NIN Add Violence Review

This was a solid 2017 release. The first track, called Less Than, is critical of people and society’s need to vent and project aggressive behavior on others. Trent is saying people pretend they are forced to act aggressively in order to survive, when it reality it is one’s choice to be violent.

The Lovers starts off sounding like a hodge podge hot mess. The vocals come in and the singer starts to bring the puzzle pieces together. The beat never really comes in, though the song goes for a few minutes. It is kind of a puzzling and haunting song. I that perhaps think he is talking about how love and relationships provide a refuge from the dark meaninglessness of life. The instruments weave interesting textures around each other. I would say the overall timbre is somewhat demur.

This Isn’t The Place doesn’t have many lyrics. The beat is kinda slow and dreary, not unlike a Portishead tune. I think the lyrics are about mortality, perhaps about vice. The chord patterns are somewhat bluesy by comparison to the other tracks. The beat has a bit of a swing to it.

Not anymore opens with a heavily distorted bassline. Then it opens up with an up-beat industrial beat. I think this song is intended to more reflect his earlier material. He even says,” I will never forget who I am,” at one point in the song. Because this song is faster, it offsets some of the other slower material on the album, and provides balance. There is a cool break, with some envelope filters and some tweeker sounds, before jumping back in with a more aggressive rhythm and vocals. He also says “He can’t seem to wake up”. This is a repeated theme throughout the album, that society is asleep at the wheel, and doesn’t know where its going. Trent seems to not like modernity very much, and is screaming in denial against the new reality, while calling on others to wake up and join him in the fight against technology. Which is ironic, since he used a lot of EDM programming etc, however his music has always had a soul, unlike many others. I would compare him art to a failed technological messiah , not unlike Tesla, who Edison beat out.

The Background World is kind of an existential realist song. It talks about awakening and accepting things as they are , with no allusions. He writes about the lack of a sense of purpose in modern society , which plagues this era. The song has a cool futuristic stomp type groove, not unlike the Daft Punk main theme from the more recent Tron movie. He asks, “Are you sure this is what you want?” I think he is being satirical and sarcastic. Part of the theme of his albums has been that technology is leading humanity towards some sort of great abyss, meanwhile our spirituality is suffering, and we are being reduced to treating each other like animals, instead of as human beings. The song continues for a really long time, before gradually distorting and turning almost unlistenable. Quite an interesting way to wind down an album.

Overall, it is a fairly haunting and beautiful album, which reflects man’s transitional state in a futuristic society, with all of its moral implications.