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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like all NIN, it took a few listens. And it's GOOD.
As I put on Hesitation Marks, I thought that this album would have a lot to live up to in terms of originality. I for one felt that Reznor was on an incredible creative run of brilliant ideas and vision with Year Zero, Ghosts and The Slip. Sure, those albums were not comparable to The Downward Spiral or The Fragile in terms of emotional intensity, but then nor were they...
Published 11 months ago by H. Abbasi

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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good yet uneven NIN album, which lacks 'bite' compared to past offerings
There's no denying how much of a musical genius Trent Reznor is. But that's the problem, alot is expected out of this guy, probably more so than modern musicians (aside from Radiohead).

It took a awhile for single Came Back Haunted to grow on me, but eventually I came round to loving it.

The album itself starts off very strong, the first 3 proper...
Published 11 months ago by J. Potter


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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like all NIN, it took a few listens. And it's GOOD., 5 Sep 2013
By 
H. Abbasi (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hesitation Marks (Audio CD)
As I put on Hesitation Marks, I thought that this album would have a lot to live up to in terms of originality. I for one felt that Reznor was on an incredible creative run of brilliant ideas and vision with Year Zero, Ghosts and The Slip. Sure, those albums were not comparable to The Downward Spiral or The Fragile in terms of emotional intensity, but then nor were they supposed to be. So I half-expected this album to be a continuation of innovating the format and conceptuality rather than an epic journey exploring the depths of suicidal feelings. And I was extremely excited to hear that Reznor was "completely rethinking" NIN had been working with people like Adrian Belew.

But in actual fact, it seems that the focus of Hesitation Marks is not about world-changing sonic experimentation and technological smart-assery. Musically, there are some surprises. Reznor career-long obvious Prince influence has never been more apparent than it is in the playful falsetto of "All Time Low" or the funk of "Satellite". In a somewhat Talking Heads' Remain in Light fashion, "Copy of A" is built up gradually in layers in a way which seems more rhythmically driven than ever before. And the major-scale verse melody of "Everything" certainly comes as a shock, but after a few listens somehow falls into the category of more conventional loud NIN moments.

Much has been made of the alleged 'sparseness' of this album in contrast with Reznor's usual painstaking tapestries of sound. But for much of the album this is done in such a way which perhaps less noticeable to outsiders, as layers of all-sorts seem to quickly pile on in almost every song. The main noticeable differences are the lack of any truly face-pounding explosive rockers, and the absence of Reznor screaming hard enough to lose his voice. There is an electronic, but ever so slightly ambient quality to the production which certainly gives the album a unique and endearing feel. In that respect it actually sounds more "band"-oriented than cinematic.

But ultimately the album's strength lie in its emotional undertones. It had to be the case - on first listen I actually found myself somewhat underwhelmed by the second half, which ostensibly seemed like an array of generic NIN guitar chugging and "I"s and "you"s. I assumed that after a few listens the cerebral "arc" would begin to show itself. and thankfully, it did. Reznor's motivation here is in looking back on who he was, where he was at, and what he was capable of, circa The Downward Spiral. He even confirmed that this was why he used artist Rusell Mills once again for the cover art. And as a mature, married, father of two and general normal chap, Reznor is now using music to express the harrowing depths of a mid-life crisis.

Joke - it's cooler than that. He is looking back on himself as a fomerly addictive personality prone to extreme mental swings and wondering if he is in any way at all, in spite of the struggles he went through, envious of his former "freer" self. There are intense emotions here, but they are intense explorations of uncertainty rather than despair.

