It won't give up, it wants me dead, and God-damn this voice inside my head.

Nine Inch Nails Record Advance-Listening Party Etiquette

Girls, you know I love you, but sometimes you can be so FUCKING unnecessary. Because, inevitably, after all is said and done, you get this nugget of wisdom while entering the show, "It feels like we're in line for Space Mountain."

OK, so when you're going to one of these listening parties, here's a tip: Don't bring ANYONE with you. Because, what happens is you feel the need to talk to your guest. You know what? I don't give a fuck WHAT you think of the album AS IT'S PLAYING. No, I DON'T fucking care where you want to go after this. And, it's not like you can just sit there and ignore the person, especially if they're only there because YOU like the band. They'll get bored, and what happens next is a constant stream of pestering I could barely stand to watch around me.

God, people are such miserable fucks. No one has the attention span to listen to an entire album in one setting, because they've all been raised by the 30-second commercial jingle and Top 40 radio stations. So, everyone just sits around talking throughout the entire fucking album! You've got douchebags trying to be funny, yelling out "Fuck!" in between songs. You've got the idiot in the black trench coat with the one-inch long mohawk dancing with his lady friend with the jet-black hair down to her armpits during the love songs (oh, wait, Nine Inch Nails don't MAKE love songs! So, why not just stand around dancing like uncoordinated fucksticks for an hour?).

And then there's me, and a few other die hards, who try to close their eyes, curl up in a ball, and imagine everyone within a ten foot radius has been slaughtered and are lying in pools of their own blood and my ecstatic drool. It's easy to ignore the fucks when the music's loud, but Nine Inch Nails are known for their periods of quiet right before the explosion of noise, so you get all the background fucking chatter in your ear.

Seriously, if you're not a fucking hardcore fan of Nine Inch Nails, someone who can't fucking listen to an entire album without moving their yammer-holes, then do me a fucking service and just don't go.

With that out of the way, let me get to my assessment. Every album NIN comes up with comes with fantastic anticipation (and, they seem to coordinate with new Weezer releases which ALWAYS seem to sell better and get more play on The End, but that can't be helped). You can't go into an initial listen hoping to hear the next "Burn" or "Mr. Self Destruct" or "Happiness In Slavery" (or, for those who only really know the singles, "Closer" "Wish" "Hurt" and "Head Like A Hole"), because Trent Reznor, with his long hiatuses, always seems to . . . don't say reinvent . . . come up with something . . . don't say fresh or new . . . Better For The Times. I mean, of course, he could come up with "Closer Redux" but we can't have that. That wouldn't take us anywhere. However, he always seems to catch a sound that fits in the period in which he releases the album. This one's considerably darker upon initial listen, with greater use of piano in the louder songs which doesn't really sound like it would work, but it does. Ultimately, what you're looking for in a NIN album is lots of yelling and lots of abrasive keyboard useage, and in that Trent always comes through.

The fuck of it all is that the album doesn't come out until the beginning of May, so I won't be able to listen to it again and further gain insight into whether I actually like it or not. I know with the last studio non-remix album, I didn't care much for it. It was a double album with a bunch of songs that sounded NOTHING like The Downward Spiral. But, upon listen after listen, I've found it's not better, per se, than the predecessor, but like I said, very fitting for the time it was released. All I know with this new one is that the last three songs, especially the closer, were fan-fucking-tastic. Well worth sitting amidst a mob of fucking retards