411 Music Fact or Fiction 09.06.13: Trent Reznor Is Back
Posted by Joseph Lee on 09.06.2013
What did we think of Nine Inch Nails' new album Hesitation Marks? Are we interested in the return of Lily Allen? Was Jay Z's music video for "Holy Grail" worth watching? 411's John Downey and Jeff Modzelewski answer these questions and more!
Welcome to another edition of Fact or Fiction: Music. I'm your host, Joseph Lee.
This week we have Jeff Modzelewski against John Downey.
Ok, I'm not the world's biggest Jack White fan or anything, but he's done a lot of great stuff. While I prefer something from The White Stripes or his solo stuff to The Dead Weather, at least The Dead Weather is rock music that gets widespread respect and recognition. So I may not be going out to buy the album, but if I hear a song on the radio I'll certainly give it a listen.
John Downey: FICTION.
My brother has tried to sell me on the band's merits for some time, but I just don't find them all that appealing. More power to you if you like them, I suppose, but I put them in the category of "music I have no love or hatred for" and file them next to Them Crooked Vultures.
I don't really enjoy biopics, and, as interesting as his life was, I'm not the biggest Freddie Mercury or Queen fan. I wasn't going to see this even if it did happen. I'm sure a lot of fans of his are upset and think this would be a great project, and I get that, but it wasn't gonna be something I was going to get invested in.
The writer has been a part of many great projects. The star has made one great film and a whole bunch of bad ones. It isn't uncommon for high-profile projects to fall apart in planning, so I can't call this disappointing because I held no expectation that it would have been made, and whether it would have been worth our while is anyone's guess. Then again, I just read that the project is still alive, so who knows.
I care because I'm happy when anyone with talent returns to music. Again, I'm not a big Lily Allen fan, but she's a whole lot better than much of the music happening today. Hopefully something good comes out of it for her. I don't see her setting herself up to fail, though.
John Downey: FICTION.
Well, okay, I care a little, but I'm not one to call "FACTION". Her brand of pop is better than what usually makes the rounds, but her music doesn't sustain itself over the course of an album and has never wowed me. I'll take Lily Allen over Cher Lloyd, but it is telling that I had forgotten Allen had taken a break from music.
The only episodes of Glee I watched were to determine if it was my sort of thing (it wasn't), and that was almost four years ago. The passing of Cory Monteith is truly unfortunate, and I have no reason to doubt that the tribute episode will do right by both the character and the actor. That doesn't mean, however, that I am inclined to watch it.
Jeff Modzelewski: FICTION.
Never watched Glee in the past, certainly not going to start now because one of the actors died. Glee takes good music and turns it into watered down crap. I have no problem with musical theater or show tunes or anything like that. In fact I'm a big fan of musical theater. But I don't enjoy this type of music at all. Frankly I'm surprised this show is on the air, since it's based on a high school glee club and, let's face it, aren't the kids supposed to graduate? But, yeah, I'm absolutely skipping this one.
The song itself is Jay Z's lament against fortune and fame, which kind of flies in the face of the message of Watch the Throne, which was, "Hey, look at how awesome being rich and famous is, and with no substantive downsides!" The video is just two guys walking through a few rooms that are almost barren while meaningless imagery is thrown at the audience. To its credit, it is an appropriate video to accompany a so-okay-it's-average album, but that's the extent of my praise.
Jeff Modzelewski: FICTION.
It wasn't the best video ever, but it was good. Jay Z is a hell of an artist, and Timberlake is at the top of the pop game. The video has some good symbolism and is interesting. It's not my style of music but I can appreciate it.
If I were to write a full review of Hesitation Marks, which would involve weighing in on how objectively good it is, I would likely end up giving it a rather positive treatment. That said, I have no qualms about going FICTION here, and that's because I just don't care for it. I've heard too many recent albums that use the same ingredients as Hesitation Marks that hit much harder more consistently. Also, I thought The Slip was a better effort, and I had forgotten that The Slip existed only a few months after it was released, so it stands to reason that this album won't stick with me for any length of time. I understand and respect that this might not be a popular opinion, and I'm not about to shit on anyone for liking the album, but I don't see myself returning to this album as often as I will so many other albums I've heard this year.
Jeff Modzelewski: FACT.
Only listened to it once so far, but it's very solid. Reznor's gotten significantly less aggressive over the years, but he still has a lot to say, and this album shows plenty of growth. It has more of a "pop" feel than previous NIN efforts, but I think it'll still be dark and moody enough to satisfy his long-time fans. I don't know that I'd want to see a show where half the songs came from this album, but there's plenty of good stuff here that'll fit in well with the rest of NIN's catalog.
Score Card: 3 for 6
Anything you agree with? Disagree with? Sound off in the comment section.