HESITATION MARKS is Nine Inch Nails best album in awhile, really the best thing Trent Reznor has done since WITH TEETH. TEETH and the three albums that preceded it –PRETTY HATE MACHINE, THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL, THE FRAGILE were the products of multiple years hard work coupled with Reznor’s addictions and other personal angst. Being relatively clean and sober the last 7 plus years have found him producing a series of lighter less darker works with fewer memorable songs and much less complex music. He also started the band How To Destroy Angels with his wife. Their version of NIN world is even less believable than the last couple NIN albums although several of their singles are extremely catchy.
Which brings us to HESITATION MARKS. Reznor might have reached a place in his life where is settled, clean, sober, happily married, with children but he can still produce a layered complicated work of music with the empty spaces filled in with darkness and the mechanization of pain. MARKS may miss the angst of his earlier records. As a vocalist he hardly if ever shouts anymore. The relaxed vibe that sunk his last few records is also present here but not so much. However, what brings HESITATION back to NIN’s glory days is the music. The thing about Trent Reznor is that he is a great melodist. Even his hardest, noisiest, industrial songs have easily hummable melodies. That has been missing for the most part in his recent music which had a casual, knocked off air to it. However after three listens, I can tell you how the melodies of most of the songs on HESITATION go.
While it is true many of the songs on HESITATION have a slower groove and are less abrasive and have much less crashing chaos they still remind me of Reznor at his peak. This record is in many ways a better compromise (better than his last few records). The feel is there sometimes. The chaos is not.
No real bad songs....My favorites are Everything, Running, Various Methods of Escape, While I’m Still Here