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[Things_I_Hate: The_Collector]

I know it's one of D's faves, but I am on Team Suck when it comes to this particular tune? Why, you ask? Can a newly reborn son of Christ still hate a song, and if so, why?

Answer #1 is: Yes.

This is Answer #2.

I pick things up I am a collector

The song opens with a study in the blatant and obvious. The song is named "The Collector", and the first line confirms to us that -- yep, this mysterious Collector is him. It also first introduces Trent's new "brilliant" penchant for restating the same thing... but with just DIFFERENT WORDS! Wowzers! He picks things up! He Collects! Bitchin!

And things, well things, they tend to accumulate

Man, I'm riveted. Nothing's better than a song about Trent's OCD tendecies -- but with nothing specific or intriguing about it. It's so vague to allow you to read anything into it, but so bland to not draw the listener in the slightest bit. (What happened to the next couple lines, "They fill up my closet, it's overflowing, I can't shut the door, my girlfriend tells me to clean out the garage"?)

I have this net, it drags behind me
It picks up feelings for me to feed upon

Okay, I don't know when Trent became a fisherman, but the imagery is ludicrous, I'm sorry. And using a net to pick up "feelings" -- which themselves are ephemeral, non-material "objects" -- is about as goofy and Saturnine as you can get.

And even if he wasn't going for fisherman imagery, it's so clearly there that it's just poor word selection and shitty writing, unfortuantely. I bet he was eating some Fish Stix when he banged this one out.

There are times, plenty of times I wish I could let it go
But it's time to breed and it's time to grow inside me
There are times, plenty of times I wish I could let it go
But it's time to make me think, things I don't want to know

Well we've never heard this from Trent before. He wishes he could let "it" (his net of feelings) go. Wow. But he's conflicted about it his internal growth he feels going on. Certainly a fine enough concept -- for a couplet. But for these four lines? Sorry, but if you have such a basic concept, that you've reiterated in your work innumerable times, do we really need you to repeat words just to fill up the length of the stanza in question? Come on, Trent -- "Closer's" chorus could have just been, "I wanna fuck you, I wanna fuck you, I wanna fuck you, you get me closer to god", but you used some different words in there, didn't you?

The repeated "plenty of times" blows.

I'm trying to fit it all inside
I'm trying to open my mouth wide
I'm trying not to choke
and swallow it all
swallow it all
swallow it all
swallow it all

Yes, he's using cock-gobbling imagery. Yes, it's a metaphor. Yes, he's been doing it for years. Yes, it's fucking boring. *YAWN*

I am the plague, I am the swarm
All your hurt sticks on me, and I keep it warm
And they'll make me stay they won't let me leave
There are so goddamn many of them it gets hard to breathe

Now we're jumping from the sea, to the sticky jungles of Africa, and locusts apparently. Why the change in venue? Why, because Trent knows from his Downward Spiral days that us kids LOVE the insect imagery!

Does it make sense in the context of the song thus far? No! Does it feel like an out-of-left-field retread? Yes! Does following it up with more conflicted crisis-mode blathering about not being able to leave and/or breathe just knock us out of the song even further, as we've all heard this before?

You betcha.

I'm trying to fit it all inside
I'm trying to open my mouth wide
I'm trying not to choke inside
I am a good boy
and I will swallow it all
swallow it all
swallow it all
swallow it all

And I thought it was boring the first time.

every last one every last one every last one every last one
every last one every last one every last one every last one
every last one every last one every last one every last one
every last one every last one every last one every last one
every last one every last one every last one every last one

This is what I like to call the Repetition Fist Fuck section of the song. Where he just repeats the same three words over... and over... and over... and over. Now, he's done this sort of thing to decent effect before ("Suck" is my favorite example, with the "i am so dirty on the inside" mantra), and we all know he's not a lyrical genius, but this is just offensive. It's the song equivalent of George Lucas ending Episode III: Revenge of the Sith with a 20 minute loop of Natalie Portman saying "Hold me like you did by the lake in Naboo."

