Friday Morning Music Club is a weekly column in which I review new, old, classic and/or shitty albums.

Nine Inch Nails
The Slip
2008

Trent Reznor is back, sneaking out his second album this year under the radar of the music industry and public at large. The Slip is now available, free, via his website. (A conventional release will follow in a couple weeks.) Record companies might be averse to giving music away, but it’s not necessarily a losing proposition for artists (see this story for reference.)

Business aside, how is the album? In a word: Typical. More reminiscent of Fragile-era NIN than anything, the album delivers almost exactly what one would expect from Reznor, with few surprises along the way. It’s major disappointment is that it’s more of the same, and as a result, not that memorable. There are a couple standout tracks, namely the single “Discipline” and the sparse “Lights in the Sky.” The latter features Reznor and solo piano and little else. The one thing that did surprise me was the inclusion of three instrumental numbers on the album. That seemed an odd choice considering his previous release was an album of 36 instrumental pieces. This release will likely appeal to established fans (one-and-a-half million downloads so far) but doesn’t seem likely to bring anyone new into the fold.

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