Nine Inch Nails
The Slip


3.5
great

Review

by Cubert99 USER (6 Reviews)
July 13th, 2008 | 99 replies | 26,853 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Trent releases yet another album. But where has Ghosts left the NIN sound?

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

Nine Inch Nails has had its up and downs over the years, with Trent’s record being a tad patchy to put it lightly. With every bit of brilliance, came something frustratingly generic – and most of Nails’ releases have contained both these traits in fairly equal measure. With Teeth, whilst it had some fantastic tracks, was mostly pop-tastic NIN-lite. It was Nine Inch Nails packaged, dressed with inviting slogans and crammed down the listeners throat with that dreaded tag of ‘a comeback’ biting at its heels. But even in that, his most commercially conscious release, glimmers of the artistry Trent was so desperate to be heard can still be found in the ethereal ‘Beside You In Time’ and the affecting ‘Right Where It Belongs’. The follow-up - Year Zero - pushed the pop format to its limits, trying to combine mainstream appeal with grinding techno backdrops– but whilst impressive, it was an uncomfortable album. Never techno enough to be a techno album, and too noisy to really be accepted as pop. It wasn’t until the recently released Ghosts that Nine Inch Nails had truly spread its wings as a project. Free from the restrictions of a record label, Trent Reznor released a boldly artistic double album of purely instrumental soundscapes. I wont mention the methods Trent Reznor chose to release it, as you probably already know, and to dwell on it is to detract from the albums importance musically, and not simply as an industry gimmick. There was a sense with Ghosts, with the sheer care and scope of the project, that it was the album Trent Reznor has been itching to make for a long time. So now he has made it, where does the story go from here?

The Slip is the answer. Released only a couple of months after Ghosts, I approached the album, as many surely did, with a slight sense of trepidation. After such a shift in gears with Ghosts, what would The Slip actually contain? The answer is perhaps one that should have been entirely expected. The Slip is a Nine Inch Nails album. It suffers from the same downfalls, and rides the same highs as previous releases, but coming after Ghosts the NIN formula is put into a somewhat different perspective. For instance, the album follows suit of many Nine Inch Nails releases, in that it is front-loaded with more abrasive, faster paced tracks, and as the album progresses the mood falls back into far more introspective territory. The difference here is that in many ways The Slip basks in the glory or Ghosts. For instance, if Ghosts had never existed, an instrumental soundscape like ‘Corona Radiata’ and its following beat driven instrumental ‘The Four of Us Are Dying’ would seem completely out of place in the tracklist. It severs the flow of the album, completely shifting its focus and splitting it into two halves. However with Ghosts’ shadow looming over The Slip, it suddenly all seems to make sense – with these two songs being the thread that link this album with its predecessor. As a result the two tracks are extremely effective - bathed in atmosphere and Trents now trademark pitch black mood – they stand up to anything on Ghosts.

Unfortunately, some tracks suffer from the progression found on that album. Tracks such as ‘1,000,000’ and ‘Letting You’ seem like a step backwards. What’s frustrating is that they are by no means bad songs, and do what NIN has always done with as much vigour and aggression as one has come to expect. ‘1,000,000’ provides the NIN audience with its pounding techno-march fix, and ‘Letting You’ is like its bigger, more violent brother, beating the eardrums with its earth shattering bass during the chorus. Despite this it all seems a bit… normal. No track can be more accused of this then the painfully by-numbers ‘Discipline’, a song that I mildly liked when I first heard it, but holds no nuances or depth to warrant any interest after a few more listens. It’s a shame, as after Ghosts I would have never expected Trent to pen something so generic.

Thankfully, its successor ‘Echoplex’ its absolutely superb, successfully striking the catchy-yet-interesting balance with lethal precision. It bounces along on a contagious rhythm, combined with a wonderfully melancholic bassline that makes the track. The jewel in The Slips’ crown, however, is the incredible ‘Lights In The Sky’. Again, true to the NIN formula it’s the expected ‘quiet ballad’ of the album, but it is stripped bare – with only piano and Trents distant voice for comfort – and as a result is utterly chilling, and to my mind the finest ballad in the Nine Inch Nails catalogue. Unfortunately ‘Head Down’ follows in suit of ‘1,000,000’ and ‘Letting You’ in the sense that it’s a perfectly good song, but it doesn’t do anything new or unexpected. And closer ‘Demon Seed’ suffers the same burden, except it also fractures the mood left by ‘The Four of Us Are Dying’ and therefore seems out of place being the final word.

