The Outbreak: Fit

Sunday, February 27, 2005


Thank you to everyone who's linked to the blog so far. However, I do feel obligated to let Johnny Bacardi readers know that, alas, this is not strictly a music blog. But I expect you'll see a decent amount of that sort of activity going on here, at least until an oft-promised freelance opportunity along those lines finally materializes.

I could start by saying that I've heard the lead single of the next nine inch nails album (single: "the hand that feeds"; album: with teeth), and it's not very good. Musically it's nowhere near as interesting as the bizarre analog crunchscapes of the fragile (which was at one point my favorite album of the decade, though I feel I've grown away from it since), and lyrically--well, I suppose a part of me had assumed Trent Reznor's lyrical preoccupations would by this point have advanced at least slightly past where they were on Pretty Hate Machine way back when, but this does not seem to be the case. In fairness, the lead single (that is, the song the radio chose to play first; it was a b-side from the actual lead single, technically) from the fragile, "starfuckers, inc.," was by far the least interesting song on that album--aside from the cheeky carly simon swipe, it could have been done by Gravity Kills--so maybe we'll see a repeat of that pattern here.

It's interesting when an album by a band you were extremely heavily into a few years prior comes along while you're immeresed in music that's nothing like it. Last time this happened to me was when Underworld released A Hundred Days Off, at which point in my life After the Gold Rush, Hunky Dory, Beggars Banquet and Pink Moon were in heavy iPod rotation. But good will out, and that Underworld record was quite good indeed, and worked its way right into the '68-'74-fest in my brain without much hassle. nine inch nails have never been simply about metal aggression, but the bands I've been listenting to aren't about that at all--I read an interview with Interpol frontman Paul Banks in which he specifically stated he eschews his aggressive side when writing and recording. I'll be curious to see how the new NIN record meshes with the skinny-tie set.

On the other hand, my favorite song for the past two weeks or so has been Doves' new one, the astounding "Black and White Town." Naturally this group of moody Mancunians has the same main touchstone as Interpol (and nine inch nails, for that matter)--Joy Division--but the technicolor direction they take this in is a lot different from the angular dance-rock I've been into these days. (Does the "Heat Wave"-style piano take it back in that direction, or move it further away? You make the call!) Then again, Interpol themselves went in a more brightly-hued direction on their last record, so perhaps it's all more seamless than I'm making it sound. (Still, someone's gonna have to explain why I've been digging on Billy Joel's "Big Shot"...)


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