Published Jul 26, 2017Last week, Trent Reznor resurrected Nine Inch Nails to release the ADD VIOLENCE EP. It's reportedly the second in three planned releases, meaning NIN will be back in the spotlight for a while. As such, it's the perfect time for Reznor to talk pop culture.
Across two separate interviews, Rez has gone in on a wide variety of pop culture figures, with critiques spanning from bafflement at Drake's popularity, disappointment in Grizzly Bear's corporate sponsorships and hatred for President Donald Trump.
Speaking with The Village Voice, Reznor did not hold back with his opinions on the current man in charge of America. "It's tough, because the president of the United States is a complete fucking moron," he said. "That's what gets me the most — that he's this vulgar, grotesque dope, everything I hate in people."
Then, in a lengthy interview with Vulture, Reznor expressed his opinions on a wide net of pop culture figures.
He said he's baffled by Drake's long-standing popularity, adding that he had to ask Apple Music employees to explain exactly what makes the rapper so beloved:
I don't pay much attention, but I see what Drake's been able to pull off in terms of being omnipresent and constantly engaging an audience that seems to enjoy the way he's engaging them. I'm just not part of that audience. I'm not as well-rounded as I used to be about pop culture. I'm not saying pop music isn't well-crafted or the people who make it aren't wonderful, but it's not for me. I've asked people, "What is it that's good about Drake?" I've said to my friends at Apple: "Explain to me why." As the old guy, I don't see it…
I wasn't even asking cynically. I was curious what it is that he's touching on. The answers I got made me go, "That's it?" But knowing the right way to interact with your crowd in a way that feels cool is a good thing. I'm just doing it for a different sized audience. The stakes aren't the same for me, and that's fine.
Drake wasn't the only Young Money artist that Reznor had issues with. He also went in on Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" video, calling it vulgar:
One avenue where it seems people are trying to be provocative is by seeing how gratuitously sexy something can be. Take the "Anaconda" video. Is that supposed to be sexy? How about we just have full gynecological probing in a video? There's a vulgarity to it. I don't know. Maybe lines are being pushed in that way and I'm just blind to it.
It wasn't just rap music that had Reznor feeling like his whole existence is flawed. He was also a little bummed out by popular indie act Grizzly Bear:
I'll try and piece together a theory with you right now: Something that's struck me as a significant shift, and I don't know when it started, is when the corporate entity became a benefactor as opposed to a thing musicians shunned. When I hear Grizzly Bear in a Volkswagen commercial, it kind of bums me out. I like Grizzly Bear a lot; I don't want to think of a fucking car when I hear their song. But somewhere along the line it became okay to get in bed with a sponsor. More specifically it became okay for rock bands to talk about. When I started to hear musicians talking about their sponsorship deals as something to be almost proud of, it bothered me. I remember having a conversation with a well-known EDM artist. Half of the brief conversation was him humblebragging about how many corporate sponsors he's got: I can't do this thing because I don't want to piss that sponsor off and I can't do that thing because I need to make sure this other sponsorship deal stays in place. That's not what the spirit of being a musician or a rock star is. Why are these people even making music? I'm doing it because I have to get something out and I feel vital when it resonates with someone else. When I can get paid, too, that's a nice consequence.
UPDATE (7/26, 3 p.m. EDT): Speaking to Exclaim!, Grizzly Bear have since responded to Reznor's criticisms. You can read what they had to say over here.
As if that weren't enough, Reznor doesn't even like lovable Punk'd host turned Silicon Valley mainstay Ashton Kutcher:
I don't want to hear about "Ashton Kutcher's a fucking tech genius." I don't give a shit about that. He seems like an asshole.