrumental tracks evenly with it's vocal tracks, so fans who like Reznor's bluesy rock timbres will be pleased. The music is a stirring cauldron of machine-sounding twists, automated movements and fictional effects juxtaposed by industrial-soaked passages, downbeat grooves, electro-flashing parcels, and sonic illusions producing a free flowing opiate-crazed oasis. Whether you like NIN or not won't make a difference because any judgment you have of Reznor supersedes his skills to experiment with sounds by manipulating their tones, contrasts, volume, and sharpness. The Slip is not like listening to NIN's previous hits like Head Like A Hole or Closer, but there is no straying away from the crunchy industrial sounds that have long been associated with NIN. Some tracks loom of dark and disturbing turbulences like Hero Down and the downward spirals of Demon Seed, whose illbient textures and industrial crunching create sensations that can be described as elegant pain and internal torturing personified in it's dazed soundscapes and gloomy distorted phrases. Reznor has never been one to have songs that adhere to the typical song structure where verses and choruses are put together in an orderly fashion. Rather, the passages have a serpentine glide and the vocals will grab at the notes and smear like spray paint across the electro-spheres in the track Lights In The Sky where the pulsating keyboards seem motionless beneath Reznor's vocal hip-hop digs and careens. His pitch has a bluesy texture similar to Lenny Kravitz which is noticeable in Letting You and 1, 000, 000. The programming is cutting-edge and highly moody. Numbers like Discipline and Echoplex rack up club music with processed beats relatable to Bauhaus and Rage Against The Machine. The album turns to static vapors completely void of emotion on Corona Radiata as if the soundscapes are traveling through outer space, while The Four Of Us Are Dying have a more seductive appeal with eerie sound effects and astro-glides. The Slip has some aspects of NIN's previous releases, and yet, it is something entirely different. The album enters another realm of electronic music that isn't for clubs but propagates fantasy theatrics.

Lyrics — 7
The lyrics, similar to the music, have a dark and eerie tone to them like in Lights In The Sky where Reznor sounds as if he is entering the gloomiest recesses of his mind. He expresses, She's mostly gone / Some other place / I'm getting by / In other ways / Everything they whispered in our ear is coming true / Try to justify the things I used to do / Believe in you / Watching you drown / I'll follow you down / And I am here right beside you / The lights in the sky / Have finally arrived / I am staying right beside you. The dark and macabre is still very much a part of NIN's music.

Overall Impression — 7
The Slip is impressive in the way that it experiments with electronic elements and the shape of the rhythms, which sometimes are non-existent like in the vapid tones of Corona Radiata. Other times the processed beats have a crazed-Frankenstein stomp like in Demon Seed. Nail Inch Nails, much like their music, is constantly changing with Trent Reznor as the band's single permanent member. In it's present incarnation, Reznor is accompanied by drummer Josh Freese, guitarist Robin Finck, and keyboardist Alessandro Cortini. Similar to people's perceptions of a mad scientist Reznor is very much like one, always experimenting with sounds and on the cutting edge of avant-music so deeply bizarre. In Reznor's case, he thinks of innovative ways to change industrial rock and avant-electronica. The music is creepy and spooky but once you understand where Reznor is coming from by applying the character of a mad scientist to him, the music starts to become a piece of enlightenment and a lot less frightening.

57 comments sorted by best / new / date

    somewhatdamaged
    There are people here saying that its a short album, and yes, it was short compared to recent albums. But how many tracks does Pretty Hate Machine have on it??? Oh that's right, 10!!!!!
    roksta101
    it was cool that it was free. Lights in the sky is the best song on the album IMO...this review is really poetic..really nice
    DouglasDisaster
    I enjoy listening to The Slip more than Ghosts I. I feel Year Zero was vastly under rated. The Slip for free was an added bonus, I would have gladly paid for it. Thanks Trent! I can't wait to see them at Red Rocks in September.
    fartsyjoe420
    i thought it was totally satisfying for a non-expected, free album, or any album for that matter. i'm still listening to it. i'd give it an 8/10
    Castlebravo
    i'm really liking this album. I'd give it a 9/10. My favorites are Head Down and The Four of Us Are Dying, but the rest of the album is great as well.
