Trent Reznor

Album Review: Halsey- If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power

Halsey: If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power Album Review | Pitchfork

As far back as I can remember I’ve had a disdain for pop music. There way it’s all manufactured and put together really drives me nuts, especially in the last 20 years. The word artist gets used way too much in pop music when these people are glorified performers rather than true artists. Though, along the way, there are a few that have been able to carve their own paths and stray away from the generic norms of the pop world. A couple years back my friend played a song for me without telling me anything about it. After the song was over, I quite intrigued by it. The song was “Nightmare” by Halsey and it was great. There was something different about her and I had to know more. Fast forward to now and the release of her new album, If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, and now I can’t get enough.

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is a tour de force of an album. Having Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross producing and at the helm, has escalated Halsey into a whole other realm. In a recent interview, Halsey had mentioned that working with Trent Reznor had been a dream of hers for years. Speaking on the direction of the album, Halsey said, “I wanted really cinematic sort of, not horror specifically, but kind of just really unsettling production.” Working with Trent and Atticus has brought in a real element of danger into the fold and genre bending to the pop world. When you listen to this album, you can hear Halsey in her natural element.

This album is unique in that there is not really any “hits” on it. There are catchy chorus’s and elements that are hooks but, it’s definitely not what you expect. There is an intensity and vulnerability throughout the album that radiates and burns ever so bright. Each song brings has it’s own identity. The deep exploratory personal lyrics permeate throughout. The conceptual elements of the album tie it all together in a way that most pop “artists” would shy away from but not Halsey. Instead, this is a head first dive into the psyche and realizations of someone who has finally found a sense of bliss and happiness through all the madness. The gothic undertones along with industrial tinges, atmospheric sounds, mixed with live instrumentation (something that is greatly missing from pop music) and soaring raw vocals, makes for one hell of a listening experience. There are so many songs on this album that I enjoy. At the moment, “Tradition,” “Easier Than Lying,” “You Asked For This,” “Honey,” “I’m Not A Woman. I’m A God,” and “The Lighthouse” are my favorite tracks. I would go in depth on them but, as I’ve said on other reviews, I don’t want to give or take anything away from your own listening experience.

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is one of the best albums of 2021. It offers something new in a genre that has grown stale, boring and predictable. By having Trent and Atticus come aboard and direct this album and bring out all these things to the pop world, will hopefully shift a change for the good. The production is similar in some spots to Trent and Atticus’s How To Destroy Angels project as well as incorporating elements they’ve learned from their film scoring career. The album also features some real heavy hitters like Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters (plays on Honey), Lindsay Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac (plays on Darling) Dave Sitek from TV On The Radio (plays on You Asked For This), and Pino Paladino (plays on Lilith). Halsey has made an album that not only can she be proud of but, can look back 20 years from now and it will be looked at as a game changer for pop music. If more pop artists were like Halsey and were willing to try new things outside the box and show this side of themselves, there could be a whole new revolution within pop music.

Overall Rating: A


Halsey- If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power:


Halsey- Nightmare:

New Release: Halsey- If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power

May be an image of 1 person, child and indoor

This one is definitely out of left field one for some of you but, this new album by Halsey is quite remarkable. Her new album, If I Can’t Have Love I Want Power is a tour de force of so many emotions. The album was produced by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and features Halsey at her most vulnerable yet. This is the way pop artists should evolve. You can tell that this collaboration between Halsey, Trent and Atticus is a modern match made in heaven. One listen all the way through the album and you will instantly start it again because you want to go back to all the things you might have missed. This is one hell of an album and it should be noted as such. A full review will come next week but, until then, enjoy this album.


Halsey- If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power:

New Release: Danny Elfman & Trent Reznor- True

Listen: Trent Reznor guests on Danny Elfman's reimagined version of True —  Kerrang!

Well this was a welcome surprise. Danny Elfman AND Trent Reznor on a track together?!?!?! YES PLEASE!! This song is a remix of sorts of the song “True” from Elfman’s album, Big Mess. Speaking on the collaboration, Danny said “This is the first duet/collaboration I’ve ever done in my life, so to do it with Trent was a real surprise and a treat,” Elfman explained in a statement. “He’s always been a big inspiration to me, not to mention he has one of my all-time favourite singing voices.” Well, the results are excellent and this song sounds even better now.

Danny Elfman & Trent Reznor- True:

Memorable Live Performances: Nine Inch Nails at The Wiltern 2009

Nine Inch Nails @ the Wiltern in LA (9/10/09) | San Francisco Bay Area  Concerts

Back in 2009, Nine Inch Nails announced a series of shows to sort of say goodbye for the time being. It was a very bittersweet thing to hear but, as a fan for many many many years, it made sense. Before the shows were announced, Nine Inch Nails spent the summer on the road with Jane’s Addiction (with all the original members). That was origianlly supposed to be the end but, seeing as Nine Inch Nails would be playing at different times and under the backdrop of a sunset many a times, it just didn’t feel quite right for that to be the end. Instead, a series of shows were announced in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to attend 3 of the 4 Los Angeles shows. The final one was at The Wiltern and what a show it was. Over 3 hours (yes, THREE HOURS) of nonstop Nine Inch Nails at it’s absolute finest. The setlist was utterly perfect and beyond emotional. Thankfully too, there were a group of fans in the audience that night filming it all and they put together one of the best live shows I’ve ever been to. Without giving anything away, I highly recommend you taking the time to watch/listen to this show!


