This is definitely not a band trying to prove something, or out to experiment with new sounds. Trent Reznor and the rest of this band has taken the criticism and played with new techniques, With Teeth is really not going to affect the legacy this band leaves behind, which could be good or bad; lack of pressure can leave a band too lax, but can also leave them free enough to do their best work. That being said, this album falls into the discography almost perfectly.
While not the definitive sound of “The Downward Spiral”, this album contains guaranteed hits like “The Hand That Feeds”. For someone who maybe wasn’t a huge fan of the heavy industrial sound of “The Fragile” discs, NIN has produced some beats and riffs that are much easier for a casual fan to adapt to, “You Know What You Are” and “All the Love in the World” being examples of this.
I usually try to break down an album song by song, but that is very hard to do with this release. With the exception of the single “The Hand That Feeds” (which had immense radio play, and I heard dozens of times before the rest of the album) there are no standout tracks. “With Teeth” is just a solid album. This is a work that will gain new fans who were not big on the band’s older stuff, but it does not alienate their distinctive sound, so as to irritate die hard fans. In addition to the sound, the lyrics are a bit easier to swallow. After going through some personal issues, Reznor seems to come up with words that are a bit more upbeat (although points of the album do have their depressing episodes). If I had to pick out a couple songs that would be the high points of this album, “The Hand That Feeds”, “Everyday Is Exactly the Same”, and the title track “With Teeth” would be my picks. By saying this though, it is only a guess as to possible singles or crowd favorites at shows; this album really is just a well done work that is complete only with all of the songs, and no track takes away from the experience of the entire album.
With Teeth can be an old fan’s new favorite (although I still stand by “The Downward Spiral”), or a new fan’s jumping block into a band that has been around a while. I would probably call this CD the gateway drug into Nine Inch Nails. Any fan of the band should be pleased with this work, and it will provide a good opportunity for fans of more mainstream music to get into this band.
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