Thumbing through a recent Billboard magazine proved to be a real downer for Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Reznor has never been known as rock's resident optimist, but he was genuinely depressed upon seeing the number of mindless, lowest-common-denominator rock bands and teen acts that rule the top of the charts.
"I don't mean to sound like the bitter, crotchety guy whose rec ord didn't sell as well as somebody projected it would," says Reznor, "but the lack of intelligent music or challenging music or anything that is risk-taking is really frustrating, aside from the occasional hip-hop track that is inventive, then is ripped off by everybody else.
Reznor's art/industrial rock machine, Nine Inch Nails, is still selling concert tickets in high numbers - witness a sold-out date at the Worcester Centrum Centre this Tuesday. But its rec ord sales have tapered off with "The Fragile," a stunning, if sometimes confusing, double album that has sold less than a million copies, versus the 4 million of NIN's previous disc, "The Downward Spiral" (1994), and 3 million of its debut, "Pretty Hate Machine" (1989).