Reflektor

In a new guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor has some very nice things to say about David Bowie, his old tourmate and collaborator, and about Bowie’s unexpected 2013 comeback album The Next Day: “I’m still unraveling the riddle that he presented. I’m still getting new meanings out of the lyrics. What I thought was conservative production now feels forward-thinking. Like any great album, it’s revealed itself to be something that wasn’t what I initially thought.”

But it’s not all love with Reznor. By way of praising Bowie’s decision to drop the album with minimal advance hype, he snarks a bit on Arcade Fire, his competition on the festival-headliner circuit. Here’s how he puts it: “The marketing, too, felt like a breath of fresh air. It wasn’t like the Arcade Fire album [Reflektor] and its yearlong rollout, where it was like, ’OK, I get it. You’ve got an album out, you’ve played every TV show in the world.’”

Incidentally, the Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne is not a big Reflektor fan, either. He tells Rolling Stone:

I think Arcade Fire connecting up with James Murphy felt like two [artists] getting together and saying, “Let’s make something important.” I don’t really listen to the Arcade Fire on purpose. It’s just not my trip. I’m not really looking for that kind of, “We’re gonna survive” kind of music.

Of course, this does not come as a surprise.

Comments (57)
  1. trent reznor NEEDS to get a twitter and then diarrhea his thoughts on it always

    • You must be jesting. He has epic freakouts on twitter, Not the best thing for him, that. (Twitter I mean).

      • He’s actually been very restrained on Twitter over the past year or whatever, only mentioning good news about the stuff he’s working on or praising his peers. It was back in 2008 and 2009 that he was flipping out because he’d get engaged by others’ responses, and I wholeheartedly understand how it happens. 140 characters or less isn’t enough to have a well thought-out discussion / debate if one should ever arise, and because you can’t fit a full thought in that space, you are forced to tweet out multiple times — thus deeming it a “rant” in the public’s eye. I’ve had a stupid week on Twitter, so maybe I am self-projecting, but one of the worst parts about using it is that it doesn’t allow opinions to simply be opinions without spiraling into you being deemed the biggest asshole on the planet.

        • I agree Michael_. He was dealing with hardcore straight up racism and while his words weren’t pretty, anybody could understand his ire. I think that was a beef here on the gum years ago, Trent vs. Twitter, or at least it should have been.

  2. ”Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor has some VERY things to say about David Bowie”-
    Tom, very GOOD things you mean :) I also think the beef was really a pseudo beef. Trent used a cryptic campaign for Year Zero that worked for the record. Arcade Fire’s campaign worked too. I think the Hollywood Reporter sensationalized this. Or maybe its just that I don’t want to see two of my favorite artists involved in a spat before Christmas.

  3. i love arcade fire and reflektor, but ttly agree with trent.

    also, “throwing shade” is a really dumb phrase

  4. ^^^truth! I agree Arcade Fire was a bit much this year, album was good though. David Bowie is and always will be DA MAN! Perhaps Trent likes him because he gets to spend time with them, and they are connected by record labels. Either Trent Reznor doesn’t say things that aren’t true.

  5. #neverforget

  6. If you’re gonna haul abuse about over promotion in 2013 then you should probably aim at someone like Daft Punk. Who proceeded to blue ball as throughout the year with 30 second clips, tv guest appearances and yet only now are they going to actually play one song off that bloody record. I actually admired Arcade Fire’s viral approach with using a symbol across the world that anyone could replicate. It was pretty refreshing especially because it didn’t have any reference to their band initially. Not sure what exactly he’s going on about with TV appearances either, as I can only recall an average number.

  7. i think by “yearlong rollout” he means “2.5 month rollout” (first weird graffiti appeared mid august, album released end of october)

    • FWIW, NIN started hyping their big comeback tour in february, announced “hesitation marks” at the end of may, and it was released at the end of august, so a six- or three-month rollout, depending what you include. sure, arcade fire did a TON more stuff with their rollout (and i can accept that it didn’t go over well with everyone), but trent’s big issue seems to be with the timeframe of it.

  8. Is it just me or are do out favorite aging musicians seem a little extra crotchety these days? Today Trent, yesterday Johnny Marr, everyone and their sister hatin’ on Spotify (I’m looking at you David Byrne and Thom Yorke)

  9. I know, Trent, I also prefer it when two [artists] get together and say, “Let’s make something shitty.”

  10. I’m still waiting from Moz opinion on Arcade Fire and James Murphy, a little book, less than 800 pages : “I Hate It When Your Friends Become Successful”.

  11. Everyone needs to chill out. Its the holidays man. You have a beautiful wife and child, you’re loaded, you’re talented. Are you really that angry anymore Trent? We love you both AF and NIN. Merry Christmas.

  12. hey, remember that time NIN spent six months hauling out year zero with a huge viral campaign? and then dramatically broke NIN up saying “this is the last tour, blah blah blah”? and then brought them back? yeah, nothing pompous there.

    also, is there anyone left besides U2′s the edge that wayne coyne hasn’t slandered in the press? wtf? calm down.

  13. There is at least one thing that is more embarrassing than Arcade Fire’s marketing campaign, and it’s being a high profile musician publicly talking shit about Arcade Fire like a bitter old man.

  14. Calling any of this “beef” is a pretty big stretch. Merely suggesting the Fire’s marketing campaign may have been a bit much is hardly fightin’ words. And for Coyne – an artist can say another artist is not his/her taste without it being beefy. But I get it, holiday season news slump.

