I guess we all know how *I* feel about Sparklepant's teeth, but it seems that not everyone feels the same way. Yesterday, in his usual, tiresome, drive-by fashion, that bitch Gabriel Miller probably thought he was gracing us with these comments. YAWN. Some things never change, and by "some things", I mean Gabriel's pissy bitchery. That's what comes of sexual frustration, people.
Let it be a lesson to you.
Personally, I love [With_Teeth]. I listened to that shit EVERY DAY for the better part of A YEAR, and it never stopped being awesome. I have to admit that at this point, its position in my constant playlist has given way to other things, but that's only because I'm waiting for Daddy to get home, if you know what I mean...
But, WHATEVS. This is as good a time as any to give the Teeth another spin, don't you think? The rules are as usual: do not just GO OFF HALF-COCKED, here. Give it a fresh listen, and give it your full attention, and then, post your thoughts here. At the same time, let's consider the question of why it's so damned hard to look another person in the eye and say, "No, seriously: NIN is my favorite," because, have you noticed? For those not already subject to the fucking tractor beam that is Trent Reznor's dog and pony show, it's a pretty fucking hard sell. Why do you think that is?
And, Gabriel? Why don't you go wallow in your many livejournal fansites and "deconstruct" some more NIN songs or something, instead taking a once bi-monthly dump on WTC to dress up your subjective, psychologically obvious/Oedipal assessments of Trent's records in the bullshit cloak of authoritative objectivity.
Goddamn, your act is old.
Ok, what follows is a totally self-indulgent, string-of-consciousness, blow by blow ticker of the thoughts that crossed my mind while listening to one of the most fucking awesome recordings of all time: Broken.
Pinion: Good concert opener. Can barely get through it in the headphones though. Dudes! "Wish" is next! How am I supposed to wait even another second to hear that? Plus, the toilet thing. Gross. I guess it's cool how the tension builds, though. It reminds me of the HBO show about prison sex and shanking. What was that show called again? Baal?
Wish: Beavis and Butthead. "This rules. Yeah. Yeah." Trent is nice. I love him. His voice was different when he was 26, but he had already totally mastered the art of the pregnant heavy metal pause. I don't believe him about not having a soul, though. Also, I don't think he's going to hell. Fist Fuck! I also don't believe that he hates everyone. The growl that starts at 1:33 is fucking hot, and so is the thunder that follows it. Trent rules. This song is bitchin'. I totally want to be in an army led by Trent. When he says "This world full of you" does he mean us, or them? I mean, when he sings it in concert, he looks like he means us, but then again, we're the ones singing along... Whatever. This song makes me feel delighted to be his little piggy. This song rules my ass so hard. I like the way it's all about how fucking rotten to the core he is, but at the same time, how idealistic he is. I love the way Trent is all about the contradictions sometimes. Seriously... it kicks ass... but...
Last: ...Dude, what is cooler than the way this song kicks in? I can't think of enough superlatives to talk about how much I love the way Trent screams and whimpers, and can anyone help me out on how fucking brilliant the guitar part is that starts at 0:42? And, dudes: "I'm going all the way down I'm leaving today" is one of my favorite lines of lyric EVER. I love that committment, Trent. Dom is so wrong; Trent is ALL SACK. It's kinda sad how much it sounds like a mission statement, though, in light of the years that followed. Poor Trent. "My lips may promise but my heart is a whore." And people say he can't write! Fuck off, haters. I love the tension in this, and I totally come everytime I hear him roar "I know it's all getting away, but it comes to me as no surprise..." I love the bottom tension of the guitar, and the way his voice makes you feel stretched out on a medieval rack of torture when paired with it. I love how his voice is out. of. control. right there. Delicious! I don't know what it is about Trent's violence that is so enthralling. Personally, while I do enjoy a little bit of absolute filth now and then (and yeah, I do mean IN BED), violence has never turned me on, really. I don't know how Trent manages to make his violence so mind-bogglingly hot. It's a matter for scientific inquiry, but all I'm sayin' is this: I'll give that little bitch what's coming to him. However, He is fucking nuts if he thinks that hot ass is a "rotten carcass", and anytime he wants to get inside of me, all that guy needs to do is give me a call. Especially if I've been listening to Broken. Fucking hell. I love the guitar at the end. SEXXXY! OMG the whispering! "I want you to make me, I want you to take me, I want you to break me, and I want you to throw me away." It's so weird, because, while there's something totally icky about what he's saying, there's totally a response in me that goes: OK, bitch. Bring your sorry, filthy little ass over, and I will totally violate you 20 ways to Sunday." Then I feel kinda sick. Plus, I wouldn't throw him away, I'd clean him up and fix him a sandwich. That last "throw me away" is so ferocious! Way to BRING IT, Trent.