So where has the story gone from Ghosts? Nowhere but backwards, really. And that’s precisely the problem with The Slip. On it’s own merits, it’s a great album, but it’s a great album in exactly the ways you expect it to be, and rarely differs from the set NIN formula. From its anger and its melancholy right down to its now frankly self parodying inward gazing lyrics – ‘I feel a million miles away/I don’t feel anything at all’ – it simply feels like Trent is taking a step back in the wake of Ghosts. And so it remains an album to recommend to fans of the band, but anyone who thought Ghosts was going to nudge this release in a more fresh direction will be left unsatisfied. When I delved into The Slip, I was unsure of what direction it was going to take, or what direction I wanted it to take for that matter. Listening to it, it often sounds as if Trent may have had a similar feeling writing it.



Recent reviews by this author
Grinderman Grinderman 2Eels Electro-Shock Blues
Pelican City of EchoesQueens of the Stone Age Era Vulgaris
Tool 10,000 Days
user ratings (1208)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Deadwing42 (4)
    Trent Reznor's sonic collage of a career retrospective....

    Edmund Blackadder (3)
    "Am I still tough enough? Feels like I'm wearing down."...

    Jeremy Bentham (4)
    "The Slip" proves to be a random but pleasent suprise and a great addition to the NIN disc...

    Dylan S. (4)
    They say you get what you pay for...well this was free and it was excellent!...

  • DerMond (3)
    the first less than great NIN album, sadly....


Comments:Add a Comment 
StrizzMatik
July 13th 2008



3185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Wow, talk about difference of opinion. Head Down is IMO by far the best song on the record, and has probably the sickest beat Trent has ever recorded. And the whole outro/build-up makes that song. And Echoplex is good but also the most boring song on the whole thing. 1,000,000 and Letting You are old-hat? Letting You is probably the most insane sh*t TR has done since March Of The Pigs! Other than those glaring issues, it's a good review.This Message Edited On 07.13.08

Chewie
July 13th 2008



4531 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

excellent review, good opinion, you really understand NIN well. Although I feel that Letting You and Demon Seed are terrific, I agree 1000% with Discipline and 1,00,000 being predictable.

PayneTiger777
July 13th 2008



4388 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I should probably download this album. I have heard all the songs and it was good when I listened to it. Nice review by the way. I'll give you props for that.

StrizzMatik
July 15th 2008



3185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It's quite good. Go get it. Comes out on CD 7/22 also.

Lungingweasel
August 3rd 2008



46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's free, and it rocks.

Thanks Trent. =)

industrialjunkie92
August 24th 2008



167 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's okay. But its free so it rocks out hard.

foreverendeared
August 24th 2008



14678 Comments


yeah i'm just too stuck in the past. NIN hasn't had a really good record since The Fragile

StevenRS
October 23rd 2008



1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really did not take this free album seriously because, you know, it's free, but it really is an excellent album.


AtavanHalen
October 23rd 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lolwut nice first post bro

heylelshalem
November 14th 2008



71 Comments


i am so bored with NiN ..

AtavanHalen
November 14th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not.
I'm seeing them in February :D

fireaboveicebelow
November 14th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm seeing them tomorrow

ManWomanBoogie
November 14th 2008



185 Comments


sucks for you

ninjuice
November 15th 2008



6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yippee. Lights in the Sky doesn't come off as boring anymore. Maybe I should try the two songs after it as well.

AtavanHalen
November 15th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Corona isn't really a song, but The Four Of Us isn't bad.

StickmanSouffle
January 5th 2009



286 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This deserves a 4 because it has more great songs than meh ones.

SeaAnemone
February 13th 2009



19990 Comments


This is getting dangerously close to my favorite NIN release.

Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country

fireaboveicebelow
February 13th 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

easily my least favorite, songs work much better live though

SeaAnemone
February 13th 2009



19990 Comments


Downward Spiral beats this still... by a little. I'll give it a few more listens. "Discipline" is great though.

Essence
February 13th 2009



3583 Comments


[quote=SeaAnemone]Downward Spiral beats this still... by a whole fucking lot[/quote]

Seriously now, TDS and The Slip should not be compared.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy