Album Review: Nine Inch Nails – “Ghosts I-IV”

Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts I-IV is a thirty-six track instrumental collection that clocks in at roughly two hours. This set is definitely one of the most un-commercial releases that Nine Inch Nails has put out. It’s the kind of album where you have to sit down and listen to it in its entirety. You simply can’t pick and choose which tracks you want to listen to. According to a website that was set up to promote the release of Ghosts I-IV, it was stated that the music was recorded over a ten week period during the Fall of 2007. The pieces included here are improvisations done by Trent Reznor and some friends.

It should be pointed out that none of the songs on this release have an actual title. The titles are along the lines of “01 Ghosts I,” “10 Ghosts II,” “19 Ghosts III,” “28 Ghosts IV,” etc. Right at first, these “titles” can come across as being rather annoying. However, after you listen to the album in its entirety, you come to realize that having titles for these songs wouldn’t help you to truly identify any of the pieces.

The music included on Ghosts I-IV ranges from slow, piano-based pieces to some rather uptempo songs. Most of the songs on this release seem to clock in between two-and-a-half and three-and-a-half minutes. Only three or four of the songs included on the album come in at over five minutes. When you listen to the songs on Ghosts I-IV, you can definitely hear elements from a couple of Nine Inch Nails’ earlier eras; specifically, from the Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral eras. This isn’t to say that this is any kind of regression musically on Trent Reznor’s part. To me, while I can hear these elements, I can also hear how Trent has taken those elements and updated them with a more “modern” sound.

While Ghosts I-IV is an interesting listen, it’s something I don’t listen to very often. This isn’t because the album is bad; it’s more due to the fact that I simply don’t have time to set aside two hours during my day to just sit down and listen to music.

If you are a Nine Inch Nails fan that enjoys instrumentals and have a couple of hours to spare to take a listen, then this release is definitely for you. For Nine Inch Nails fans and collectors who want to have all the music released by Trent Reznor, then Ghosts I-IV is a “must-get” for them.


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