It isn't a very deep plunge into turmoil like The Downward Spiral, and it isn't uber cool or uber conceptual like Year Zero. And nor it can it be expected to deliver the merits of those two periods of NIN. What it does deliver is a new level of reflectiveness, and will demand a deeper understand of that word from any NIN fan loyal enough to go the distance with it. It is, as anyone should expect, a new NIN, an long may it continue (for 4 or so years).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply great music, 23 July 2014
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This review is from: Hesitation Marks (Audio CD)
I don't care about genres and sub-genres. This is simply great music!
The kind of that gets me in a very positive trance despite of its mostly pessimistic or depressing lyrics.
You don't even have to turn up the volume very much to get fully engulfed by this music

Trent Reznor isn't merely using electronic industrial sounds – he truly composes music with them. It's amazing how noise and harmonic sounds sometimes "take turns" and sometimes blend in.
I've listened to this album for an hundred times now an still discover new ingenious details – changes in rhythm or instrumentation – each time I'm listening to it.

My favourite titles are

– copy of (lyrics: "copy of a copy of a copy" is a very original metaphor. music: I like the intermissions in the beat best.)

– came back haunted (It has so much drive it feels like a two-minute punk rock song rather than over five minutes. Could easily be eight minutes long without getting boring.)

– I would for you (the melody of the refrain, as soon as you are able to grasp it, really sticks)

But more important: Threre is not one title I'm inclined to skip when listening to this truly great album
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NINE INCH NAILS COME BACK STRONG WITH "HESITATION MARKS", 2 Sep 2013
By 
nin/ja77 - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Hesitation Marks (Audio CD)
After making Nine Inch Nails "go away for a while" to pursue other projects such as scoring two David Fincher movies as well as working with his wife Mariqueen Manndig and Atticus Ross in his other band How To Destroy Angels, Trent Reznor has reawakened Nine Inch Nails with a brand new studio album, an album that originally started life as two tracks for a greatest hits compilation turns into a full length album "Hesitation Marks" the first since 2008's "The Slip".

The album is a lot more subtle in its approach with electronic beats creeping up on you and at times it can take a bit before the songs get going but when they do they all have slick sounding grooves, "Copy Of A" (which is currently being used to open Nine Inch Nails current tour which starts with all five members coming on to stage separately) has a very trance like beat going on with flourishes of guitar mixed in, it's an early highlight to the album. The first release from the album "Came Back Haunted" is driven by big beats and has a dance vibe throughout as well as throwing in a guitar solo at the midway point. "All Time Low" is a big slab of funk. "Everything" is the closet Reznor has ever coming to doing a pop punk number and is one of the most upbeat songs he has ever done.

"Satellite" might just be the catchiest song on the whole album after a couple of listens it will be stuck in your head and at times comes across as NIN doing David Bowies "Fame". "Various Methods of Escape" is driven by lots of beats starting of low tempo before a breakdown in the middle leads to big pounding beats that take the song to its bid dramatic climax. "In Two" features a number of vocal effects and you are never quite sure what direction the song will go in, it's a contender for the best song on the album. The deluxe edition features 3 remixes the highlight being Todd Rundgen's remix of "All Time Low". The artwork is a nod back to 1994's "The Downward Spiral" as the artwork once again is done by Russell Mills. Fleetwood Macs Lindsey Buckingham and king Crimsons Adrian Belew both provide guitar on a number of the tracks.

Reznor shocked everyone back in March this year when he announced Nine Inch Nails would tour again and then followed it up with the news of a new album, he would go onto say that the new album is "F***ing awesome" and that's exactly what "Hesitation Marks" is.
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4.0 out of 5 stars New NIN, after the gap away..., 14 Aug 2014
This review is from: Hesitation Marks (Audio CD)
I was very happy to know that Trent was back so soon with a whole new NIN album, and it seemed very focused and a return to the mid 90's very creative style of Downward Spiral and The Fraagile albums. Some of the album is very familar to some previous work, quite a lot is very electronic-even sounding close to Pretty Hate Machine, which many have been waiting for. These parts are great, but some of it is like a lot of the Ghosts instrumental collection or recent more ambient tunes, nothing too different or new really. There are around five or so very, very great tunes, one or two of those slightly radical and unexpected for NIN but very great. Perhaps Trent should have waited just a while longer but I hope NIN keep making more albums and tunes now.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good yet uneven NIN album, which lacks 'bite' compared to past offerings, 2 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Hesitation Marks (Audio CD)
There's no denying how much of a musical genius Trent Reznor is. But that's the problem, alot is expected out of this guy, probably more so than modern musicians (aside from Radiohead).