  15. Yeah Wayne! Tell ‘em who’s boss! You’d never be one of those assholes who collaborates with other artists!

  16. “Throwing Shade”….?
    Is that something you picked up listening to Drake?
    WORLD STAR HIP HOP, Y’ALL!!!

  17. Or Abe Vigoda in 2010, or any drag queen from the 70s and 80s.

  18. I’m not American so perhaps I missed some of Reflektor’s marketing campaign, but was it really that big? I mean all I know is that this stupid graffiti appeared, then Reflektor records started appearing and that TV special, and that’s about it, if you don’t include Youtube videos which aren’t that much of a marketing effort, you know?

    Also about that graffiti – I really hated how “somehow” every single music blog knew it had to do with Arcade Fire. it always seemed to me like utter bull – random graffiti appears in the US and suddenly Pitchfork et al. figure it has to do with Arcade Fire? hmm. tell me more.

    • Didn’t they post it on their Instagram or something first?

    • We live in a world with McDonalds, Disney and Kanye, so, no, it was not that big of a marketing campaign. If you watch a ton of TV, then you might have seen them play three songs on three different shows on three different nights. If you frequent music blogs, you would have seen a lot of easily ignored headlines like, “Arcade Fire Appear on a Show.”

      • About those TV performances, but isn’t that normal for big artists in the States? QOTSA were on like 10 different shows before Like Clockwork’s release, and so did JT…
        You’re right, but that was the blogs’ fault, not Arcade Fire’s, wasn’t it? It felt like more of clickbait for the site (knowing a new AF album is a huge deal to the readers) than part of the actual campaign.

        I’m sure Drake’s management didn’t ask Stereogum to do that dumb Draking Bad article, but someone here still thought it was a good idea, no?

        • Haha, I forgot about Draking Bad!

        • Part of it is that Arcade Fire did several things that raised (in my opinion) extremely minor and uninteresting ethical questions, such as:

          1. spray painting an advertisement on the side of a building without permission or payment;

          2. surprising an audience by appearing on a stage at what people thought was the back of the venue;

          3. performing on a rooftop that was too high for people near the front of the crowd to properly see the band; and

          4. requesting audiences to wear formal wear or costumes to their shows.

          I would personally only consider the first situation a breach of ethics, but the coverage on blogs treated all four situations as ethical questions.

  19. criticize the rollout, whatever. i actually loved it all and thought it was exciting. no matter the leadup, reflektor is a new classic album and my favorite of the year along with youth lagoon (which seems to have been forgotten about).

  20. I’m at a loss to explain why so many people, famous or otherwise, claim to be annoyed the Reflektor rollout. Did it seriously disrupt your everyday life? Was it just soooo hard for you to read little blurbs on the internet about the graffiti popping up here and there? It just doesn’t make sense to me; it’s not like we’re seeing Arcade Fire every night on Coors Light commercials or anything of the like. In my own experience, I can safely say that I wouldn’t have been exposed to the marketing campaign at all if not for my ACTIVELY SEEKING OUT that type of content on sites like Stereogum.

    • I think it has as much to do with indie blogs’ collective obsession with Arcade Fire as much as anything. Yes, there was a big roll out campaign for Reflektor, but there are big roll out campaigns for albums all the time that no one pays much attention to, at least not around here or around the indie music blogowebsiteosphere. Not to say Arcade Fire hasn’t done enough to deserve this obsession, they’ve released four extremely memorable and well-loved albums, but when every time you log on to a music news website whether it be Stereogum, Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, Spin, wherever, you see something about Arcade Fire. It tends to wear on you after a while, at least it did for me.

      I guess oversaturation in the media is the TL;DR version of what I’m trying to say.

  21. I just kind of want a filter on my feed that blocks all ‘The Arcade Fire appear on [...]‘ or ‘[...] toast/diss Reflektor.’ The Arcade Fire got popular, yes – and way to go to them! However, did they have to be so corny about it?

  22. wow stereogum…
    Trent Reznor’s article was “Trent Reznor’s Heartfelt Tribute to David Bowie (Guest Column)”… the WHOLE article is about Bowie… he mentions Arcade Fire in passing, and BOOM – now it’s a “where’s the beef?” article?

    come on.

    • Yeah. I’m gonna side step the whole AF thing and say that Trent is doing David justice. I have huge respect for both. I think that Trent is one of the most irrelevantly relevant people in music today- and I think that suits him well. Trent is genius.

      • Well said. I also feel David Bowie’s Next Day was lost in the critic’s eyes at the end of the year. Such an awesome album.

        • Agreed, it was unfortunately lost in the shuffle, despite mostly glowing reviews. Admittedly, it’s an album of subtle power, and this year has been marked by very brash and immediate musical statements. The most brash and immediate aspect of “The Next Day” was its release, so after that hype had died, perhaps it was inevitable that the album itself would be eclipsed by the likes of Yeezus, Random Access Memories, Run the Jewels, Reflektor, etc. Hopefully people will think to revisit it in the years to come and appreciate its many layers of mood and meaning.

  23. That Arcade Fire, so hot right now.

  24. Trent and Wayne both talk an unbelievable amount of shit, and not in a funny Noel Gallagher way. Makes me not like them as people.

  25. Everyone… Take 2 seconds and click through to the Rolling Stone article.

    Wayne Coyne appears to be complimenting Arcade Fire, not “throwing shade.” When asked about year-end rock that is important, Wayne – after admitting that they are not his thing – says Arcade Fire got together with James Murphy and tried to make something important, adding that people are into the album.

    Context is everything.

  26. tmz-gum.

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