Pros: "Get Down, Make Love"
Cons: The "different" versions of "Sin" weren't different enough.
On October 10, 1990, I was still unaware of Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails, or the effect they would have on me when I discovered them about 5 years later. Meanwhile, Trent Reznor, presumably also unaware of me, was releasing Halo 4: SIN. It would be another 6 years before I would stumble across this CD at the local Record Wear House in the Used Cds section. Having discovered NIN only recently through THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL and knowing I would probably love whatever was released with the NIN banner, I bought it.
Well, I did get the Get Down, Make Love cover, but Im still, 12 years later, undecided on how necessary are three not-so-different versions of whats not even the most interesting song on the original LP.
Sin is song #7 from PRETTY HATE MACHINE (Halo 2), the first full-length NIN album. In 1990 it was released as the 4th and final single from that album, which in turn spawned Halo 4, Sin.
The song itself is good. Originally it was one of my top 5 favorites from the album. Its got a driving beat with lots of mechanical and computerized sounds and the razorblade guitar Ive come to associate with Reznors style. The lyrics bring to mind a very angry kiss-off to someone the narrator doesnt necessarily want to say goodbye to:
You give me the anger.
You give me the nerve.
Carry out my sentence.
Well I get what I deserve.
I'm just an effigy to be disgraced.
To be defaced.
Your need for me has been replaced.
And if I can't have everything well then just give me a taste.
For the most part, I think Sin is primarily famous for borrowing a line from a Clive Barker story (In the Hills, the Cities, I believe), Stale incense, old sweatwhich, admittedly, was pretty awesome when I came across it in BOOKS OF BLOODbut up against some pretty heavy competition, mostly the first 3 songs on the album, Sin is mashed potatoes to Head Like a Holes Stove Top Stuffing. You add Terrible Lie and Down in It, youre looking at the turkey and gravy, plus the pumpkin pie. And so I still cant figure out why we needed 3 alternate versions, Long, Dub and Short when the differences between them are so minimal.
Sin, Long is hard and aggressive with Trents vocals dripping anger and, at first, restraint, whereas Sin, Dub isnt much different, other than the fact the vocals have been removed and theres an effect or two added to balance it out. The drums and bass in the Dub version have a bit of an echo. Obviously, if youre gonna create a dance mix of any NIN song, Sin was the top runner in the early days. Its easy to imagine strobe lights and flailing Goths. But after about the first minute, it just kinda gets tedious. I dont fault Reznor or Sin personally I think all dance music, if it goes on long enough, sounds alike. And, unfortunately, theres absolutely nothing about Sin, Dub that sets it apart from a million other dance beats.
The monotony is broken up on Track 3 with the NIN cover of a Queen song, Get Down, Make Love from the 1977 record NEWS OF THE WORLD. Ive never heard the Queen version, but Ive spent the past 12 years so in awe of the NIN version, I sometimes wonder if I wouldnt be greatly disappointed. And Im a Queen fan.
This is the song where Reznor really gets to showcase his production skills. With a sample from THE CABINET OF CALIGARI, a rewound-tape effect, and a guitar sample from Queens We Will Rock You, Get Down, Make Love is at once filthy and desperately frustrated. His sense of rhythm and timing on this song always makes me smile.
The last version of Sin, the Short version (oddly, at 4:19, its still 13 seconds longer than the album version), features more vocals than the Long version, but after having heard the song twice already, were over it and ready to move on.
I dont think the problem with Halo 4 is the song itself, I think its in the similarities of the remixes. Its not just that the skeleton is the same in all three versions, but the organs, the hair, the skin . . . hell, they even have the same polio vaccine scar. The only difference is ones a bit taller and one doesnt talk as much. Otherwise, were looking at the same exact song 3 times. Sin is a good song, but lets be honest, 15 minutes of ANY song is too much.
This is my second-least played NIN cd. You dont buy Halo 4 because you love Sin. You buy it because youre a NIN fan and eventually it will complete the set. Plus, Get Down, Make Love is AWESOME.
Halos what have come before: