New Music Pick Of The Week: Nine Inch Nails - 'Hesitation Marks'

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Does it date me to say I took Typing 1 & 2 in high school?  What if I say the first class used actual typewriters?  The second year we actually used computers and learned how to do basic data processing and create various office type documents.  I've lost most of those skills (and some of them have disappeared from offices too) but I remember the classes fondly.  For about a month in one of the classes me and a mystery person began scrawling the lyrics to Nine Inch Nails "Head Like a Hole" on the big wooden desks we worked at.  The lyrics changed to silly remarks and involved a little bit of flirting.  

This other person was in another class and I had no idea who it was.  My imaginings led me to believe it was a cute girl and a I had a few fantasies where eventually we'd name ourselves and get involved.  Those dreams quickly died when my friend scrawled out my name on the desk one day while I was out sick and the scrawling quickly stopped.  Eventually I realized the other person was a dude and I now laugh at him realizing he'd been flirting with me and the homophobia made him not only stop writing on the desk but kept him from ever mentioning it to anyone.

Those were the days when I listened to Nine Inch Nails.  Those days are long past.  I can't really put my finger on exactly when I stopped listening and why it happened.  But I'm realizing now  I haven't given the band a listen - saving the occasional nostalgia spin - in many years.  Whenever Trent Reznor, et al, release something new I always think I should pick it up but never do.

This week is no exception with Hesitation Marks being the first NIN album since 2008s The Slip.  While that album (and Ghosts I-IV) was released independently and with a Creative Commons license (which allowed folks to download it for free) Hesitation Marks is being released through the Columbia Records label and is most definitely not legally being given away for free.  

I'm both intrigued and hesitant about the album.  Intrigued because I do think Reznor is an interesting character and I always look forward to interesting music, but hesitant because I've moved on musically so far from what I remember of NIN that I can't believe this will be something I'll actually enjoy.  Likely I'll wait to hear what everybody says about it before dropping my cash down.

All that being said I can't help but make Hesitation Marks my pick of the week and hope it does not disappoint.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You - Neko Case: I think Ms. Case is working with Fiona Apple to create the most obnoxious album titles ever.  I'll forgive her if the music is as good as her previous work.

Live in Central Park NYC May 12, 1975 - Jefferson Starship: The second incarnation of the Jefferson Airplane play what sounds like a spectacular show in Central Park.  This two disc set includes the entire concert.

Rarities - Rod Stewart: A two disk set of rare tracks cut between 1969 and 1974.

Uncovered, Vol. 2 - Elvis Presley: A collection of covers by the King, including songs written by the Beatles, Ray Charles and Hank Williams.

Sweet Relief, Volume III: Pennies From Heaven - Various Artists: The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund was created for Victoria Williams when she was diagnosed with MS and could not afford her medical expenses.  The first album was released to help her with that and featured such alternative acts as Matthew Sweet and Pearl Jam.  I still love that album and became a Williams fan after it.  It was such a success they created the fund and now help all types of career musicians when they are struggling with medical bills.  They released a second compilation album in 1996 and now some 17 years later are releasing a third.  This one features Ron Sexsmith, Ben Harper, She & Him and others.

World Boogie is Coming - North Mississippi Allstars: My brother-in-law loves these guys, though I've never given them a chance.  For this album they enlisted help from Robert Plant which might just make me give it a shot.

Meet Me at the Edge of the World - Over the Rhine:  The Internet is a funny place for friendship.  I've met a lot of extraordinary folks online but they tend to get pushed into pigeonholed genres.  So there are friends that I discuss movies with, books with, geeky things with and music with.  For whatever reason there is a tendency to not talk about book things with my movie friends, etc.  The Over the Rhine friends are movie friends so I can't really vouch for their musical tastes.  But they are so fond of these guys that I really ought to take the chance.

The Silver Gymnasium - Okkervil River:  This is a band that I've heard general buzz about throughout the internet and while I've given them a few precursory listens I've not sat down with them and paid attention.  This album was recorded in the small town where Will Sheff grew up and is full of autobiographical stories.