Nine Inch Nails

[With_Teeth] (Nothing/Interscope)

Trent Reznor may come off like someone who doesn't give a damn about stardom, but guess what? He wants to sell records. Lots of them. His last studio set, 1999's The Fragile, was an ambitious effort that didn't set either the nation's cash registers or his supporters' imaginations ablaze. Teeth, in contrast, is an overtly commercial package that replicates his greatest hits.

Veteran fans should be thrilled by this backward-looking decision, and it's admittedly fun to hear tracks like "Only," which sports the sort of synthetic funk Reznor hasn't bothered with much since 1989's Pretty Hate Machine. Vigorous, lyrically pugnacious aggro such as "You Know What You Are?" will hit the sweet spot of NIN longtimers, too. Overall, though, the disc's been-there, done-that quality is echoed in the "Love Is Not Enough" lines "I've gone all this fucking way/To wind up back at -- I'm back at the start."

That's the idea, of course, and while the strategy will probably boost sales, the disc is essentially an industrial-age nostalgia trip. Reznor's Teeth may be sharp, but they don't have much bite.

 
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