June 6, 2013

Song Review: Nine Inch Nails' "Came Back Haunted"


When Trent Reznor declared the end of Nine Inch Nails as a living, breathing organism back in 2009, I think we all knew in the back of our heads that in a day in age where indefinite hiatuses and break-ups mean absolutely nothing, he and his seminal alt-rock-defining pretty hate machine would return when the moment was right. We’ve patiently watched Reznor do his own thing since, be it successfully trying his hand at injecting visions of a technologically-doomed future into film and collecting awards for them at big Hollywood events, or working with wife Mariqueen and soundtrack collaborator Atticus Ross on his NIИ-lite offshoot How to destroy angels_. With timing being everything, Reznor has picked his spot in announcing Nine Inch Nails’s new album Hesitation Marks will be out September 3rd in a traditional major label sense via Columbia Records (and yes, he'll even be taking his new material out on the road with the band's latest incarnation, too.) "Came Back Haunted" is its aptly-titled first single coming from the same man who spent the first decade of the millennium breaking through industry bullshit by giving away albums and veering away from airplay with experimental LPs that more or less predated Reznor's creative disenchantment with the mainstream culture he's ultimately known best for. Here we are four years later, and while Reznor laments scorned and vigilantly just as he did before his faux retirement, "Came Back Haunted" sees him retreating to Nine Inch Nails' early direction of synth-driven industrial pop that made its music alt-radio staples during the '90s, and not hearing a guitar rip until the 2:55 mark says how far he may have distanced himself from the electro-clash of With Teeth, Year Zero and The Slip. Reading between the lyrical lines, you could consider this Reznor's kiss off to his indie stint ("I said goodbye but I had to try / I came back haunted...") and with substantial supporting evidence via proudly posting every Nine Inch Nails single released since 1989 on the band's SoundCloud page along with "Came Back Haunted" suggests Reznor is okay with playing the game by the rules this time around.

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