After the post I wrote recently about returning to old music, I started thinking about all the bands and artists I’ve listened to over the past two years, and I have to say, I’ve listened to so much. I started wondering if I’ve actually outgrown any of it. There are still times when I listen to angry, angst-ridden music. I still enjoy The Exies, whose lyrics are something like: “We are dirt. We are alone. You know we’re far from sober. We are fake. We are afraid. You know it’s far from over.”

Nine Inch Nails, however, is the perfect example of a band / artist (since we all know that it’s all about Trent Reznor) I have no use for. I will occasionally listen to one of his non-explosive songs for old time’s sake, but that’s it. And I don’t know who writes the album reviews on iTunes, but here is a perfect quote to explain NIN and why it lacks relevance to its audience:

His biggest problem is that while he shows considerable skill, even subtlety, in his music, the tortured sentiments of his lyrics are frozen in amber. They’re eternally adolescent and they sound juvenile, even embarrassing, coming from a man on the verge of his 40th birthday. These words work when sung by a young man, when they’re sung with a sense of urgency, but ‘urgency’ is not a word that can be associated with NIN, even on a record like this (With Teeth) that takes great pains to sound visceral and alive.

Great quote. The iTunes reviewer hit the nail on the head. I belted out Reznor’s songs with everything in me when I was seventeen years old. And hey, that was cool (or at least appropriate). He was one of the few artists who put some of my feelings into music (and vice versa, influenced my feelings with his music).

Nearly 13 years later, if I’m struggling with the exact same problems I faced at 17, there’s little hope for me. Same for Reznor. Let’s face it: the guy needs emotional healing. He needs to be vulnerable in front of someone who can listen and love him despite all the filth that would inevitably come out of his mouth. He doesn’t appear to be considering that option, however, so we’ll just hope that he grows up at some point, accepts some adult responsibility, and pursues personal growth and healing.

Still, some of his tunes are catchy, and I occasionally hear one that draws me in. I guard myself these days, however. The seductions of self-pity, self-loathing, and self-obsession are nothing to scoff at.

Here’s my final thought: I’d just like to see what a guy like Trent Reznor could do if he was emotionally healed and became a Christian. What kind of worship music might he produce? That could be some of the greatest, most powerful music ever. The gifts and talents God gave us stick with us regardless of our heart’s condition. Here’s hoping that Trent Reznor has a change of heart in time to give something truly spectacular to the world.

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