Trent Reznor Praises David Bowie but Bashes Arcade Fire in Year-End Essay

Trent Reznor Praises David Bowie but Bashes Arcade Fire in Year-End Essay
Photo: Carrie Musgrave
Nine Inch Nails lynchpin Trent Reznor has written a guest column for the Hollywood Reporter on his favourite music from 2013, and he took the opportunity to praise rock legend David Bowie. The essay wasn't all positive, however, since he also used the opportunity to take a dig at Arcade Fire.

Reznor was impressed by the low-key rollout behind Bowie's album, and he wrote, "When The Next Day came out [in March], I was genuinely surprised — a new album from Bowie? That's fantastic. I didn't even know it was on the horizon, particularly with the rumours of his health circulating for the last few years."

He noted that his NIN commitments meant that he initially didn't have much time to absorb the album, but he said, "Over several months, it made its way into my playlist on countless bus rides; when I'm sitting alone to listen to music, I reach for The Next Day."

The album has also apparently grown on him with repeat listens. "I'm still unraveling the riddle that he presented," Reznor reflected. "I'm still getting new meanings out of the lyrics. What I thought was conservative production now feels forward-thinking. Like any great album, it's revealed itself to be something that wasn't what I initially thought."

According to Reznor, Bowie's minimal promotional approach is preferable to Arcade Fire-style hype building. The frontman wrote, "The marketing, too, felt like a breath of fresh air. It wasn't like the Arcade Fire album [Reflektor] and its yearlong rollout, where it was like, 'Okay, I get it. You've got an album out, you've played every TV show in the world.'"

He has a point — Arcade Fire were one of Exclaim!'s newsmakers of the year, thanks in large part to their drawn out, intensive promotional efforts. Of course, the Reznor's criticisms are somewhat ironic considering that Bowie made a guest appearance on "Reflektor." And it's hard to argue with success, since Arcade Fire topped the charts.

Reznor isn't alone in his response to Arcade Fire, as Flaming Lips head Wayne Coyne told Rolling Stone, "I think Arcade Fire connecting up with James Murphy felt like two [artists] getting together and saying, 'Let's make something important.' I don't really listen to the Arcade Fire on purpose. It's just not my trip. I'm not really looking for that kind of, 'We're gonna survive' kind of music."

Read Reznor's full essay here.