‘More of the same, but not like before’ is the best way to describe Hesitation Marks. This may sound negative, but trust me, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The title itself is derived from the term “hesitation wounds”, which, for those of you who don’t already know, refers to the marks one leaves on oneself with a sharp instrument in preparation for self-inflicted harm and/or suicide. Taking this into consideration should wash away any skepticism one may possess about what NIN’s latest release will make you feel because for someone who is happily married with two children, Reznor’s past life and professional experiences have helped him to create an album that remains true to the NIN sound and formula.
After five years between albums, especially while operating under the impression that How To Destroy Angels was the closest I’d ever get to another NIN release, listening to Hesitation Marks has been a treat – a decadent, succulent treat. The familiar wriggling, writhing electronic beats bring on waves of nostalgia for older NIN songs while newer auditory elements change things up enough to prevent Hesitation Marks from being a repetitive version of older albums. The only thing missing is the grittiness you can hear in Reznor’s older work in songs like Closer or The Wretched. But again, complete repetitiveness is boring and amateur.
Beyond the sound itself, Hesitation Marks is full of relatable, cathartic lyrics. My personal favorite is Find My Way which sounds like a slightly quieter version of Everyday Is Exactly The Same. The tinkling piano keys echo mournfully as the electronic elements click and pop in true NIN fashion. Reznor’s voice lays over top of it all like mist lingering thickly above frostbitten blades of grass on a brisk October morning. I feel compelled by the urge to listen to this particular song on repeat while sitting under a tree in my favorite cemetery, dressed in all black while I watch the world go by.
Listening to Hesitation Marks will effect each person differently, but I can say with confidence that wherever you were in life the first time you heard NIN will come flooding back to you the moment you hit play. The elements of nostalgia and newness blend together so well on this album that you may even forget where you are. So lock the doors, black out the windows, burn your favorite incense and let Hesitation Marks take hold of your eardrums.
1. “The Eater of Dreams”
2. “Copy of A”
3. “Came Back Haunted”
4. “Find My Way”
5. “All Time Low”
9. “Various Methods of Escape”
11. “I Would for You”
12. “In Two”
13. “While I’m Still Here”
14. “Black Noise”
15. “Find My Way” (Oneohtrix Point Never Remix)
16. “All Time Low” (Todd Rundgren Remix)
17. “While I’m Still Here” (Breyer P-Orridge ‘Howler’ Remix)
Nine Inch Nails – Came Back Haunted
Came Back Haunted
Nine Inch Nails – Copy of A
Copy of A