“Less Than,” Nine Ince Nails (JH)
NIN has existed for almost 30 years, and while I have immense respect for Trent Reznor and all that he does from film and video game scores to his collaborations with the likes of Dave Grohl and Josh Homme, this band has always been somewhat of a musical blindspot for me. I never got into the whole industrial rock scene growing up, and my limited exposure to NIN over the years has never really piqued my interest (outside of a source for Johnny Cash to cover).
I like to think my musical tastes have matured and expanded over the years, so I will gleefully take Add Violence, the second in a series of a trilogy of EPs NIN is putting out, as an opportunity to allow my appreciation (and outright enjoyment) to grow.
“Less Than” is a fast paced, churning powerhouse of a song, reminiscent of an anxiety-inducing arpeggiated arcade game soundtrack (with a heavy nod to gamers in the video to boot). The chorus hits with loud vocals and louder guitars, real head-banging fodder. It’s a tight composition, hitting the radio-friendly 3:30 template, so it runs lean.
“King is Born,” Aloe Blacc (EJ)
This is Aloe Blacc’s first single from his upcoming album and his first solo work since 2013’s Lift Your Spirit. I became a fan (as I suspect did many others) through his work with Avicii, but have held his solo efforts in high regard. His confident voice always seems to shine through.
This song is being used pretty extensively in promos for the upcoming Mayweather v. McGregor fight, so I expect we’ll be hearing it quite a bit in the coming weeks. I don’t know the direct source or sample for either, but the horns in this are nearly identical to those in the theme song for the show Brooklyn 99, which I honestly think adds quite a bit to my enjoyment of the song. I have a thing for TV theme songs, particularly shows I really enjoy, which Brooklyn 99 is one.
The production and composition of this song, albeit rather conventional, is just satisfying. The chorus is memorable and inspiring. As mentioned above, the strength and confidence of Blacc’s voice does some heavy lifting and is a joy to listen to.
NIN gets the nod here. Bomb song, great video. Issa winner.
Your weekly winner,
Nine Inch Nails ::: Less Than
- “She Workin,” French Montana ft. Marc E. Bassy
- Outside of the juggernaut “Unforgettable,” this is probably my favorite track off of a strong album from French Montana. Jungle Rules has a large roster of collaborators and is worth checking out if you’re a hip hop fan.
- “Wings,” Vic Mensa ft. Pharrell Williams, Saul Williams
- Vic Mensa has done work with several Wolfsongs favorites including Kanye West and Chance the rapper. Vic has released several mixtapes but this is off The Autobiography which is his first official album release. (Editor’s note: “My self-destructive habits have me itching like Tyrone Biggums” is a GOAT line.)
- “Electric Blue,” Arcade Fire
- I’ve really enjoyed both singles released from Arcade Fires upcoming album “Everything Now” so it’s looking like that album could be a heater.
- “Heartbreak Summer,” RAC ft. K.Flay
- As Eric mentioned last week we really appreciate the Summer Jams this time of year and this is a nice mellow addition. I first came to know RAC from his remix of Phoenix’s 1901 and this week saw the release of his second full-length album EGO.
- “Summer Bummer,” Lana Del Ray ft. A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti
- The queen of melancholy has a turn with a summer song and — surprise! — it’s a dreary affair. A$AP Rocky and Playboi Carti punch up the beat with their verses, but this song is best reserved for those mostly cloudy pool-side days.
- “Boredom,” Tyler, the Creator ft. Rex Orange County, Anna of the North
- Tyler has created quite a bit of buzz with his latest project, Flower Boy (alternatively titled Scum Fuck Flower Boy.) This track is of a second batch of singles to come out a week before the album. He’s always delved into the weird, whether with his music, his Adult Swim show, or his unique persona. His talent shines through in all of his endeavors, and he does well to live up to the name of his hip hop collective, Odd Future.
- “Love U Better,” Ty Dolla $ign ft. Lil Wayne, The-Dream
- This song is about as conventional as they come, playing to the strengths of its collaborators well. The hook is simple and infectious, with a tag-team effort from both Ty and The-Dream. Lil Wayne has emerged as a master of the guest verse this year and is in good form on this one.
- “All About You,” Oh Wonder
- This track comes from my favorite album from this week, Oh Wonder’s Ultralife. We’ve honored them on the blog previously with a couple playlist nods for other singles from this album. This track is a good example of what they do well.
- “True Feeling,” Galantis
- Idk, it’s fun. According to Spotify’s About section for Galantis, they are a “Swedish superduo” consisting of a dude from Miike Snow (Christian Karlsson) and the guy behind Icona Pop’s “I Love It” (Linus Eklöw). Pretty good resumés.
SHOWDOWN FOR THE BELT
Well, I never really decided on whether one HAIM song beat the other HAIM song last week, but I don’t think it matters — its hold on the belt is symbolic of the strength of Something to Tell You as a whole. And that hold is too strong for NIN to overcome, even with added violence.
HAIM holds it for another week.