Review Summary: A sad case of an album not being able to live up to the impossible hype that was built up for it.
For the most part, Trent Reznor had not catered to the ‘hits’ and what was on the radio for most of his career. Even though Head Like a Hole
was gigantic hits, Nine Inch Nails was normally not very fond of making what radio listeners wanted to hear-until this album, With Teeth
. After a long, six-year hiatus, Trent Reznor was back with possibly the most hyped Nine Inch Nails album of all time. Fans had been wanting so badly for this album to come out, and it finally did, but to much criticism. Most fans and critics viewed this album as being the most mainstream, plain, and boring Nine Inch Nails release to date. The songs were easy listens upon first glance, and the lead single The Hand That Feeds
dominated radiowaves with its dancefloor beats and lack of guitar distortion. Then Everyday Is Exactly The Same
hit radiowaves and once again, the song’s hypnotic beats, slow rhythms, and haunting lyrics took the radiowaves by storm; yet again. But With Teeth
wasn’t done dominating radiowaves; Only
came along with its largely digital sounds, guitar waves, and catchy chorus and turned out to be With Teeth
’s most successful single. With all this success, what made With Teeth
Maybe it was the lack of the dirty industrial guitars of The Downward Spiral
, or it could be the large absence of the atmospheres and soundscapes of The Fragile
. But that wasn’t what went wrong with this album. What went wrong was the hype this album had coming up to it, as Nine Inch Nails fans were reeling off of the massive classic The Fragile
, and most likely were expecting another heavily atmospheric, challenging classic like The Fragile
. Let’s just say With Teeth
was a much easier listen than The Fragile
; the songs seemed plain rock, mixed with some catchy industrial beats, screaming lyrics, the ‘dark’ vibe of the album, and the seemingly new idea of the heavily drum-led tracks that were littered about With Teeth
. What makes Nine Inch Nails so popular is the dark vibes, heavy guitars, distortion techniques, and the synthesizers and keyboards; and this album has plenty of this, and more.
Most of the album’s tracks are led by the drums, most of which were played by Dave Grohl, the lead singer of the Foo Fighters. He’s an excellent drummer, and it shows this in songs like You Know What You Are"
. The drums mostly carry the song’s beats and rhythms while the guitars and synthesizers add a new layer of sound and techinques to the sound. The title track is for the most part carried by the simplistic drum rhythm that makes the song so great. The beat is completely original, catchy, and just pure fun. But not only is the drumming excellent, so is Trent Reznor’s vocals. Reznor’s vocals in All the Love in the World
are soothing, while feature a sharp bite and vibe; the same with You Know What You Are"
except Reznor adds his trademark screams in the chorus as he shouts as loud as he can the chorus. Not only is the chorus furious and fast, the verses are frantic and loud, which makes the song a true classic.
’s lyrics and vocal techniques are where the album falls short. For example, in The Collector
, Trent Reznor sings, “I pick things up. I am a Collector.”. That’s not the worst, though, as in Getting Smaller
, it’s almost hard to listen to because of the simple line, “I got my arms a-flip-flop-flip”. But its not only the lackluster lyrics which put a damper on the album, Trent Reznor’s overpronounciation of words pulls the album apart at the seams. In the title track, Reznor echoes his famous lines that are supposed to read “With Teeth, With Teeth” in the lyrics, but actually comes out “ah-With-the-Teeth-ah” . And while this makes the song much more memorable, it makes the song feel rather cheesy and half-cooked. If you actually bought the CD, you’ll notice there’s no lyric booklet, and its pretty easy to see why; when the lyrics are as subpar as they are in this album.
But that doesn’t pull much away from the album, as the music itself is solid, catchy, and original. The bassline in The Collector
is addicting and sets the dark vibe well, Love is Not Enough
has a heavy-beating keyboard beat that is fused with the drums that keeps the song going and makes it a very presentable song, even if its rather boring. Sunspots
has a beat that is as addicting and industrial as Closer
while having a dark, sexy vibe that keeps the song going and makes it very memorable.
But where the album shines is the end. The final trio may be the best trio of songs ever, especially for Nine Inch Nails. Continuing the tradition of the ‘epics’ at the end of the album, the bottom trio kicks off as The Line Begins to Blur
starts off with a heavy guitar riff and distorted vocals before breaking into a loud chorus and catchy rhythm, and it flows well into Beside You in Time
, which is just excellent. Beside You in Time
is a heavy, echoing track that slowly builds, being carried by the echoing, atmospheric lines that murmur “and on, and on, and on…”. Right Where It Belongs
features a catchy piano hook and is rather fun, catchy, and atmospheric. The live ‘roars’ add to the song, before it breaks down and the song ends.
There isn’t one bad Nine Inch Nails album, and With Teeth
continues to add to Nine Inch Nails’ legacy. The digital beats, techno keyboards, and synthesizers forshadow to the future album, Year Zero
, while the dark, sexy beats in Sunspots
echo back to The Downward Spiral
and The Fragile
. All in all, With Teeth
is a horribly underrated album that couldn’t live up to the hype that was built-but there’s was just too much hype that With Teeth
came off as a disappointment; even though it shouldn’t have been, it was more than I could have asked for.
You Know What You Are"
The Line Begins to Blur
Beside You in Time
Right Where It Belongs