Guess what, Trentums? We've already checked out of the song AGES ago! This isn't creepy, because the song sounds like a Foo Fighters b-side. It's not emotionally arresting, because I don't dig songs about insect fishermen. And it's not even aurally interesting -- listen to it: "every last one". It's fuckin boring! At least in the "Suck" example, the phrase had some meaning behind it, some sleeziness that fit into the song.

Then again, maybe he was going for the most boring thing possible, to end his most boring song ever. In that sense, he may be a genius. In fact, I think that's it. "Every last one" is every last one of the fans who think this song is great, just because he made it. I guarantee you even Trent knows this one blows. In fact, it has now topped "Starfuckers, Inc." in my book as Shittiest NIN song ever, because at least "Starfuckers" had a point.

"The Collector"? Fuck you.

I'm Gabriel Miller, and I love everyone.

Posted by Gabriel in things_i_hate | Permalink


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I've already made my argument as to why I like this song, and think it's interesting, so I'm not going to have at it again. In fact, we might ALL be bored with this one. And Gabriel, I think this has to be your LEAST clever post ever. All this amounts to is you quoting song lyrics, and then going "it sucks, bleh!" over and over and over again.

Also, you are just wrong.

Further, the lyric is "...all your hurt sticks on me, and I keep it warm..." If you're going to tear it a new one, at least get it right.

Finally, SUCK IT.

Posted by: Dierdre | Sep 1, 2005 9:20:25 AM

I don't have to be clever on this one, D, because, well....

It sucks, bleh!

Posted by: Gabriel | Sep 1, 2005 9:33:17 AM

Thanks for the lyric heads up, btw; it's been fixed.

Unfortunately "all your hurt sticks on me" is even more obvious and bland than "all your heart". Pity.

Posted by: Gabriel | Sep 1, 2005 9:36:17 AM

Salut tout le monde! I have found a little internet cafe where I can post a "allo" to everyone while my piece de merdre laptop rots inside of la poubelle.

I do not really understand the lyrics of "The Collector" because I thought it was referring to someone who is picking up pieces of himself that he has left across the universe, and reunifying himself to pull himself together. It appears that I may have made a mistake, according to what Gabriel writes here.

I want to thank mon cher for writing in very simple English that I can understand. Sometimes it is very difficult for me to understand the words that you use, Gabriel, but this was so simple and easy. Merci, cheri. Et je t'aime encore aussi. Toujours.

Posted by: Mimi | Sep 1, 2005 9:41:38 AM

Mimi, seriously, you are making me ill.

Posted by: Dierdre | Sep 1, 2005 9:44:26 AM

Yeah, I feel like we've done this already. "The Collector" isn't my favorite, but I don't hate it either.

The line about "Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo" totally made me laugh out loud, though.

Look, Gabriel, you're the resident angst-filled poet, why don't you take the same theme (absorbing negative emotions to one's detriment) and try to write better lyrics? Then we'll analyze it, line by line.

Posted by: maise | Sep 1, 2005 9:55:47 AM

Comment? Mais pourquoi, Dierdre? I am just pleased that I have finally been able to completely understand one of Gabriel's posts. It makes me pleased that my English improves because of the site. I am sorry if this makes you ill. Are you turning green?

Posted by: Mimi | Sep 1, 2005 9:57:22 AM

Gabriel can't write poems anymore because Christ has blunted his wit.

Edit - Let's remember the good old days:

Now Yes, the third track of a Nine Inch Nails record is always an ass-kicker, and "the collector" is no exception.

Plus, that post contains the awesome episode when Gabriel thought Marilyn Manson posted on our blog.

Posted by: Dierdre | Sep 1, 2005 9:57:23 AM

I agree with the comment that The Collector is not my fav, but I don't hate it.

I think Starf*ckers is a much harder song to listen to..it's sounds so M.M. to me, which I do not like.

Maise, I like your suggestion to Gab, to take the theme, and write something he thinks is better.

I'm no writer or poet, but would be interesting exercise to compare the two none the less.


Posted by: bex | Sep 1, 2005 10:38:41 AM

Oh, wow. I did kinda repeat myself, huh? That's unfortunate.

Song still sucks.

