The thing you have to bear in mind about Trent Reznor's music is
that some of it - not all of it, mind, but some of it - is quite
It was only after analyzing Capital G, muting and unmuting various
channels, that I managed to fully appreciate why this is. Balance.
Trent's a genius at balance. While Aphex Twin is so far up his own
arse he can't even hear the outside world, and countless rock stars
don't dare to break away from the rigid pop mould, Trent Reznor has
perfected the balance between these two extremes.
Capital G contains a harsh noise solo played on a modular synthesiser,
but it also contains cheesy backing vocals on the chorus. Trent is
often experimenting with interesting time signatures and even
polyrhythms, but just as often sticks to the formula of writing
arrangements with quiet verses and loud choruses - usually within
the very same songs. While Mr. Self Destruct ends in a long bout
of abrasive noise, A Warm Place is one of the most beautiful pieces
of music ever written. The Day the World Went Away, a painful song
about suicide, is offset by The Frail, a quiet, contemplative piano
solo. Time after time, loud and downright offensive timbres play
This balance isn't present on every album. Pretty Hate Machine was
far too restrained, presumably compelling him to counteract it with
the wonderfully nasty Broken. Overall, however, Trent Reznor seems
to be a master of yin and yang: for every artistic expression, there
is an equal and opposite pop sensibility.