Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch

Bad Witch is the horribly titled ninth studio album, and third “EP-length” release in the last two years, by Trent Reznor’s project, Nine Inch Nails, who in case you may have forgotten about is essentially a pretty generic (at least at times) American industrial rock outfit that uses experimental elements occasionally. NIN/Reznor have always been hard for critics to criticize, mainly due to their loyal/diehard fanbase that’s usually always wearing all black for whatever reason, and who generally refuse to take any logical criticism whatsoever, most likely because they have autism. The NIN-superfans even go as far to call Reznor, who spends his spare time these days being a Keanu Reeves lookalike/impersonator, “God,” even though they’re not being ironic or kidding around about that, sadly.

Without even looking, you could probably imagine what the cover art for Bad Witch looks like. Well, whatever you had in your head, it’s worse. It’s several grainy, shadowy, seemingly unrelated black & white pictures: a black blob that looks like a negative exposure of a sun, or maybe it’s just a piece of fuzz; a human skeleton; an extreme close-up of a computer chip; a vague human figure in what appears to be a yoga pose (??); and a creepy, gross looking hand. Is that supposed to be a witch’s hand? Is it all some sort of pretentious commentary on the bleakness of our times, how we’ve been dehumanized, how we’re all doomed? How on-the-nose, clichéd, and unimaginative ­– so fucking cheesy. The music doesn’t progress much from these pedestrian, middle-school-ish, art-fag visuals either. The songs, only six of them, are way too long, mostly filler, noise, and bullshit. The music sounds almost as if Jackson Pollock, who sucked at art (sorry, he just did), decided to try and make music recordings instead of drip paintings one day. It’s disastrous. Ordering and picking up a Curbside To Go order from Applebee’s is more artistically rewarding than listening to this record, and I say that full well knowing that Applebee’s will give you explosive diarrhea. In fact, Trent Reznor and Applebee’s actually have much in common – both suck, both are out of touch, both are stuck in the 1990s and lots of people still support them and keep them in business for some inane reason.

It’s slightly annoying that this album is being labeled as an “EP,” but quite frankly, I feel that’s solely for marketing purposes only. While it only has six tracks, it does have a run time of a little over 30 minutes, and not to split hairs, but that’s a full-length. But there are some positives with this record – Bad Witch is the best of breed of the three NIN EPs released over the last two years. It’s the most focused, in spite of the corniest name and artwork of the three releases. The super-NIN-fans are sure to eat this album up, but your average music fan/audiophile won’t care less. NIN/Trent Reznor is a much bigger deal only within a particular insular group/fanbase.

While many NIN-superfans are saying that Reznor is invoking the spirit of David Bowie on Bad Witch, I have to disagree. Reznor is more or less invoking the spirit of his former self. He’s invoking 1990s Trent Reznor – he’s got a comeback and a few more runs left in him. As far as David Bowie goes, well, Trent Reznor wouldn’t make a scab on David Bowie’s ass.

Nine Inch Nails
Bad Witch
[The Null Corporation/Capitol]