Posted by: Gabriel | Sep 1, 2005 11:56:40 AM

Gabriel, you rule. I love you.

Posted by: Jessica | Sep 1, 2005 12:33:11 PM

Oh yea, I wanted to tell you guys about the horrible nightmare I had the other day featuring Trent. But I don't have time right now, and it's off topic anyway.

Posted by: Jessica | Sep 1, 2005 12:48:12 PM

For a guy that only yesterday was touting the virtues of dialogue, your entire m.o. these days seems pretty anti any kind of discourse, G.

I think there's a pretty valid use for the cum-guzzling metaphor being the first thing you leap to when that isn't what he's really talking about, and as much as you can quote lyrics and say "ooh, that's dumb," you're doing that without context, and without response to anything but your own wholly un-argued opinion, which, frankly, doesn't amount to a hill of beans. Just saying the same thing over and over again doesn't make it true, as much as the likes of you and George W. Bush seem to wish it were.

Finally, in response to your accusation that some of us will eat whatever Trent serves up because he's the one serving it? You're absolutely right: I totally fucking will. He's earned it, and he is one of the few artists I can think of whose work is interesting just because he does it, in addition to whatever other charms it may hold. I may not always like every single thing he does, but it has never failed to interest me.

I'm not sure if I've gotten the better of words to express why that is, but there isn't a goddamned thing wrong with it. That's not why I like this song, though. I like this song because it's good, bitch.

Posted by: Dierdre | Sep 1, 2005 1:13:13 PM

dierdre wrote:

Finally, in response to your accusation that some of us will eat whatever Trent serves up because he's the one serving it? You're absolutely right: I totally fucking will. He's earned it, and he is one of the few artists I can think of whose work is interesting just because he does it, in addition to whatever other charms it may hold.

I'm sure Goebbels and Goering felt the same way.

Posted by: Gabriel | Sep 1, 2005 2:06:05 PM

Jesus Fuck. What a load of bullshit.

Moreover, if Goebbels and Goering felt the same way, I wonder what it was about Hitler that made them feel that way? Because, dude, THAT'S INTERESTING.

Posted by: Dierdre | Sep 1, 2005 2:11:28 PM

Well, I've read that Hitler really liked to pick things up. That little midget was a collector, too.

Posted by: Gabriel | Sep 1, 2005 2:21:36 PM

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Holy Mary, Mother of God!

You've got to be fucking kidding me.

We did not just turn a thread evaluating the merits of "The Collector" into "no, you're a nazi!"

Hitler? Oh, for crying out loud...
Who was it who said, "the first one who invokes Hitler loses?"

WORST counterpoint, ever, Gabe. Worst. Ever.

Posted by: maise | Sep 1, 2005 2:43:17 PM

I wasn't calling anybody a nazi, Maise -- I was simply pointing out -- via exaggeration -- that saying you will always eat up whatever somebody feeds you sounds a lot like brain-dead idol worship. If you make a blanket statement saying you will just always love that person's work no matter what, it takes away any and all credence your opinion would otherwise have. Because even if you're a smart woman (like Dierdre is), and you can often make individual cases as to why things are valid, ultimately it will all sound like hot air spewed in the name of "I'll love everything he does no matter what."

But seriously -- both Trent and Hitler are awful short....

Posted by: Gabriel | Sep 1, 2005 2:50:52 PM

I'm awful short...you have a problem with Napoleonic types, huh, huh, big guy?

I see absolutely NO comparison between the two situations:

1) Deirdre likes Trent Reznor. She finds him attractive, thinks he has a nice singing voice and that he can write a catchy tune. She's liked nearly everything he's done so far and is fairly certain that she will like what he will do in the future.

2) Goebbels and Goering convince a whole nation of people to go batshit crazy, invade other countries and systematically murder 6,000,000 individuals.

Yet, somehow the names "Goebbels" and "Goering" wound up in this thread. Hmmm...you know what that's called? Shock value. And it has little rhetorical power in the long-run. Ask Marilyn Manson.

Posted by: maise | Sep 1, 2005 3:11:36 PM

P.S. Completely OT, but can I just say, Hurricane Katrina--holy fucking shit?

