Album Review: Nine Inch Nails – “And All That Could Have Been / Still”

And All That Could Have Been is a live disc released in 2002 that has performances from Nine Inch Nails’ “Fragility v2.0” tour. This review focuses on the limited edition version of the release, which includes a bonus CD.

When you listen to the first disc, Trent Reznor has very little in the way of stage banter, which helps the songs segue together rather smoothly. I also have to mention that the sound quality on this live release is very good; when you listen to the disc, you almost think that you’re actually at the concert.

The tracklist opens with some on Nine Inch Nails’ best-known songs: “Terrible Lie,” “Sin,” “March of the Pigs,” and “Piggy.” This gives the concert a very strong and upbeat start.

Around the middle of the disc, there’s a slower section featuring “The Great Below” and “The Mark Has Been Made.” Unfortunately, this sequencing kind of bogs down this part of the CD; however, this was the sequence the songs were in during the actual performance, so I have to give credit for leaving the concert’s original setlist intact.

My one major complaint about this disc is that the fact that it ends rather abruptly, rather than letting the audience’s cheering fade out. Outside of that, though, the live disc is a rather strong release.

This version of the album comes with a bonus CD, Still. After listening to this disc, I think it’s safe to say that this is probably the closest thing you’ll ever see to an “acoustic” Nine Inch Nails disc. For example, “Something I Can Never Have,” which is almost a minute longer on this disc, features a more laid-back arrangement; you only hear a piano and Trent’s vocals. In addition to “Something I Can Never Have,” there are also re-worked versions of “The Fragile,” “The Becoming,” and “The Day the World Went Away.”

There are also five new songs included on this release: “Adrift and at Peace,” “Gone, Still,” “And All That Could Have Been,” and “The Persistence of Loss,” and “Leaving Hope.”

“Adrift and at Peace” is about three minutes in length, and is a rather slow and laid-back track. “Gone, Still” is about two-and-a-half minutes in length, and has a strong focus on piano for its instrumentation. “And All That Could Have Been” is the longest of the five new tracks, clocking in at a little over six minutes; of the new songs on this disc, this probably comes to the closest to what one would expect to hear on a Nine Inch Nails album; it’s also the only one of the new songs to really have any vocals on it. “The Persistence of Loss” is about minutes long, and is more or less a laid-back instrumental. “Leaving Hope” is almost six minutes long, and it’s also a laid-back instrumental piece.

Overall, both And All That Could Have Been and Still are strong discs, and they should be in the collection of a Nine Inch Nails fan.

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of the limited edition pressing of And All That Could Have Been that my husband and I purchased.

(written by Lesley Aeschliman on January 18, 2003)


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