Review Summary: Have you ever had a crush on Trent Reznor?
The following account might be entirely fictional...
Trent Reznor truly is a hunk for the ages; he burst onto the industrial scene in 1989 and was quite the adorable skinny puppy, cute as a button in his dust-covered long sleeve black tees. In the mid 90’s he blossomed, showing the world his fatherly side taking an unfortunate looking young scrote named Brian under his wing and giving him a reason to live; when he had this generosity thrown back in his face he walked away, knowing that the lack of attention would eventually destroy his errant creation. After extricating himself from that regrettable episode Trent went about solidifying his own position as a prominent rock star and general dreamboat by carefully avoiding the pitfalls of gothdom; despite being allergic to pastry products goths are still prone to putting on a mid-life paunch so Reznor wisely purchased some top of the range gym equipment and expanded his wardrobe beyond the one lonely funeral suit and acquired a tailor.
The man's a darling and I'm sure we’ve all caught ourselves daydreaming from time to time; perhaps you fantasised you could be his friend, whiling away the hours discussing the finer plot details of the latest Terminator movie together; maybe you wished you could trade places with Trent just for one day, screaming into the mic about ‘piggy this’ and ‘piggy that’ to your heart’s content; but what if you actually believed you WERE Trent Reznor. Surely that would be a step too far, crossing the line from healthy obsession to dangerous compulsion.
This is the fate that befell a young Glaswegian male in 1999, an ardent Nine Inch Nails fan who’d been toiling away in the local music scene fronting an outfit called ‘Perfect World’. After consulting doctors it was agreed the best course of action was to encourage the man to play out this fantasy to its logical conclusion; allow the patient to record what he believed would become the next NIN record, the long awaited follow up to 1994’s ‘The Downward Spiral’. A bidding war erupted as record companies scrambled for the opportunity to release the album believing Trent might be suffering long-term writer’s block; the deeply confused man refused to sign the contract unless he could use the ‘usual’ NIN name, so the label were forced to contact Reznor’s legal team.
It was agreed the album could be released on the condition the artist label was changed on the sleeve at the last minute; the title put forward by Trent's team was RICO (a clever acronym for Reznor Infringement of COpywright). After the release of ‘Sanctuary Medicines’ relations soured between both parties as it became apparent just how closely this man was replicating Reznor’s sound and how poorly the recording sessions for ‘The Fragile’ were going. Eventually Trent’s legal advisers pushed to sue for infringement of the NIN trademark. The evidence for the case is summarised below:
EXHIBIT A – Tracks 1-2 Sanctuary Medicines
These songs document the beginning of the defendant’s personality crisis, the moment of transformation believed to be the purchase of a pair of knee high industrial boots referred to in the lyric ‘put on your boots get out of your head’ found in the stomping album opener ‘Shave Your Head’. For the delusion to take hold the defendant would need to believe that he travelled from New Orleans to Glasgow hence the groovy harmonica sampling ‘Aeroplane’ referring to an imagined nightmarish flight across the Atlantic.
EXHIBIT B – Tracks 3-8 Sanctuary Medicines
Here we see the identity crisis firmly take a grip on the defendant, ‘Smokescreen’ referring to a ‘face no one else sees’ with the admission ‘when I wake up I can’t get out...and this is real’. The glitchy trail of bleeps that drift in and out of ‘Overload’ betray the befuddled workings of a fragile mind asking ‘how can I be sure of anything?’ The song ‘Sanctuary Medicines’ of course refers to the treatment the defendant was receiving at the time of recording to combat the symptoms associated with believing you look really great in leather slacks.
EXHIBIT C – Tracks 9-11 Sanctuary Medicines
The defendant is now starting to suffer the consequences of his delusion, the relentless stomp of ‘Attack Me’ vocalising this man’s paranoia as friends and family refuse to acknowledge him as Mr Reznor. On track 11, the slow motion ballad ‘Dear God’ the defendant finally reaches the realisation that he might not actually be the industrial god among men of his dreams and worries that suicide might be his only option; better that than face a lifetime of not being Trent. ‘What if I depend on you friend and you let me down?...what do I get if I take the easy way out?’
The verdict reached by the jury was that the defendant was working under the belief he actually was Mr Reznor at the time of recording and therefore usual copy write infringement laws shouldn’t be applied in this instance; further to this, it was also agreed the artist ‘Rico’ was not the source of Reznor’s writer’s block and can in no way be held accountable for ‘The Fragile’s turgid nature and disappointing lack of pop hooks.