I'm actually kind of grateful that this site is still an oasis of wackiness when there's nothing but bad news everywhere else.

Love you guys.

Posted by: maise | Sep 1, 2005 3:14:10 PM

'Mkay I came in here to blast Gabriel for his lame posts and my sister for her lame taste in men, but now Gabriel played the Hitler card. You gonna say something about Hitler and Trent both being Taureans too? Because then I'll just have to kick your skinny Christ-loving ass...oh and Hitler was a good Protestant boy that loved Jesus too, by the way. A blonde-haired, blue-eyed, six foot tall, German-speaking incarnation of Jesus, but Jesus nonetheless.

maise re: Katrina. Totally agree. NOLA is scheduled to get t'storms all weekend too.

ANYWAY...back to topic. Thanks, Dierdre, for pointing out Gabriel's hypocrisy, by the way. And Gabriel, thanks for the ultimate lame response "Song still sucks." I believe you were reaming poor Kim out on Dierdre's last topic for posting an argument that wasn't anywhere nearly as fucking lame as the schoolboy's sucky cry that you posted.

You know, it's so obvious, I am smacking myself on the head as I type...when you bring the hate on someone, you are actually projecting your own hatred of qualities you see in yourself that you don't like. Like your attempted desecration of poor Kim in the last topic, and your comparison of Dierdre to Hitler in this post, and your constant hypocritical condemnation and love-hate relationship with Trent. It's all clear now. You're just a short man who lusts for Trent on many different levels. Well buy a stepstool and go stare at the red robe pic for a few seconds ('cause that will be all you need when you see those hot hobbit feet) and get over yourself.

Posted by: Buttercup_J | Sep 1, 2005 10:30:31 PM

Gabriel, You know very well that I am not, in fact, a person who loves evrything Trent ever does.

I waited, with BREATHLESS ANTICIPATION for The Fragile to come out, got all excited by his "I'm feeling much better now, thanks" interview schtick around that time, and then got the record, listened to it, and DID NOT LOVE IT. Then I saw his make-up job, along with the fact that he was letting Marilyn Manson get on his stage, I decided to skip his show. Then, I deep-sixed my NIN collection for about 4 years, during which I couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry about Trent Reznor.

However, EVEN THAT was interesting which, for a change, you might have noticed is the word I chose above, rather than "love," if you would read carefully, you fuckwit. Also, since then, he has fully redeemed everything I didn't like about The Fragile with his next chapter. I both LOVE that, and find it interesting.

Also, your rejection of the practice of making an individual case for why things are valid is fucking lame and definitely the first step towards facism. Individual cases MUST BE MADE, and if it's impossible to base decisions upon them in politics, it is VITAL that they be the basis upon which human beings and art are judged. It's Trent's millions of little individual cases in which he is more intelligent, more heartfelt, more sensitive without being a fucking Bright Eyes-style emo moper, more talented, and most importantly for me, more intentional in his decisions than the average rock star, that make up the body of his work, and they are also the things that make his career more than a glib fucking episode of VHI's Behind The Music.

You may have found Jesus on a fucking mescaline trip in Palm Springs and forgotten the thing about Trent Reznor's work, and about him, himself, that touched your fucking heart, Gabriel, because I know he did, but I haven't. He is the same artist he has always been, and I still love his work. I plan on making individual cases for it where I see fit until he suddenly starts sucking. Which, no matter how much you want to rail on about your goth disenfranchisement in light of his new haircut, HAS NOT HAPPENED.

Maise, you are right that I find Trent attractive, and I'm not in the least bit ashamed to do it, but I hope it's becoming clear that finding Trent attractive and loving his work are not separable. Trent's work is his sexiest attribute. It certainly isn't those jowls. I'm always going to be grateful, and love him for what he's given thus far, but there are certainly things he could do do compromise his attractiveness... IN HIS WORK.

Finally, Buttercup, YOU GO GIRL. When you said that Gabriel lusts after Trent on "so many different levels" you are so fucking right. I said it once before, and I'll say it again: Gabriel is trying to kill his aesthetic father right now. It's a whole, vaguely Oedipal situation we have on our hands here, a la Harold Bloom's "anxiety of influence" thing.