Help Me I Am In Hell: Yeah. I totally am. I am BORED. You know how every record has a song on it that you skip every time? I kinda like the heart-beaty drum in the background, though. That's nice. I want Trent to be singing/screaming, though. This little musical interlude just doesn't pack much emotional punch. Maybe he felt like we needed a break before he turned into a screaming slave and started pummeling us again. I see his point. If he pounded too constantly, I think the volume and hysteria would eventually anesthetize us. It's a good plan, breaking it up... Ok, maybe it's not so bad. Maybe it's like, the part of your crazy S&M dungeon experience where you wait for Daddy to come back, all chained up, naked, and goose-fleshy. Yeah. Maybe it's that.
Happiness In Slavery: This song, for me, is one of Trent's most successful political numbers. This song really makes clear the relationship between that which dominates and that which submits, and it damns everyone who's involved in the transaction. He's screaming, but this song knows that the powers that be want to hear you scream. You're nothing but a little screaming bitch. I like the self-consciousness of this song, and really relate to the way he wishes for blindness -- just to be in a role, without seeing a bigger picture, and being aware of the pathos of every single fucking aspect of it. Has anyone here ever read Michel Foucault's book Discipline and Punish? I have. It's not that good, but it's about shit like this. Anyway, this song makes me think about how the only thing you can really grow up to be in America is a wage slave and a consumer, and then I start thinking about packaged rebellion, a la Hot Topic. Plus, I think about Trent, chained to a wall. That's hot. This video is gross, but Bob Flanagan is a really interesting man. "I don't know where I am, I don't know where I've been, human junk, just words and so much skin, stick my hands through the cage of this endless routine, just some flesh caught in this big broken machine." Brilliant. Seriously, you guys: Trent can too write. I love how keenly sad that is. You know that gets me? The way he includes "words." Human beings tell themselves stories about who they are, and what their lives mean. To say that words, and the physical self are all just junk -- cogs in a wheel -- that is really a horrible kind of despair. If you know that, how can you invest yourself in anything. I feel like it's true, but you have to fight it... not by screaming, but by meaning. I love Trent. Again with the whispering. I love the way this song ends on an intake of breath. Nice.
Gave Up: Beat me, baby. This is one of my favorite videos ever. I love the zero to full rage Trent acheives in this video in under 30 seconds... Plus, THE TEETH. This video is ALL ABOUT the teeth. HOT! I love that he's really just saying that if the world, and he, can't be perfect, he'd rather smash himself to pieces. It's all about the contradictions, because that response is very fist of power -- he'd rather self-destruct than be controlled by the mediocrity all around him, and in him -- but at the same time, it's really so abject. His self-loathing is every bit as real as his out-of-control ego. "Covered in hope and vaseline" is pure, unmitigated genius.
Physical (You're So...): Mmmmm. I love the way my iPod doesn't make me cycle through 99 empty tracks before this one starts, and it's a good thing we're giving this one a spin right now, guys, huh? I need to wash Gabriel's mealy-mouthed Olivia Newton John cover out of my brain and put TRENT back inside, you know? Could the slow burn of the guitar at the beginning of this song be any hotter? Is it possible to sound like a dirtier, naughtier, sexier beast than Trent does on this number? GODDAMN, this song is HOTTT. Every note of this performance is like grinding, dirty, angry sex. I try hard not to think about Trent's actual cock, you know? That just seems, well, RUDE, somehow. I mean, I totally respect that guy! But, this performance makes it impossible for me to demure. Maybe it's because he totally sounds like he has it in his hand for every second of this performance. He's the one who's a little too fucking physical in this number... but, I gotta say: NOT too physical to fuck. I mean, what does that MEAN? All that panting before he starts in with the wanting our "rough-house"? That is PURE DIRTY. Plus, the growling. EURGH! HOT, HOT, HOT! Mmmm. The heat of his breath would fucking KILL ME. I think I'm saying a few of the things that would be better unsaid right now, but honestly: HOW FUCKABLE is the man who sings this song? I need CAPS LOCK to really get this accross, it seems. Ok... the part just before he says "..too really FUCK YOU!" is what just aches me to the very CORE. You know the ache I mean, ladies. Goddammit is right. I am totally convinced that Trent's hands have got to be all up in his junk while he's singing this. Don't you love hearing a man come? I love that. This song is too fucking sexy. Trent just totally aurally fucked me. Gabriel? Keep dreaming, bitch.