Nine Inch Nails- Live At The Wiltern:

Instrumental Songs: Nine Inch Nails- The Mark Has Been Made

Nine Inch Nails - The Fragile - Amazon.com Music

It is no secret that Nine Inch Nails is my favorite band. I’ve spent many many days, nights and years, delving deep into the catalog. When you take a real close listen to a lot of the songs and the order they were placed in on the albums, you really get to feel the vibe. For example, The Fragile (my all time favorite NIN album and favorite album EVER), on disc 2 (better known as the right disc), there is an instrumental song called “The Mark Has Been Made” that is a wonderful almost segue into the next song “Please.” This instrumental is a beast live too. Take a moment and let this one sink into your head!


Nine Inch Nails- The Mark Has Been Made:


Nine Inch Nails- The Mark Has Been Made (LIVE):

Great Music Videos: How To Destroy Angels- The Space In Between

How to Destroy Angels (Mariqueen Maandig, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross) |  Angel band, Trent reznor, Good music

This past year has been quite a ride. Through all the craziness though, a couple good things have been able to happen. For example, with all the time and working from home, I’ve been able to delve back into albums I haven’t listened to in a while. And within that, I’ve been able to show my young daughter some really great tunes and videos. One of which is this great video from How To Destroy Angels for the song “The Space In Between.” The video, directed by Rupert Sanders (who is primarily known for creating video game advertisements) is a very dark and interesting video that harks back to the days when videos were great. This is one hell of a great video and should be viewed a lot more!!


How To Destroy Angels- The Space In Between:

Cover Songs: Trent Reznor (David Bowie)- Fantastic Voyage & Fashion

Trent Reznor Covered "Fantastic Voyage" & "Fashion" For David Bowie Tribute  Livestream: Watch

A couple days ago there was a huge David Bowie celebration. Tons of artists took part in this by performing Bowie’s songs. A good portion of these performances were accompanied by Mike Garson, David’s longtime piano player. Among the people performing on this night were, Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan, Dave Navarro, Ian Astbury, Gavin Rossdale, Corey Taylor, Taylor Hawkins and so many more. I saw a few of these performances floating around and there were 2 that really stood out to me. It’s no surprise that the ones Trent Reznor performed were my favorite. He picked “Fantastic Voyage” from Bowie’s album, Lodger as well as “Fashion” from Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). He was joined by Mike Garson and Atticus Ross on both songs along with his wife Mariqueen on the latter. Both of these turned out great. I do have to say that Trent’s dance moves during “Fashion” are quite fun to watch.


Fantastic Voyage & Fashion:

Best Guitar Solos: Nine Inch Nails- Ruiner

Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral - Amazon.com Music

When you think of guitar solos, Nine Inch Nails is probably not very high on the first ones that come to mind. That is about to change though. On the epic masterpiece of an album that is The Downward Spiral, there is a song on there that has a guitar solo that oozes the pain and anguish that perfectly coincides with the thematic nature of the record. That song is “Ruiner” and it’s one of the most underrated songs on the album. The solo on the song is actually inspired by Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” Trent was interviewed by Guitar World magazine years ago and this is what he had to say about the solo, “Ah yes, the great, Pink Floyd-esque, Seventies-sounding section of the song. That’s just a preset on the Zoom. I think I accidentally called up the wrong patch. I’m not a soloist. I was just laughing when I was playing with this ridiculous sound, recording into the computer saying like, “This is so cheesy,” you know? I later realized that I basically tried to play a “Comfortably Numb”-type solo with this sound. I played the song for Chris, our drummer, and I was thinking, “He’s going to start laughing. It’s silly.” But he goes, “Man, that guitar section was fucking great.” Anyways, this solo when “Ruiner” is played live is stunning.


Nine Inch Nails- Ruiner:


Nine Inch Nails- Ruiner (Live at The Wiltern 2009- FINAL Wave Goodbye Show):


Instrumental Songs: Nine Inch Nails- Just Like You Imagined

NIN - Just Like You Imagined] | The fragile, Nine inch nails, Universal  music group

I will never forget the first time I listened to Nine Inch Nails album The Fragile the whole way through. There was something so special about that album. I could and will go into more detail about that album at some point down the road. One of the immediate songs that hit me like a ton of bricks was track number 7 on Disc 1 (or the left side), “Just Like You Imagined.” This instrumental track blew me away. It’s a total encompassing of everything that makes The Fragile so great. The song on the studio recording features David Bowie’s longtime pianist, Michael Garson, who adds some beautiful moments. Live, this song is even better. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing it live a few times and each one of those I was totally in awe at how amazing the song truly is.

Nine Inch Nails- Just Like You Imagined:



Just Like You Imagined (Rehearsal):


Deep Cuts: Nine Inch Nails- That’s What I Get

Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine (LDA, CD) | Discogs

I really love going back through albums at different points in time and connecting with songs that I might have not had that connection with at first. On Nine Inch Nails debut album Pretty Hate Machine, there is one song in particular that stood out on my most recent listen. “That’s What I Get” is that song and the more I listen to it now, I hear so many different things in it. This song has an interesting history too. The song was not originally intended to the be on the album, but was rather meant for b-side material, due to not fitting in lyrically with the rest of the songs. Which makes total sense. This track also harks back to “Down In It” based on the use of the same recognizable melodic synth voice. Also, it sort of feels like a precursor to some of the songs on The Fragile in a strange way. When you listen to it and hone in on the verses musically along with the “hammer” synth bassline, there is some of that on songs like “The Mark Has Been Made,” “The Way Out Is Through.” Either way, this song is a great deep cut in the Nine Inch Nails catalog to sink your teeth into.

Nine Inch Nails- That’s What I Get:

 

That’s What I Get (Live 1990):