Resonance: Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails

Of the songs that stand out, “Head Like a Hole” and “Terrible Lie” are probably the two songs I was familiar with before I knew the name Nine Inch Nails. My musical coming of age not until I was in my adolescence, there are vague memories of a muffled rendition of “Head Like a Hole” playing on my sister’s stereo behind closed doors. I didn’t know what it was, I would have been about six, but what I did know is it was different from other things, the things I usually heard my sister play on the radio. Flash forward to my burgeoning hormonal teenage years. Bored homeschooling dNine-Inch-Nails-Pretty-Hate-Machine-Album-Coverays of music catalogue perusals led me to the discovery of band called Nine Inch Nails. I didn’t know who they were, there was no internet back then, at least not one readily accessible to a middle class citizen in the mid 1990s. The album I acquired then, some of you will remember was called Broken, an E.P that forever changed the way I saw music, and realized its intense power over emotion and influence. It was at this time that I connected “Head Like a Hole” to Nine Inch Nails. The problem was, for a boy of 13, in the era of the compact disc and accessibility to music only available through purchase or radio and cable music television, the album Pretty Hate Machine was scarce (available in cassette tape at the time, but who bought cassette tapes then?! They were as passe as compact discs are today, however, back then, CD was the way of the future). When I finally got my hands on Pretty Hate Machine we were somewhere in limbo between Downward Spiral and The Fragile. It was much needed to fill the void of material. Retrospective to 1989, here we see another musical act before its time, creating a mix of rock and metal elements with electronic and dance. But wait! you say, what about industrial rock? A look back to such acts as Front 242, Ministry,  Throbbing Gristle, Nitzer Ebb, Laibach, and Skinny Puppy, to name very few. Still, Trent Reznor and his Nine Inch Nails assisted in jarring open the door of this unique mix of electronic and metal to a larger public in an era that was geared towards darkness and Armageddon. This aural plea from the soul of this madman pleased the environment as it trudged toward the new millinium, and it began with “Head Like a Hole,” a song all at once rebellious and angry as musical and catchy. I always tend to look at they lyrics of things and could only imagine what or who he sang about. Was it just the concept of money and those either ensnared in its greed or its influence of power? Either way, the song was a protest by its own right. “Terrible Lie” is another song noteworthy for its timelessness, and the song I admired for its depth and texture, its tangible angst, an element not easy to wield. The song aims of betrayal and self-doubt, lack of control and lack of forgiveness. Its mechanical open a wretched alarm to the listener, brandished throughout. The gothic gray and gossamer white synths that wine in the back, the chatter of electronic buzz and banter, Trent’s distinct vocal pate shredding and moaning against they raucous but acute music. Another hit to come off the album, a single also hip and recognizable, “Down It.” This song began to show how versatile the band could be, not secluding its anger to the dark of night, but also in the light of day, chipper to a point, still with no recourse but to trick the listener. A classic industrial track, it became one of their most popular songs early on. The album carries on this way presenting something I find somewhat more ‘marketable,’ or user friendly for what it was. The language of the album, minimal inferences socio-analytic commentary as one bears in “Head Like a Hole,” as much the expression aggressive diatribe offers and sex. Many songs are riddled with innuendo and requiem, explorative to orgasmic ends, some laden with shame and others curiosity. It was enough to keep this gay boy wondering and smitten by the thought of Trent Reznor.  Another personal fave, on the album is “Sin,” a track tucked sonically away at the back end of the album, and a song I feel laid a path to where their next musical exploits would go. A nice hallmark of some tracks on this album, also I think laudable, are the many tracks accessible to a dancefloor: “That’s What I Get,” “Down In It,” “Kinda I Want To,” “The Only Time,” a caviatte seen scarcely as the bands catalogue expands. The conclusion, the post-industrial, retro electronic jam, “Ringfinger” completes Pretty Hate Machine on a high note, listeners eager for what’s to come, and for those just learning of Nine Inch Nails, an oasis of sustenance and dynamic origin. Twenty years on this classic still timeless as I put it on repeat.

Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
1989, Interscope Records

Tracklist:

  1. Head Like A Hole
  2. Terrible Lie
  3. Down In It
  4. Sanctified
  5. Something I Can Never Have
  6. Kinda I Want To
  7. Sin
  8. That’s What I Get
  9. The Only Time
  10. Ringfinger

 

This review of Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. 

