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Bad Witch

Bad Witch
Bad Witch (2018).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 22, 2018 (2018-06-22)
GenreIndustrial rock
Length30:11
Label
Producer
Nine Inch Nails chronology
Add Violence
(2017)
Bad Witch
(2018)
Halo numbers chronology
Halo 31
(2017)
Halo 32
(2018)
Singles from Bad Witch
  1. "God Break Down the Door"
    Released: May 17, 2018

Bad Witch is the ninth studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on June 22, 2018, by The Null Corporation and Capitol Records. Their first album since Hesitation Marks (2013), it is the last of a trilogy of releases, following their two previous EPs Not The Actual Events (2016) and Add Violence (2017). Like with their previous releases, it was produced by frontman Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Alongside the characteristic industrial rock sound of their previous work, the record ventures in a more experimental direction that includes jazz instruments, notably saxophone played by Reznor. It is reminiscent to (and influenced by) David Bowie's final studio album Blackstar (2016), whom Reznor had collaborated with two decades prior. At just under half an hour long, the record is NIN's shortest full-length release to date. The Cold and Black and Infinite North America 2018 Tour was announced alongside its release to promote the album, in addition to the album's sole single, "God Break Down the Door".

Upon release, Bad Witch was well-received by critics, who applauded its influences and production; some called it the band's best work in a decade. The album reached number 12 in the US and UK, as well as the top five of various Billboard charts.

Background

In 2016, Nine Inch Nails planned a trilogy of EPs,[1] starting with Not the Actual Events. The second EP, Add Violence, was released in 2017. Regarding the third entry in the trilogy and its delayed production, frontman Trent Reznor said:

Following a handful of concerts in support of Add Violence, Reznor was enthusiastic to begin work on the final part of the trilogy.[3] After experiencing creative difficulty in the studio, he and bandmate Atticus Ross decided to focus on doing something "exciting" and "risky", which included the incorporation of saxophone.[3] Those sessions led to Bad Witch, a studio album inspired in part by David Bowie.[3][4]

While Bad Witch was originally set to be an EP,[5] it developed into a full-length album;[6][7][8] at 30 minutes in length, it is the band's shortest to date. Reznor initially saw the trio of planned EPs as one long album with three smaller components,[3] but, after seeing how EPs tend to be overlooked (especially on music streaming sites), Reznor decided to promote Bad Witch to a full album.[9][10]

Composition

Musically, Bad Witch is a concise album that blends the industrial rock aggression[11][12] of Nine Inch Nails with slower and more somber moments, most clearly seen in the two instrumental pieces.[13] Reznor employs a saxophone at multiple points on the album,[13] and he occasionally sings in a way dissimilar to his normal manner,[14] with some critics comparing the style to Bowie's.[4] The album's first two tracks, "Shit Mirror" and "Ahead of Ourselves", are its heaviest and most direct.[13] The third song, "Play the Goddamned Part", is the album's first instrumental.[11] It slowly builds tension, emphasizing saxophone[13] and experimental noises[4] while working toward the album's sole single, "God Break Down the Door".[15][16] "I'm Not from This World" is another instrumental, predominantly ambient song, described as "droning" and "hypnotic".[17] The album's sixth and final track, "Over and Out", begins as a relatively upbeat, catchy electronic song but ends as a protracted wash of white noise that concludes Bad Witch.[17][18]

Several critics have compared Bad Witch to Reznor and Ross' film scores.[4][19] Others likened the album to Bowie's Blackstar (2016),[4][18][19] and some to Reznor's soundtrack for the 1996 video game Quake.[19]

Release

On June 22, 2018, the album was released to retailers worldwide. It entered on several international charts and at 12 on the Billboard 200.[20]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic77/100[21]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[19]
The A.V. ClubB-[22]
The Boston GlobeFavorable[4]
The Independent3/5 stars[11]
NME5/5 stars[23]
Pitchfork8.0/10[24]
Q4/5 stars[12]
Slant Magazine3.5/5 stars[25]

Bad Witch received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 77, based on 23 reviews.[21] AllMusic's Neil Z. Yeung called the album "frustrating", but also "the most cohesive and enveloping experience of this period".[19] Terence Cawley of The Boston Globe gave Bad Witch a positive review, writing, "Reznor is still making records that crackle with restless energy. For an artist who once specialized in massive concept albums, the short-and-sweet approach of Bad Witch suits him well."[4] Writing for NME, Tom Connick gave the album a perfect score, calling it the band's best release in a decade.[23] The Independent's Ilana Kaplan noted that despite being only thirty minutes long, the album was full of complexity and would probably be received as a sensory overload.[11] Writing for Q, George Garner considered the album an "excellent reprisal" of Nine Inch Nails' "industrial aggression", concluding that after thirty years, the band sounded reinvigorated.[12] Spencer Kornhaber of The Atlantic felt that Bad Witch does not reach the highs of 1992's Broken or 1994's The Downward Spiral, but it does not dishonor them either.[18] Drowned in Sound's Christian Cottingham was more mixed on the album, criticizing it for relying too much on previous Nine Inch Nails sounds and material.[26] Sam Sodomsky of Pitchfork wrote, "for the first time in a long time, Reznor sounds like he’s got his eye on the future."[24]

Track listing

All tracks written by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

No.TitleLength
1."Shit Mirror"3:06
2."Ahead of Ourselves"3:30
3."Play the Goddamned Part" (instrumental)4:51
4."God Break Down the Door"4:14
5."I'm Not from This World" (instrumental)6:41
6."Over and Out"7:49
Total length:30:11

Personnel

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Bad Witch.[27]