Suck: Oh man. Yes! Yes! Yes!! You know how the second orgasm is always a little nicer than the first one? That's what this song reminds me of. That, and the way, the last time I saw Trent, his hips were OUT OF CONTROL while he was singing it. The big guitars are delicious. Trent is so dirty on the inside, you guys! His temple walls are made of flesh, 'n' shit. I love the scream at 1:48. How does a guy GET this sexy? I mean, Trent on this record, is FREAK OF NATURE sexy, and in this really weird, impossible to resist way that makes you say "WTF???" to yourself, because he's also, obviously, a total fucknut. I mean, when he says he wants to do terrible things to me in that insistent whisper in my right headphone, I swear, I cannot wait. I am literally SHIVERING with desire. I want him to do something terrible to me! And, I have to be honest when I tell you that it isn't my usual poison, having terrible things done to me. I don't want anyone else to do terrible things to me, so what makes Trent so special? Again, a total question for science.
How does a whole record about anger, self-loathing, hate, violence, evil power, slavery, and filth reduce a girl to a CAPS LOCK declaration of her willingness to submit to terrible things? I mean, A GIRL WHO'S NOT INTO THAT, EVEN?
Trent is such a genius. That record rules.
What do you guys think?
I don't want to say too much to kick this off, but I will say that what I love about Saul's record is the almost acrobatic intelligence of it, but even more than that, the way he sees art as a FORCE in the world. I like that he doesn't merely try to express existing feelings and realities in his work, but that he seems to approach his work as if new realities, and new ways to feel and express, can actually be created by it. I think it's particularly interesting how personal things like relationships and insecurities interact with political things like equality, and cultural expression on his record. There are some artists who can always tackle political issues without making you want to kill them, and I think that's because they talk about political things the way Saul does, in terms of his own engagement with them. I love the way Saul Williams has aspirations for the power of what he does that are enormously idealistic, but at the same time, humble, pragmatic, and interested in quotidian things. I like that he is unflinching about expressing that idealism.
All of that good stuff is, to my mind, the content of this totally kickass record, and in terms of its relationship to the genre of Hip Hop, it is a truly focused aesthetic statement; both a love letter and a slap in the face to what the genre has become.
I'll only add that since notre amour has been working with Saul, and has, it seems, wandered (or, perhaps strode purposefully) into more explicitly political territory, I think it's particularly pertinent to the moment we find ourselves in right now, of waiting to see what comes down the pike from the Empire of Dirt. To my mind, the idea of Saul and Trent working together is an incredibly exciting one for both of them, because while Trent has an an enormously eloquent musical voice, it has been noted by many a pundit that his writing is not on a par with that of William Shakespeare (though, personally, I think his writing is perfectly calibrated to his project, and much more sensitive and skillful than people give it credit for being), while Saul is most articulate in a more linguistic sense. I also think that contrast between the two of them has about a million fascinating possible facets, so... I'll leave something for the discussion.
Obviously, there are about a million things to say about this record, so bring it, dear readers.
I remember riding along with my dad in his truck when I was a little girl, listening to that song -- my dad was a moustache-having big fan of The Eagles, and other stuff of that ilk, back in the day (before he became a magician, and sawed my mother in half) -- and I remember asking my dad, "Dad? Where's the limit? Is that someplace in California?
My dad laughed long and loud, but you know what? I'm the one who's laughing now, because I know where the limit is: it's where our last thread went as soon as someone had to throw down with the Kool-Aid man.
Dudes, that's over. Let's call it a day.
Meanwhile, a good idea was floated. Obviously, we're going to have to think of some ways to pass the long, painful drought of Trent and Trent-related news. As painful as it will assuredly be, we must fare forward without Sparklepants calling his ex-bandmates "assholes" and whatever else he gets up to publically. So, in the meantime, let's have a WTC listening club, to go with our book club, and listen to records together.
I thought, WHAT THE HELL! Why not start right now, with something I'm nearly certain we all have: how about Pretty Hate Machine?
Here's my suggestion: Don't just go off half-cocked right now. I know we all know Trent's second halo pretty fucking well... maybe even TOO WELL. I want you to actually give it a listen, and instead of relying on your already existing impressions, and the fact that Trent can do no wrong, respond to it anew, with today's perspective.
Also, let's bear in mind who made that record, all by his lonesome, in beween cleaning the recording studio toilets, too, because it was THIS GUY:
Isn't he charming?
The other thing that should be posted here, besides all yer all's unstoppably witty banter and in depth considerations of "Ringfinger", is suggestions about what we should listen to together in the future, because sooner or later, we're going to run out of Nine Inch Nails records.
Jane suggested Thom Yorke's solo record The Eraser, and I support that totally, because as soon as I stop loving the bejesus out of Trent*, I totally plan on developing a new passion for Thom. Or, maybe Jarvis. Goddamn, I love Jarvis!
*Good thing that'll be NEVER.