 

Remittance (Reprise)

It was in observation
of manipulation.
She used
her mental prowess
naturally throwing screens
at conflict,
hiding the truths
needed,
protecting the secrets
accumulated.
Her vast trail grew
like the shadows long
tails tethered to the
horizon sun.
Twilight grew
in her eyes.
She was tired.
The attempts
at manipulation.
The unlauded successes
of its unintentional existence.
A great book for the
counter culture.
She’d stood on one side
of the line by necessity
for so long she was unsure
at first how to feel
when good fortune
brought her to
the other side.
And how at that time
the magnetic draw
she fed on increased
and strengthened.
She had no choice
but to stand
where she stood.
The prewritten law,
the contract signed upon
(re)initiation, feigned at
as a victim’s house,
acknowledged
the many paths
to take,
agreed the poisons
of the world
would overtake
the soul
if the sun
was going
to shine
on peace
and goodwill,
to overcome
the counter balance
incumbent from
this game’s inception.
The trade off
for those who
will or will not exist
in the heightened world
of the future, the point
being to assist another
dying world, or to learn
again.
For now her resolve
asked for piety, for
forgiveness |
amongst the shadows.
Her resolve to adapt
to the onslaught
of challenge
and awkwardness,
to grin through
once regulated emotions
of pain and suffering,
to continue transmuting
the darkness of the soul,
to carry on as a beacon
of higher awareness.
She had once learned,
deep inside a dream,
the memory existed.
Beyond the sun and galaxy,
in a space accessible to opened souls,
the maps of many paths reside.
If she guided to it with her heart,
she’d remember the choices she made;
if open she’d easy navigate
the river of the soul
to starlight
and the inner healing
of its energetic core.

 

“Remittance” is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. 

Remittance

It was in observation of manipulation. She used her mental prowess naturally throwing screens at conflict, hiding the truths needed, protecting the secrets accumulated. Her vast trail grew long like the shadows long tails tethered to the horizon sun. Twilight grew in her eyes. She was tired. The attempts at manipulation. The unlauded successes of its unintentional existence. A great book for the counter culture. She’d stood on one side of the line by necessity for so long she was unsure at first how to feel when good fortune brought her to the other side. And how at that time the magnetic draw she fed on increased and strengthened. She had no choice but to stand where she stood. The prewritten law, the contract signed upon (re)initiation, feigned at as a victim’s house, acknowledged the many paths to take, agreed the poisons of the world would overtake the soul if the sun was going to shine on peace and goodwill, to overcome the counter balance incumbent from this game’s inception. The trade off for those who will or will not exist in the heightened world of the future, the point being to assist another dying world, or to learn again. For now her resolve asked for piety, for forgiveness amongst the shadows. Her resolve to adapt to the onslaught of challenge and awkwardness, to grin through once regulated emotions of pain and suffering, to continue transmuting the darkness of the soul, to carry on as a beacon of higher awareness. She had once learned, deep inside a dream, the memory existed. Beyond the sun and galaxy, in a space accessible to opened souls, the maps of many paths reside. If she guided to it with her heart, she’d remember the choices she made; if open she’d easy navigate the river of the soul to starlight and the inner healing of its energetic core.

 

Remittance is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved.

The Fall of September

Distillation of the history
in perceptions collided, scoped
for legion, collective and hive,
integrated inherently,
regardless of opinion,
deception sets sail beyond the rising sun.
Vast orchids blossom, blood red and orange,
daffodils fuchsia, peach blossom fire,
fiercely pinken darkening sky,
the lunar dream solidifying in the minds,
the abundant illumination crowning insights
to selected witnesses set to testify,
to bare the judgment of the enemy,
to call its shadows to attention,
to see the recognition in its eyes.
It wants to share something,
it wants to slyly strike a deal,
but it needs permission,
and the ability to be seen by eyes
once restricted to the access of
the other side.  Some must look
deep inside. Some don’t have to
because they just know. Some
bow heads in shame. Those
who know restrict the spirit,
those indulgent regard
its will, those unknowing
and those apathetic
are lost and found
to chance’s fate
regarding dominion
with this worldly spirit.
To fall into the infinite eye
of insights, to collapse into
opening doors, the depths
far deeper than comprehension.
The blackness of limbo
darker than space,
far colder than the coldest
memory, the adjourning meeting
would take place. In a land of silhouette
and disorder, the judgment set by the
black mirror before them, peer
into the chasm: now

you are nothing.