Nine Inch Nails

  • Trent Reznor – arrangements, performance, production, programming, saxophone
  • Atticus Ross – arrangements, performance, production, programming

Additional personnel

  • Alan Moulder – mixing
  • Tom Baker – mastering
  • Chris Richardson – engineering
  • Justin McGrath – engineering
  • Ian Astbury – additional vocals (track 1)
  • Mariqueen Maandig – additional vocals (track 1)

Charts

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[28] 9
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[29] 16
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[30] 21
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[31] 24
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[32] 15
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[33] 39
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[34] 43
French Albums (SNEP)[35] 37
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[36] 28
Greek Albums (IFPI)[37] 68
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[38] 34
Irish Albums (IRMA)[39] 50
Italian Albums (FIMI)[40] 49
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[41] 43
New Zealand Heatseeker Albums (RMNZ)[42] 4
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[43] 18
Scottish Albums (OCC)[44] 6
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[45] 31
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[46] 5
UK Albums (OCC)[47] 12
UK Rock & Metal Albums (OCC)[48] 1
US Billboard 200[20] 12
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)[49] 2
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[50] 2

References

  1. ^ "Trent Reznor Announces Trilogy of Nine Inch Nails EPs". Rolling Stone. June 5, 2017. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  2. ^ Young, Alex (March 15, 2018). "Nine Inch Nails to release new EP before the end of June". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Suskind, Alex (June 20, 2018). "Trent Reznor on the new Nine Inch Nails album, sobriety, and the perils of technology". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Cawley, Terence (June 20, 2018). "A short, not-at-all sweet dispatch from Nine Inch Nails". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  5. ^ Moore, Sam (July 13, 2017). "Trent Reznor says he doesn't know what the final part of Nine Inch Nails' EP trilogy will sound like". NME. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  6. ^ Cook-Wilson, Winston (May 10, 2018). "Nine Inch Nails Announce New Album Bad Witch, U.S. Tour With Jesus and Mary Chain". Spin. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  7. ^ Young, Alex (May 10, 2018). "Nine Inch Nails announce new album, Bad Witch". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  8. ^ Pitchfork [@pitchfork] (May 10, 2018). "Update: A representative for NIN has confirmed that Bad Witch is an album, not an EP" (Tweet). Retrieved May 10, 2018 – via Twitter.
  9. ^ Reznor, Trent (teitan) (May 21, 2018). "Bad Witch LP – new album out 6/22/2018". Echoing the Sound. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  10. ^ Young, Alex (May 21, 2018). "Trent Reznor explains why Nine Inch Nails' upcoming Bad Witch is considered an album". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d Kaplan, Ilana. "Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch". The Independent. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c Garner, George (June 2018). "Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch". Q. No. Summer. ISSN 0955-4955.
  13. ^ a b c d Coleman, Jonny (June 21, 2018). "Critic's Notebook: Trent Reznor Serves Up Sublime Soundscapes in Nine Inch Nails' 'Bad Witch'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  14. ^ Reed, Ryan (May 17, 2018). "Hear Nine Inch Nails' Menacing New Song 'God Break Down the Door'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  15. ^ Schatz, Lake (May 17, 2018). "Nine Inch Nails unveil new song "God Break Down the Door": Stream". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  16. ^ Daramola, Israel (May 17, 2018). "Nine Inch Nails – "God Break Down the Door"". Spin. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  17. ^ a b Morton, Luke (June 21, 2018). "Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch album review". Metal Hammer. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  18. ^ a b c Kornhaber, Spencer (June 22, 2018). "Nine Inch Nails Enters Its Least Compromising Phase Yet". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  19. ^ a b c d e Yeung, Neil Z. "Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch". AllMusic. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  20. ^ a b "Nine Inch Nails Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Bad Witch by Nine Inch Nails Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  22. ^ Ryan, Kyle. "Nine Inch Nails, Kamasi Washington, and more albums to know about this week". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  23. ^ a b Connick, Tom. "Nine Inch Nails – 'Bad Witch' review". NME. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  24. ^ a b Sodomsky, Sam. "Nine Inch Nails: Bad Witch Album Review | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  25. ^ Goller, Josh (June 21, 2018). "Nine Inch Nails: Bad Witch". Slant Magazine. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  26. ^ Cottingham, Christian. "Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
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  28. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. July 2, 2018. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
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  32. ^ "Nine Inch Nails Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  33. ^ "Czech Albums – Top 100". ČNS IFPI. Note: On the chart page, select 201826 on the field besides the word "Zobrazit", and then click over the word to retrieve the correct chart data. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  34. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
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  36. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  37. ^ "Official IFPI Charts – Top-75 Albums Sales Chart (Week: 27/2018)". IFPI Greece. Archived from the original on July 17, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  38. ^ "Top 40 album DVD és válogatáslemez-lista – 2018. 26. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  39. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography Nine Inch Nails". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  40. ^ "Album – Classifica settimanale WK 26 (dal 2018-06-22 al 2018-06-28)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  41. ^ "オリコン週間 CDアルバムランキング(2018年06月18日~2018年06月24日" [Oricon weekly CD album index (18 June 2018 – 24 June 2018)]. Oricon (in Japanese). Archived from the original on June 28, 2018. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  42. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. July 2, 2018. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  43. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Nine Inch Nails – Bad Witch". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  44. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  45. ^ "Top 100 Albumes – Semana 26: del 22.6.2018 al 28.6.2018" (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
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  47. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  48. ^ "Official Rock & Metal Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  49. ^ "Nine Inch Nails Chart History (Top Alternative Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  50. ^ "Nine Inch Nails Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved July 2, 2018.