It took a awhile for single Came Back Haunted to grow on me, but eventually I came round to loving it.

The album itself starts off very strong, the first 3 proper tracks leading Reznor into a potentially great new direction which echoes Radiohead and even Massive Attack era Mezzanine (the ballad Find My Way) as well as his own signature.

But then it starts to dip with 'All Time Low'.

At first I loved the track for it being so different from what Reznor has done before, but after awhile it's just so incredibly cheesy and grating, trying desperately to recapture the magic of Closer along with Bowie's Fame and Fashion.

But it simply doesn't work. It's almost like he's trying too hard to capture the raunchiness of Closer.

There are some great little tunes on the album, such as the brilliantly upbeat 'Everything', which sounds like a collaboration of Bernard Sumner (New Order) on guitar, and I Would for You.

Most are slow burning mood pieces, which somehow don't sit so well along side Reznor's most commercial pop music yet. Due to this, the album lacks two huge crucial ingredients that Reznor is normally so great at crafting- direction and character.

I often think Reznor is at his best when doing concept albums, The Downward Spiral is easily his greatest and most remembered album to date by hardcore fans. But it just seems like retreads of past albums (Satellite, although still good, sounds like it was left off Year Zero) to an overload of influence with Disappointed (is that Thom Yorke's vocals on the verse?) as well as B side filler (the repetitive Running).

It ends up as being 'an album which has good songs' rather than being 'a great album with great songs'. And not really a 'front to back' album in which each song follows up the next so effortlessly in sequence. It's also the first album Trent has made where the tracks don't segue into the next (there's a pause, then another track kicks in). It just feels so uneven.

But for me, the biggest problem seems to be Atticus Ross, Trent's right hand man and co-producer. Unlike his work with him on Year Zero, which had a 'narrative', Reznor's musical direction seems somewhat lost, and Ross's presence is overly dominant (give Trent back his guitar Atticus!).

I'm not attacking Reznor's 'new direction', which many have had a problem with since With Teeth, because there doesn't really seem to be much of a new direction at all. Just a mish mash of songs, some great, some good, some terribly average, with loads of beats and great production.

Which is the main flaw with this album, unlike previous Nine Inch Nail's records, it doesn't have it's own 'character'. If this were a Radiohead album (I only mention this due to Reznor's fondness of the band, as well as both being perfectionists of creating albums that work so well in sequential form), it would be the equivalent of 'Hail to the Thief'.

It seems doubtful that this will become a classic in the future of Nine Inch Nails back catalogue, and may in fact (apart from some remix albums) be his most forgettable.

Excellent production as always though, but that's to be expected. There's just very little on here which knocks you backwards and blows you away (Copy of A is the only one that comes close), and Trent is more than capable of creating all time classics with songs that tug at the heart strings (although Find my Way comes fairly close but misses the mark), which this album is also sorely lacking. It seems like a fairly cold and calculated effort for the might Rez.

Standout tracks-

Copy of A
Came Back Haunted
Find My Way
Everything
I Would for You
Various Methods of Escape

The rest range from being to good to simply average.

Let the hate commence...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good album, but not Reznor's best, 15 Sep 2013
This review is from: Hesitation Marks (Audio CD)
Hesitation Marks is an interesting album. In recent years Trent Reznor has been taking NIN in a slightly different direction from the albums and tracks that made the band's name. This album, whilst continuing that trend somewhat, does pay homage to the NIN of old.

The album makes a fantastic start - the first two songs after the intro Eater of Dreams are cracking. Copy of A and Came Back Haunted hark back to the good old days of NIN, giving a nod to albums such as The Downwards Spiral and The Fragile. Songs afterwards lean more towards the new-look NIN that Reznor has shaped since With Teeth. Satellite is the stand-out track from these 'fresher' offerings; it has some insanely catchy loops and grows on you with each listen.

Hesitation Marks is much less aggressive than early NIN; Reznor has matured and grown through his younger angsty phase and this is reflected in the lyrics he has penned. Not all fans will appreciate this change in direction, however; I personally feel the lyrics have been rendered less personal and poignant by this shift. Musically the album carries a cleaner, crisper sound that may have developed from his involvement with other band's projects and working on film soundtracks. This approach may also irk some fans; Everything is so far removed from the NIN that we all know and love that, without Reznor's recognisable vocals, we could mistake it as a track from a completely different band. It is almost poppy in its construction at times.

The Deluxe Edition of Hesitation Marks comes with a second CD that contains three remixes from the album. In truth I was unimpressed with these offerings. The remix of Find My Way has its moments but they are unfortunately choked to death by too much uninspiring filler.

Overall this is definitely an album all Nine Inch Nails fans should check out. It contains a handful of tracks that will get any long-time admirers reminiscing about the 'good old days' and I personally rate it more highly than With Teeth, The Slip and Year Zero.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Older and Wiser, 5 Sep 2013
By 
Stuart Ferris "ArchCarrier" (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hesitation Marks (Audio CD)
Trent Reznor is in his late forties, married and has two small children. He is no longer the angry young man he was 20 years ago when he recorded The Downward Spiral.

I am in my mid-forties, married with three children. I am no longer the young man I was 20 years ago.

I got The Downward Spiral back then, and I get Hesitation Marks now.

The album presents a new Trent Reznor - a satisfied one, an optimistic one - still angry, but it is a focused anger at the things that annoy you once you've lived through life and grown a bit wiser.

The music is a journey, still recognisably NIN, but with influences of funk and prog thrown in for good measure.

The album starts with Copy of A and Came Back Haunted which is my only criticism of the album. Whilst both are good songs, they have been in circulation for some time now and seem overly familiar. I felt I wasn't been drawn into the album as I knew these songs too well.

Following on from these tracks the album builds slowly, but impressively towards the album's highlight - Everything, a perfect uplifting punk/new wave rush of adrenaline.

The album then settles into a solid groove which provides a satisfying journey to the last four songs. This section includes Various Methods of Escape which is another highlight of the album. Running is the weakest track on the album, but has an strong chorus and some interesting vocals which increasingly become out of breath as the song progresses towards the end as if Trent is indeed running through the song.

The final four tracks provide an epic conclusion to the album. Everything may be the finest track on the album, but In Two gives it a close run. A sonic masterpiece which draws the listener towards what is in effect the closing track - While I'm Still Here. Which in a similar manner to Hurt on the Downward Spiral is a introspective track which pretty much lays bare Trent's new outlook on life and the future.

Not quite an Upward Spiral, but more like the completion of a circle.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 July 2014
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This review is from: Hesitation Marks (Audio CD)
Amazing album... That's why I love NIN!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars slightly new direction. same destination., 28 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Hesitation Marks (Audio CD)
Slightly different slant from previous albums but still obviously the work of Trent. Some songs have you nodding your head in a way you haven't before compared to previous pieces but honestly that is not a bad thing at all. Enjoy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Different but good...and still great live.., 11 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Hesitation Marks [VINYL] (Vinyl)
I do very much like this Album though not as much as say The Fragile. The 4 and 5 star reviews here pretty much cover it. This album is just different, more electronic, but having just seen him live at Manchester I can say that he has not lost the ability to deliver his previous stuff at all. This album reflects where he is now which to me is much more preferable than to have him producing poor imitations of his previous stuff.
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