Review Summary: year of the witchBad Witch
makes me greedy. Greedy for more volume, more depth, more songs, more spins: it makes me want to write essays upon essays about the sound of its sound. The laptop rock was conceptually fitting for Year Zero
but got old pretty quickly, and for those who hold production and mixing as one of Nine Inch Nails' most important qualities like I do, you'll find plenty of ear candy here. Here a "Shit Mirror" or an "Ahead of Ourselves", absolutely crackling with kinetic energy, Pretty Hate Machine
drum tracks wrapped in razor wire around a pair of nasty looking knuckle-busters. There a "Play the Goddamned Part" with saxophone and guitar lazily wandering in and out of the mix while the Ghosts
-sounding drums clatter on and on, until a "God Break Down the Door" segues from it perfectly, saxophone suddenly wailing and drums thundering away like a cut from the Lost Highway
soundtrack making a resurgence.
The transitions are what make the thing, equally as important as the actual songs here. Bad Witch
finds Trent at a rare peak in terms of song flow and focus, and as a piece is absolutely deserving of the LP distinction, brutally short runtime be damned – has Kanye West taught us nothing？ Not only that, but it attempts to provide some cohesion to a retrospectively inconsistent trilogy, and it can do so thematically if not in the actual music. "...Feels like I've been here before, but I don't know anymore, and I don't care anymore" was how "Branches/Bones" announced itself two years ago now; "feels like I've been here before, over and over again" is where our protagonist ends, suggesting either some very deep and thoughtful commentary on society or that Trent Reznor just likes to reuse lyrics, which honestly seems the most likely option. I don't know what the story of these EPs is supposed to be or how they might be related, and I don't know if it even matters; if we're supposed to obsessively hunt down the inherent clues like Year Zero
or just nod along with recurring motifs a la With Teeth
. It's whatever. The ambience which tapers off the end of Bad Witch
evokes far more than Trent's often clumsy lyrics can do themselves, and if the man can't paint pictures with words, he does it fine with blasts of white noise, splintered instrumentals and a distortion pedal.