Photo: Courtesy of Austin City Limits.
Few cultural artifacts of the 1990s have survived the tweet-it-and-forget-it ravages of the new millennium. Whatever happened to POGs, scrunchies, and Tiffani Amber Thiessen? Hootie, where art thou?
Trent Reznor, however, has slogged through every onerous rock trend of the last decade and a half — ditching his greasy goth look and adding some significant neck mass in the interim — and remained true to his music, which is still as relevant as ever. To wit, he appeared Friday with his band Nine Inch Nails on PBS's long-running music show Austin City Limits, performing a medley of songs both old and new. Even better, as Rolling Stone points out, it's the group's longest TV appearance in 25 years.
Yes, 25 years. It was in 1989 that Reznor released NIN's debut album Pretty Hate Machine, a sonic assault that put New Wave through a rusty meat grinder. It feels just a tad ironic for NIN — whose "Happiness in Slavery" is still one of the most graphic videos ever broadcast by MTV — to appear on the same channel as the buttoned-up Downton Abbey.
There's no trace of that fustiness here, though. Reznor and company run through a fantastic set that includes Pretty Hate Machine classic "Sanctified," emo anthem "Hurt," and the recent "Came Back Haunted" (the video for which was directed by David Lynch and may well cause you to have a seizure).
Check out the full 54-minute performance below.