    Th3r3dFly
    7/10 - not the best nin album, but it's still good, short (10 tracks), experimental, sounds unlike anything else, and let's all remember... it was all for free! thanks, Trent!
    MyNameBeMikal
    The second half is amazing, as a whole it is too short, some of the songs are weaker by comparison to other NIN songs and albums, but the lyrics are right on par, especially Lights in the Sky. If this wasn't NIN I'd say 9/10, which seems a bit unfair, but compared to other stuff I voted 8/10. Still awesome, but Trent has big things to live up to.
    JPD026
    Only problem was it was too short. Again, that's the only problem, aside from the Spiral this is my favorite NIN album. The 3 instrumentals, aside from A Warm Place, are the 3 best NINstrumentals (ha, I'm so clever!) ever. Discipline is a fantastic single, Letting You rocks like crazy and Demon Seed is just awesome.
    Pukka-VCU
    Suav Nitebeest wrote: Oh, and this review is mostly verbose garbage that really does not describe the album; for all the meandering descriptions, the reviewer does not even explain the mediocre ratings.
    +1000
    DeadlyDevil1985
    Not a big fan of NIN, i do like how they gave it away for free tho. So, that bumps it up a point... 4/10
    Spay
    Beautiful album. Loved it. Amazing for a completely free one as well =) I liked this review as well. All the other reviews of the album came at it with a 'dance music' attitude and didn't like it because it wasn't high enough in energy. Trust UG to see the artistic and musical values of it as well. Artistically, this is one of the best albums I've heard.
    Thy Brad
    The review itself is, though very long, and wonderfully verbose, ultimately a load of hollow nonsense. Words which cannot be used to describe The Slip. Absolutely fantastic album, if a little more commercial than the Nin I'm used to. That said, for him to bring out two albums of all new material within a year of the truly remarkable Year Zero is an astonishing effort, and I applaud Mr. Reznor. Great album, stupendous artist... 8/10
    wicked_hobbit
    I think Ghost I-IV is already up for grabs on the shelves am I correct? While "The Slip" will be sold in disc form later. Anyway, I just gotten into NIN. Wasn't a fan and even had this skepticism about industrial and electronic sounds. But Trent Reznor's courageous maneuver in releasing it for free had me give it a shot and eventually opened my eyes. From a guy who didn't ever give a damn about this type of music, I'd give this album 8/10.
    littleleo88
    but... most of the tracks are just quiet noise... thats a bit naff and cheap - besides it sounding unpolished and very... umm... amateur. bands shouldnt do free albums if it takes all the effort out that they put into albums that actually bring in cash.
    Bassface01
    I liked the album, i found that most of the songs in the begginning started off with some kind of drum intro and i found that kind of repetetive. I enjoyed it though nonetheless. My favorites were discipline, 1,000,000, lights in the sky and the last instrumental (the name escapes me right now). Overall though a pretty good album. i'd give this a 8.5/10, it does sounds like that Trent Reznor did not take as much time on this than his previous albums.
    fitter.happier.
    thats a low rating given all the praising that went into the review. i thought this was a really good album.
    HeXifY
    I loved this album. It was amazing. 8/10 I know that some people are always saying Trent should go do more stuff with the downward spiral feel to it or PHM etc. But the thing with Trent is that he's not about doing the samething, he's about doing something different.
    klynch
    serjiscoolz wrote: But that's nothing but silence!
    the song is all about the details, listen to it again closely and turn it up. when i did that i fell in love with the song. its one of my favs as well!!
    torYxx
    Beathan83 wrote: Poor review... You do nothing but praise Trent, not a single word against the album... 6.7? That's like a teacher saying "Oh, you wrote a fantastic essay! D+!"