Good luck with that, Gabriel.

Posted by: Dierdre | Sep 1, 2005 11:11:28 PM

Deirdre...OMG, Oedipus! I never even thought of it that way!

Perhaps Gabriel is going through his Jim Morrison phase? Drug trips in the desert...Oedipal themes...

Posted by: maise | Sep 2, 2005 12:30:12 AM

Oh, Dierdre. It's really not as complicated as you make it seem.

By saying you willl always "...eat whatever Trent serves up because he's the one serving it?" you weaken your individualistic arguments, because it becomes quite simple to dismiss them as just idol worship. It's your individualistic arguments I enjoy, dear, not the blind acceptance.

And if you don't actually have total blind acceptance of any and everything Trent Reznor does, as you claim in this last comment, then you really should be saying that you do. Which is it? You either have a critical eye, or you will swallow it all, just because he's the one schilling it? I happen to know that it's the former, but your other statements carelessly undermine your very credibility.

The attractiveness issue is not what I'm talking about, because quite frankly, I've bowed out of that debate a long time ago. And Trent's work, though hugely influential to me at many times in my life, isn't having the same thrust it once did. You can throw all kinds of pscyhoanalysis my way, and barbs, and everything else all you like. It won't change the fact that though at first glance I thought it to be a brilliant masterwork, over the past few months "With Teeth" has revealed itself to my perspective as a work lacking the impact of his previous records.

You need not agree, you need not even think I'm correct... but mine opinion is mine own, so give the fuck up trying to hijack it. Truth is, it makes you look even more desperate in your worship of Trent, because you can't take the fact that your former compatriot in all things NIN (i.e., me) is no longer in that same headspace.

And once again, I know that's not really what you're doing... but it's certainly what it seems like. So, I'm going to listen to sound John Coltrane now -- whose genius you yourself turned me onto -- and enjoy the emotional experience "A Love Supreme" gives me. Because I just don't feel it from NIN the same way I used to.

Lastly, I miss you desperately and so wish we could have these awesome angry banters in person. Those were truly some prime times. :-)

Posted by: Gabriel | Sep 2, 2005 1:03:28 AM

Gabriel, being capable of a critical approach, and being willing to "swallow it all" are not mututally exclusive. I mean, if they were, I'd never have tasted spunk twice, frankly; and yet, today, depending on the circumstances and the person involved, I am still willing to undertake the mission on occasion, despite the fact that "swallowing it all" is never the most pleasant of experiences.

If you weren't so hellbent on your accusations of idol-worship, you would remember that what I'm saying is that Trent will always get his proverbial day in court from me, and he will get it out of respect for everything he's ever done to date, and because I love him... from afar, and in a kind of an abstract way, but love, nevertheless.

I love my brother, too, and though I may not always be happy about how he likes to argue me into the fucking ground over bullshit, I will never stop listening to him because I love and respect him, even if I think he is totally fucking wrong.

I don't think any of that truly undermines any fucking thing about my critical thinking, and in fact, I think it enhances it, because, in my opinion, a critic doesn't have any business judging people or works of art from any other perspective than love and respect, because "objectivity" is really just our most vaunted current cultural myth; it isn't real.

The mistake you make, Gabriel, is judging the value of this particular work of art based on your headspace, which, like I said, doesn't amount to a hill of beans, but you seem to present it as some kind of objective perspective. It is not. That said, neither is mine, but if I can make a specific argument for why a particular thing is valid, then that effort is, in my opinion, much more legitimate than you saying "Bleh, it sucks" over and over again, and then saying some totally unrelated thing about your headspace.

Obviously, the rest of us cannot make or understand judgements that come from inside your headspace, can we?

Also, do know that even though I called you a "fuckwit" and meant it, I love you to pieces, and in fact, place you in the category of people who will always get their day in court out of love and respect, even if I think you couldn't be more full of shit.

Posted by: Dierdre | Sep 2, 2005 1:35:20 AM

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