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September 13, 2013

Song of the Week: September 13, 2013

Song: "Copy of A"
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Album: Hesitation Marks (2013)

I am just a copy of a copy of a copy
Everything I say has come before
Assembled into something into something into something
I don't know for certain anymore

First of all, happy Friday the 13th.

Trent Reznor is Nine Inch Nails - an American, one-man industrial band from Cleveland, Ohio. Since its inception in 1988, Nine Inch Nails released nine major albums beginning with 1989's Pretty Hate Machine and most recently with 2013's Hesitation Marks. The band was nominated for twelve Grammy Awards; out of the twelve, the band won two. The release of 1994's The Downward Spiral brought Nine Inch Nails into the spotlight of the music scene and popularized industrial music in general at the time. From this highlight of the band, critics of today's music industry often attribute Nine Inch Nails as a major influence of more recent, similar acts and industrial and rock music in general.

Nine Inch Nails' sound varies between albums and songs. However, most of the songs feature very complex arrangements of percussion, beats, guitar riffs, and various sound effects as such elements are usually found in industrial music in general. Some songs in some of Nine Inch Nails' albums include variations of a particular melody, beat, or lyric that serves as some sort of motif that runs in the album, such as Reznor's frequent use of the statement "Nothing can stop me now." Also, Reznor's vocal work varies between and during songs, following somewhat of a similar pattern, from, for example, soft, whisper-like vocals in the verses to loud yells in the chorus.

From Nine Inch Nails' most recent release, Hesitation Marks, is "Copy of A." Like some of the other songs of the album, "Copy of A" is not as heavy compared to most songs from past albums. A wavering, looping synthesizer line begins and powers the song; as the song progresses, more musical elements, such as drums, and other special effects stack on top of and in time with the synthesizer line, resulting in a very complex arrangement. The most distinctive feature of this song, however, is the use of the vocal loops that restart in time with the song, hence the song's title. Overall, "Copy of A," although seemingly minimalistic, lighter, and simple compared to songs from past albums, marks a promising return of Nine Inch Nails since the band's last album in 2008, The Slip.

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