 

“The Fall of September” is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved.

 

 

Resonance: No Need to Argue by The Cranberries

the_cranberries-no_need_to_argue(2)

A question of propriety regarding its remembrance, I thought about a retrospective type review. To revisit pivotal inspirations from my youth, nothing was more appropriate than the album, No Need to Argue by the Cranberries. It was one of the first five albums I owned independently as a youth. It was one of those special albums whose relationship no one else understood. The album begins, the first three tracks, a mature and familiar continuation of the album’s predecessor, Everybody Else is Doing it so Why Can’t We? Dreamy music ushered by sweeping guitars and the angelic crooning of the despondent and affirmed, fans of The Cranberries could rest assured the alternative rock act maintained a signature style albeit for consistency’s sake. “Ode to My Family,” a heartfelt track soft with acoustics, hypnotic synths and O’Riordan’s heart-pitch vocals, followed by the upbeat if not lyrically sorrowful “Be With You” and capped off by the nostalgia tinged, acoustic reverie “Twenty-One,” reprises the pensive yet verdant fields of the bands freshman creation before rising its fan base with the austere strumming of the guitar that opens the smash single “Zombie,” the track not only made the Cranberries household in the United States, it added a new dimension to the nature and artistry the band presented. It is a feral gift, a sonic missile the band uses conservatively, more reliant on the melodic crisp ambiance of natural sounds versus distorted. “Zombie” was as effective a rock song, as a metal song, a power pop song, and a female powerhouse Rockstar anthem all in one. It was heavy, it was catchy, it was raw. It was sexy. I recall being captured by its force and aggression, its nigh grunge aesthetic, its awareness of the world around it. I was captured by its art. And as the song closed in a sting of sharp resonance, we return to the ease of pianos and violins as the song “Empty” takes us away, pulling us deep on its strings and weeping vocals, a deep resonance showering from O’Riordan’s soul. The album continues on this way, a complex mix of dreamy guitars and wispy percussion. Dolores O’Riordan  moves from song a gossamer of emotional nostalgia. There is a definite sadness to her lyrics:

“Cause if I die tonight,
would you hold my hand?
Oh, would you understand?

“And if I lived in spite,
would you still be here,
No? Would you disappear?”

~~  “Everything I Said”

Perhaps there is something to it. Why in this period were popular, and even underground artists and musicians so responsive to the deep? As the music of tracks like “Dissapointment” and “Ridiculous Thoughts” are indeed inspirations reminiscent of elmements utilizied by the Cure and the dark and driven tracks talented by acts like Echo and the Bunny Men or Morrissey, and the ancestral twang of the Cocteau Twins.  O’Riordan’s voice an entity all it’s own, she tells a story via the emotion she imparts aurally rising from siren calls to demure retrospective. Coupled with the music, they create a dimension of realness, something you can hold to. As a fan from my youth, of course I was saddened at her loss. Stunned to know at 46, with such shining prospect, Dolores O’Riodin would depart. To date, I had believed she removed herself as had been reported she attempted before. Instead, she parted much the same way another renowned singer did, accidentally in the bathtub of her hotel room. Not to diminish the talents or the memory of Dolores O’Riordan, passing in the same manner as music icon Whitney Houston, leaves footnotes to a story yet to be told, but perhaps to be told soon.

As one of the largest things to come out Ireland, creatively speaking anyway, the nature of this band is important to a global story unfolding slowly. One whose roots extend deep into art and culture. It is the shadow of a ghost seen by these troubled artists and their auric record. The heaviness and emotion represented by the four members of a now iconic 1990s rock act, stand present to represent the forgotten talents, and the reverence to the artistry music still wielded to this point in the industry. But specters aside, the mastery of song and presence presented in No Need to Argue by the Cranberries is worthy of another listen, and of appreciation for talents shared and talents sacrificed.

The Cranberries – No Need To Argue 
1994, Island Records

Tracklist: 

  1. Ode To My Family
  2. I can’t Be With You
  3. Twenty-One
  4. Zombie
  5. Empty
  6. Everything I Said
  7. The Ic9icle melts
  8. Disappointment
  9. Ridivouous Thoughts
  10. Dreaming My Dreams
  11. Yeat’s Grae
  12. Doffodil Lament
  13. No need to Argue

This review of No Need to Argue by the Cranberries is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved.