Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine (33 1/3) Paperback – 1 Jan 2010
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'Carr's take on Pretty Hate Machine as an accessible piece of art is fortified by her ability to include everyone fans, critics, NIN virgins into her dialogue. Here, PHM is transformed from an album for outcasts into a work that applies more generally to mass culture.' --Tiny Mix Tapes
About the Author
Daphne Carr is in the ethnomusicology PhD program at Columbia University. She was recently named the series editor for Da Capo's Best Music Writing, and is a long-time editor at Stop Smiling magazine. She lives in Brooklyn.
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1) An introduction that defines the type of NIN fan of the 1990s.
2) A 19 page explanation of the making of Pretty Hate Machine.
3) A history/analysis of important cities of Trent Reznor's youth, including Mercer, PA, Youngstown, OH, and Cleveland.
4) Testimonials from fans about their lives and the importance of NIN in their journey.
5) A conclusion essay about the connection of NIN recordings with youth culture, particularly Hot Topic.
A common frustration of the 33 1/3 series is that they seem to promise a thorough explanation of how albums are created. However, content can vary widely. Some books deliver and give a thorough account of the album's creation. Other authors only loosely tie the album to their narrative. And others set out to historically document the album, but are frustrated to find they cannot get key players to be interviewed. From the start, Carr states that this book is more about the fans of NIN and Pretty Hate Machine than the band or the album. Having experienced (and enjoyed) this kind of 33 1/3 book before (AC DC's Highway To Hell (33 1/3) and A Tribe Called Quest's People's Instinctive Travels And the Paths of Rhythm (33 1/3)), this different approach did not bother me.
Yes, it would have been interesting to read more in depth explanation of the album's creation (including interviews with Reznor, Chris Vrenna, and Flood), but as one who did not know about the PHM demos, I found what was there to be interesting. I also enjoyed the essays on the cities, but some might find their connection to the music a stretch. (My take on it is that NIN was so different, it is interesting to consider that it did not come from anywhere exotic, but from the American Rust Belt.) Finally, I was initially skeptical of the fan monologues, but found them revealing in their own right. NIN is intense music. And for early fans, it was all yours. Then, suddenly you had to share it with everyone. When I was a kid, I rocked my Nine Inch Nails - Broken T-Shirt (but mine was white) in high school and thought all others were poseurs. Thankfully, as an adult I can appreciate the experiences of others. I disagreed with some of the interpretations of lyrics, but found them compelling none the less. Many of these people have had to deal with some very challenging experiences and that a piece of art served as an anchor for survival is an amazing consideration. As outlined in the introduction of the book, with all the incredibly intense lyrics of NIN, it is a fascinating question of what type of person considers the music entertainment.
I thought the original idea behind the 33 1/3rd series was to act as expanded liner notes for classic albums, this is more like reading a facebook page about someone that "likes" the album or a repurposed Masters thesis on why people in Ohio become republicans.
If you don't want to know anything about Pretty Hate Machine but enjoy listening to losers recount how they heard the album at 9 years old and it changed their lives in middle school, it might be for you.
To me it's 3 hours of my life I regret wasting, let alone had to pay for.
What I got from the book is the author likes to hang out on NIN chat rooms and interview teens who seem to be clinically depressed and later become born again Christians, but no longer really like the album the book is supposed to be about.
Its a sad tale of young white males in the Bush era rust belt that all seemed to have listened to NIN, before many ended up working at Game Stop and finding Jesus.
Maybe it makes her feel better about abandoning the family roots and moving to NYC or perhaps it was a cathartic exercise to justify her hatred of her upbringing. We get it you need therapy, but is this really the way to pay for it?
In the end I unintentionally learned a lot more about the business model of Hot Topic and history of strip malls than I did about an album I've enjoyed for longer than many of the interviewees have been alive.
Daphne you owe me $12 and a written apology.
I personally thought it was crap. I dont buy a book about Pretty Hate Machine to get the history of Cleveland and Hot Topic and Bruce Springstein. Its pretty obvious this lady knew jack about NIN and didnt relate to it at all. Plus having lots of chapters of fans talking about how NIN has been a part of their lives?!?? Barf. I would go to a message board for that (which she did!) not a real book.
I really love a lot of the books in the series. The DJ Shadow book on Endroducing was great. I think there's a ton of people who could have written this book better. It's really unfortunate to get this sort of treatment. There's really no NIN-related information that couldn't be found with some google searches. I have no idea why Daphne Carr said she felt obligated to write this book. She has no attachment to album and decided to write a whole book about ANYTHING BUT THE ALBUM. I also doubt she has read any of the other 33 1/3 series, because she seems to have missed the point entirely.
Dear NIN fans, DO NOT GET THIS.