Trent Reznor has, it turns out, not only not lost it, but matured into a really profound voice.
YZ is cheesy in places. It cannot be denied that there are a few place where he’s going for an effect that nobody can quite pull off except live. But songs repeat, and repeat, and repeat, and grow richer and not tired, and he hasn’t pulled that off for quite some time.
It’s not Laurie Anderson’s “Big Science” for a darker age. Not quite.
No. Its a mature voice. He’s been, apparently, through hell and back, and now he’s got something to say not about the personal angst of the early brilliant material, or the muddled middle years where, well, now that he was no longer dying alive, there was nothing to say.
Now it’s turned outwards: its a NIN album about the world, not about Trent Reznor’s personal crisis.
There’s a little greatness in this piece of music. He’s got an edge now, a force, that really belies the raw venting of the early material. He’s the only musician that I listened to obsessively when I was growing up and maturing who seems to have genuinely transformed, transmuted and changed – to have matured as an artist, not simply grown older.
He should try politics.