Single Review: “Less Than” – Nine Inch Nails


A couple of days ago, Alternative Rock band, Nine Inch Nails (Trent Reznor) went ahead and released “Less Than”, the debut single of their upcoming EP, “Add Violence”. The new single featured gameplay from the Playstation 4 video game, “Polybius”, which is a tribute game created to mimic an alleged game from a 90s urban legend that claims the arcade game produced mind controlling effects and addictive tendencies in the minds of players, and now the game can no longer be located. I probably just explain that in the most confusing and irrelevant way I could, but this review is not over the Legend of Polybius, it is over this new Nine Inch Nails track, “Less Than”.

The track basically begins with this nice quick paced retro electronica beat, but then it instantly rushes straight into the first verse. I kind of wish Trent would have stretched this little beat for a bit longer before jumping into his verse, because I think this verse, scratch that, all of the verses on this song, have this edgy teen dad rock vibe to them. Let me quote the first verse here, “Focus? / We didn’t even notice / We awake in a place we barely recognize yeah / Hypnosis”, first off, I think it is obvious that these lyrics mean absolutely nothing, who is “we”? This verse is nothing but filler content, poorly sung slam beat one liner poetry. “Focus? / Hypnosis” is especially lame as well. That sounds like something the Foo Fighters would pen on that lyrically lazy album they did, Sonic Highways.

After that verse we get some dramatic two liner before Trent delivers a second verse with the exact same issues as before, it’s filler, I can’t see it as having any meaning. I will compliment the instrumental though, I think it slowly builds up to a moody “tortured” (I use that adjective lightly) sound as the song progresses with some windy white noise/static like synths. Then Trent drops another two liner featuring the lines “The missile trails across the sky again.”, now you KNOW some really “satanic” 8th Grader who hates the government thought that line was super “woke”, and that Trent Reznor is totally exposing everything with his lyrical prowess, sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s just edgy.

Whenever the chorus kicks in it utilizes the classic 90’s alternative song structure of soft verseloud chorus, which I guess is predictable coming from a song with dad rock lyrics. Anyways, the chorus lines here are just pretty dumb for the same reasons, this song has no clear meaning, I don’t care for them, it’s hard to even try and figure out what this song’s theme is supposed to be, whatever. The rest of this song is another verse that starts out with a single word, this time “Needful”, followed by “too many fucking people” (that’s pretty goth dude.), then the sing closes with two more choruses before just cutting out abruptly. And honestly, I like abrupt song cuts for endings, to me it makes the listener go “Wow, what did I just listen to?!”, however, there is nothing to miss out if you were to avoid this song in my opinion.

I haven’t said very many positive things about this song, so I will go ahead and say it is not completely HORRIFIC and TRASH, like I have mentioned. I love the song’s instrumental, although the overblown loud chorus was a bit obnoxious at points, and I do think the solo could have had something more going for it. From a non-analytical standpoint, this song isn’t bad, it just is not the greatest thing that Nine Inch Nails has ever written. Sure I will still listen to this EP when it comes out, I just hope “Less Than” is the worst this EP has to offer. I was once actually a Nine Inch Nails fan believe it or not, I own Pretty Hate Machine, Broken, and Hesitation Marks on CD. This song just isn’t doing it for me.

Release Date: 13 July 17

Genres: Alternative Rock, Electronic Rock, Dad Rock.

Song Length: 3.5 minutes.

i. e. 4.4/10


3 thoughts on “Single Review: “Less Than” – Nine Inch Nails

  1. This is coming from a huge Nine Inch Nails fan: I agree with you wholeheartedly. The instrumentals are great, but Trent’s lyrics have felt stilted since Year Zero. These angsty words just don’t have that same feeling of authenticity as they once did with The Downward Spiral and The Fragile. Certainty, Trent, now a father in his 50s, is in a much different place in his life than when those records were released. You just can’t expect the same genuine anger on display in his older songs.

    It just feels like he is still trying to appease all of the old-school NIN fans who expect these types of lyrics in his music. Honestly, all its doing is holding him back as a Lyricist. It’s a shame, given how much he has grown as a songwriter in every other regard.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow I would like to thank you for this well thought out comment on my review! You are the first to ever give me a direct response so I appreciate that. You make an interesting point I did not consider as well, I wasn’t aware Trent was in his 50’s, i think maybe a new musical endeavor would be good for him, something other than Nine Inch Nails.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! I’m always glad to leave a comment for an equally well thought out post. I would personally love to see Trent expand on his instrumental work. Ghosts I-IV was an interesting experiment if a little unfocused at 36 tracks. An 11-12 track synth pop album could yield some amazing results.

        Liked by 1 person

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