Sound — 8
This is caffeine Trent. Focussed, energetic, coherent and minus excess. It's what you expect from an intelligent, creative individual who is trying to stop hurting himself with his own habits. A lot of his fans may be at this same point in their life, reviewing the assumptions they made in the name of art or love or just general debauchery. The world won't swirl when you listen to this album, but you can't help but smile to the simple, yet complex, resolutions and conclusions it comes to both sonically and lyrically.
Lyrics — 10
The symplicity of the vocabulary matches the low fi aesthetic of this deceptively complex album. A lot of the lyrical content reflects on Trent's eventual recognition of his own ultimate insignificance, and I can sympathize with that age earned realization. So many of these songs are the recognition of fading away. These aren't your run of the mill angsty odes to bitter surreal strength. Futility really. It's very beautiful. He aged well with me. That validates myself, as a long time fan of Trent. NIN fands of old should be more than a little embarassed at the self indulgement of it all, this album acknowledges the bitter sweetness of that.
Overall Impression — 8
It fits well in the ovum of NIN albums, and is, as before mentioned in many previous reviews, inordinatley addictive. That makes me think that Trent knows something about this album that I don't know, and I keep listening. Which is rare these days. It's been stuck in my CD player for weeks. It comes out now and agin, and I think I'm done, but then it's back like herpes. It doesn't seem to be that great of an album, in the scope of all the albums I could listen to, but it keeps coming back. Why? Do I want it to be that good that bad? Maybe. But I give the man, and the sound, more credit than that. It is not nearly as good as his other albums, perhaps on par with Fragile, but it is good in a whole different direction. It does not have the pathos of the other albums. It's too intellectual (although it doesn't seem that way... it seems simple and even juvenile, but that's a very clever aesthetic) and bitter. This album shouldn't make goth girls rub each other's titts. They might, but it's because of the old songs. This is for the sad assholes who realized self importance fades with time and leaves you with the mature, but sober reflection that square one happens over and over again. How dismal.? Or how freeing... eternal return to base level nothing... buddhist sand paintings. If an album built on these themes can make you come back, with a simplistic shell surrounding it so innocently, then there is genius at work, again. It's just not going to make me mosh.