    Agreed...this review is shit. If any of you guys picked up ghost you would recognized some recycled samples with in some songs. Only thing i felt about this album was it was too short..Why? I didn't feel the need there should have been 3 instrumental tracks 1-2 is fine enough..What was the reason for ghost then? although this was way better work overall than With Teeth and Year Zero.This is Reznor best record since the fragile. I am sick of people saying the only reason they download it was the reason it was free"freeloaders". If you didn't like the album don't rate it..NIN is not meant for you ... The Slip was meant for the FANS! There needs to be a another review on this.
    littleleo88
    klynch wrote: serjiscoolz wrote: But that's nothing but silence! the song is all about the details, listen to it again closely and turn it up. when i did that i fell in love with the song. its one of my favs as well!!
    yeah but thats just it isnt it - a whole bunch of silence with a little bit of "detailed noise" here and there isnt a song is it. its just a load of silence with a little bit of, very quiet, noise!
    Tomo815
    Never really been a NIN fan but I dowloaded this album and, for a free album, it's brilliant! Discipline, 1,000,000 and Demon Seed are my personal faves. 8/10
    BaconFrenzy117
    I actually like this album alot. Im a new NIN fan and I am enjoying it. more like a 8/10 compared to the other stuff. And im not crying over a free download.
    klynch
    i think the guy who wrote this was a little harsh on the grade. to me it's an album i can listen to all the way through and not skip any tracks. so by my standards its great album. and you can't judge this album too harshly because its FREE. major thanks to trent for giving back to the fans. i think he gives back to the fans like no one else in music.
    guitarkid2113
    I went on their website the other day when I got to school and I found that they'd released an album that day. I was pretty pumped to get home and check it out. I downloaded it and listened to it straight through and I thought it was really great. I really like 1,000,000 because it sounds like an opening track. I think it's a great album.
    Beathan83
    Poor review... You do nothing but praise Trent, not a single word against the album... 6.7? That's like a teacher saying "Oh, you wrote a fantastic essay! D+!"
    Uranutan
    I didn't think it was too great. His worst so far. It had a few great songs, but that's it. And I was hoping he would continue with political lyrics such as in "Letting You". His whining is getting old, and so is he. 6/10
    GrungeLivesOn
    I thought it was a good album. It encouraged me to check out some older NIN, so that's a good thing.
    serjiscoolz
    Broken_Drum wrote: Corona Radiata is one of my favourites. Great album.
    But that's nothing but silence!
    The Spoon
    I thought this was an okay album...seemed more like a collection of songs than an album. Was this supposed to be the sequel to year zero?
    Covin
    The first three tracks blow... Discipline is alright, Echoplex even better, and every track Lights in the Sky and after is great.
    RRRone
    Some tracks loom of dark and disturbing turbulences like Hero Down and the downward spirals of Demon Seed,
    hmmm....isn't it "Head Down"??
    PDMChubby
    klynch wrote: i think the guy who wrote this was a little harsh on the grade. to me it's an album i can listen to all the way through and not skip any tracks. so by my standards its great album. and you can't judge this album too harshly because its FREE. major thanks to trent for giving back to the fans. i think he gives back to the fans like no one else in music.
    It being free doesn't mean people should add points to their rating of the album, just because the band hand the balls to do it...
    horazonblade
    It being free doesn't mean people should add points to their rating of the album, just because the band hand the balls to do it...
    Well giving a middle finger to a label does take balls, but giving it away after uncountable hours of man power, physical investment, equipment purchasing, server running and processing... giving it away for free doesn't require balls, it requires a huge self sacrafice for a statement, considerably a stupid move if you really think about it. Don't confuse that with balls.
    Blas3
    It's really good album. And it was a kind gesture from them releasing it free. Anyway, I'm not a NIN fanatic, but I like their sound, and this album showes their professionality in that. I'd give an 8 too.
    eadgtotheend
    I'd say it gets a 8.5/10, it's not everything previous albums have been musically but songs like echoplex, discipline and demon seed are incredible.
    Nightmare_xxx
    It's not all the kind of NIN stuff I like to be honest, but it is a good album. Head down, discipline and 1,000,000 are my favourites, but I would skip a couple of the others. It's a 7/10 for me.
    sukeyscorer
    i thought that review was a bit harsh, i think its a really great album and it deserves something more along the lines of 8.5/10. this wasn't a very impressive review anyway -
    Some tracks loom of dark and disturbing turbulences like Hero Down
    it's Head Down.