posthipsta fo shizzle
|| by jeff | thursday, april 28, 2005 5:28pm | comments(0) | permalink | post comment ||
i've decided this site is no longer going to be posthip. from now on i'm goin' straight up gangsta in the hizzy. for a preview of the new triple-w, keep it on tha d-l.
|| by jeff | monday, april 11, 2005 5:33pm | comments(1) | permalink | post comment ||
added a new gallery with photos from sakuracon here. i was going to do a post with funny captions for each of the pictures. if i don't get around to that, just come up with funny captions yourself. take the funniest one that you can come up with, and imagine mine being even funnier. now that's funny!
|| by jeff | saturday, april 9, 2005 8:49pm | comments(1) | permalink | post comment ||
i had the privilege of going to a nine inch nails cd listening party the other day at the science fiction museum here in seattle. basically, a ton of people showed up in order to hear nine inch nail's new album with teeth a month or so before it releases in stores.
the event was handled poorly. the line streteched all the way around the museum to the adjacent e.m.p. and they didn't tell you until you got to the front that they weren't going to let you in carrying a cell phone. thankfully the guy at the door let me in anyway, but only after pleading his case about how he worked for the label and if anything "got out" they could lose a lot of money. did he actually expect a n.i.n. fan to care about the color of the label's ink? red or black, i'm just here to hear the music, man. let me in. it's not like my cell phone is a high fidelity recording device, you know?
once inside, the room was overcrowded with nine inch nails fans, a large majority of whom appeared to be under the age of 18. this surprised me at first, since n.i.n. has not released a proper album since 1999, when most of these kids were probably not even in highschool yet. but then i remembered that it was the inherent anger in the music that attracted me to it a decade earlier with pretty hate machine. so, yeah, i could associate.
as we were all funneling into the small room where they would eventually play the cd, we were treated to a video timeline of n.i.n. covering all of the videos released so far as well as some concert footage. some energetic young fans took it upon themselves to fill in the bleeped out portions of the songs with the original content. this got a chuckle from most in the crowd. others started shifting their feet. i couldn't tell whether it was because they were squeamish to hearing such flagrant verbiage or whether they were worried, like I was, that the cd we had come to listen to might be edited as well. in a cloister of n.i.n. fans, such as we were, my money would be on the latter.
in turns out the fear was unfounded though, as the final video came to a close - the hand that feeds the first single from with teeth - and the music started up. once the first song was fully underway and the video screen stoppped relaying new information (all that remained was an ever repeating n.i.n. logo) people lost interest in jocking for position and decided to sit down right where they were. well, all except for about ten people right in front of me who decided to stand for the entire time. i decide to move out from behind them because a) staring at their rear ends was not a pleasing visual experience and b) the sound was slightly muffled since they were blocking the line of sight to the speakers.
once i was at a new location, and comfortably sitting, i was finally able to do what i had come to do in the first place, which was enjoy the new cd. and enjoy i did.
while the new album with teeth is certainly no departure for nine inch nails - with it's pounding industrial rhythms and anger laden vocals - it did for me, at least upon first listen, paint a fairly obvious trajectory for the progression of trent reznor's (nine inch nail's only full time member) song writing over the last ten years.
allow me to take a step back.
1994's the downward spiral album could not have been more appropriately named. not because the music fell apart, but because by the end of the album's last track, hurt, the whole thing had come together to produce an inescapable vortex of suffering and anger that ended in what had many people believing the whole thing might be an honest to goodness suicide letter. but artistically it was absolutely beautiful. the mix of a distinct sound with nearly unmatched catharsis proved irresistible to many. and it sold like wild fire. perhaps even more oddly, some of the singles on the album, such as closer, boosted trent reznor into an unlikely sex symbol status.
so mr. reznor followed up that success the only way he could - with a severe case of writer's block. it took five long years for him to find the inspiration and go through the motions of recording another album, in this case resulting in 1999's the fragile. five years may have been too long to wait for the mass market, but the end result was a very honest and telling piece of work. with its double length running time over two cds, reznor was able to explore more of the atmospheric, ambient aspects of his sound without having to flip on the drum machine every other minute. not that the album in any way lacked visceral punch. no, the anger was still there. but what was most interesting about the album was where the anger was applied. for example, here is a snippet of lyrics from where is everybody?:
and god damn I am so tired of pretending
of wishing I was ending
when all I'm really doing is trying to hide
and keep it inside
fill it with lies
open my eyes?
maybe I wish I could try
those lyrics to me encapsulate much of the fragile as well as explain the writer's block. he couldn't top the beautiful wreck that was the downward spiral. he couldn't force himself to feel worse than he had. partially because there wasn't much farther to go, but more importantly because it was no longer an honest emotion for him. he didn't want to pretend anymore. and so the anger on this album was directed in a different direction. a slightly more positive direction: hey, you and i may be messed up and everything else is messed up and we're pissed but we have to give it a shot even if it might all fall apart in the end. its the smallest, vaguest of allowances, but it frees him up to move in other directions.
which finally brings us back to with teeth.
as i said before, the anger is still there. but from the lyrics i could discern at the listening party, the anger is now directed squarely at what got us here in the first place. i would call it "the system" if that term didn't already have all sorts of conotations built in. this new album seems to be more about anger as a gift - and having the courage to stand up to things that aren't right and tear them down - even if it comes at great personal risk, (perhaps even worse) even if it means giving up comforts built in to our day-to-day lives. its a great message, and its still distinctively nine inch nails. at the end of the day though, its not nearly as sexy nor as simple nor as pre-packaged as glorious self destruction, so i wonder how it will take to a larger audience of listeners.
but in the end it does represent a maturing progression:
anger directed at self destruction (the downward spiral)
anger designed to keep going (the fragile)
anger directed at positive change (with teeth)
it would be easy for someone to dismiss nine inch nails' music as loud and crude and angry noise with no benefit. but then they would be missing the subtle details burried within that i find to be life affirming.
but then again, i've only heard the cd once, what the hell do i know?