Sin [Single] by Nine Inch Nails

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Halo 4: Sin

Apr 25, 2008 (Updated Apr 25, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:"Get Down, Make Love"

Cons:The "different" versions of "Sin" weren't different enough.

The Bottom Line: I recommend you try to find "Get Down, Make Love" online somewhere. This is for collectors only.


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.

Hmm.

Well, I did get the “Get Down, Make Love” cover, but I’m still, 12 years later, undecided on how necessary are three not-so-different versions of what’s 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. It’s got a driving beat with lots of mechanical and computerized sounds and the razorblade guitar I’ve come to associate with Reznor’s style. The lyrics bring to mind a very angry kiss-off to someone the narrator doesn’t 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 sweat”—which, admittedly, was pretty awesome when I came across it in BOOKS OF BLOOD—but up against some pretty heavy competition, mostly the first 3 songs on the album, “Sin” is mashed potatoes to “Head Like a Hole”s Stove Top Stuffing. You add “Terrible Lie” and “Down in It”, you’re looking at the turkey and gravy, plus the pumpkin pie. And so I still can’t 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 Trent’s vocals dripping anger and, at first, restraint, whereas “Sin, Dub” isn’t much different, other than the fact the vocals have been removed and there’s 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 you’re gonna create a dance mix of any NIN song, “Sin” was the top runner in the early days. It’s easy to imagine strobe lights and flailing Goths. But after about the first minute, it just kinda gets tedious. I don’t fault Reznor or “Sin” personally I think all dance music, if it goes on long enough, sounds alike. And, unfortunately, there’s 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. I’ve never heard the Queen version, but I’ve spent the past 12 years so in awe of the NIN version, I sometimes wonder if I wouldn’t be greatly disappointed. And I’m 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 Queen’s “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, it’s still 13 seconds longer than the album version), features more vocals than the “Long” version, but after having heard the song twice already, we’re over it and ready to move on.

I don’t think the problem with Halo 4 is the song itself, I think it’s in the similarities of the remixes. It’s 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 one’s a bit taller and one doesn’t talk as much. Otherwise, we’re looking at the same exact song 3 times. “Sin” is a good song, but let’s be honest, 15 minutes of ANY song is too much.

This is my second-least played NIN cd. You don’t buy Halo 4 because you love “Sin”. You buy it because you’re a NIN fan and eventually it will complete the set. Plus, “Get Down, Make Love” is AWESOME.



Halos what have come before:
Halo 2


Recommend this product? No


Great Music to Play While: At Work

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