When I think of Nine Inch Nails, the first thing I think of is my best friend and her major Trent Reznor celebrity crush from our high school days. She had a type and Trent fit it perfectly. I also think of being at those interminable weekend play practices and playing the very end of "Closer" on the auditorium's ancient piano, which Alison had picked up by ear out of boredom. If you know Alison, you'd be as tickled by this as I am because she is one of the most pleasant (and at least in high school, least-depressive) people you'd ever want to meet. But Trent was her thing.
Nine Inch Nails really does have a very gloomy catalog. I don't particularly like gloomy music anymore, though I very much loved it in high school. Pete had a streak in the late-2000s where he briefly got back into NIN, listened to the albums on regular rotation. It was exhausting! It's not that I can't be a gloomy person when the mood and environment strikes me but I don't *like* feeling this way, so I don't find myself wallowing in this spirit. I'm more solutions-oriented than that. NIN isn't solutions-oriented. It's too heroiny.
"Wish," however, is an unqualified jam. I don't normally notice these things but I feel like it's the most ostentatiously-produced song in the history of music (maybe "Love Will Tear Us Apart" has a counter-argument here). That non-sound in the intro? What is that? It sounds like it's coming straight from hell--legitimately--not like in a Judas Priest way. The volume changes are grizzly and it should be irritating but it somehow really really works. Also, outside of David Bowie's entire catalog is there a mainstream rock song that sounds more like it was written on Mars? This isn't a song, it can't be!
The lyrics are fairly typical NIN fare, maybe more on the angry end of the gloomy spectrum. I can appreciate the many different ways Trent finds to say "fuck you" in this song. The best of which: "Gotta listen to your big time, hard line, bad luck--fist fuck!" followed by "Don't think you're having all the fun? You know me, I hate everyone!" Hahahahahaha! "I hate everyone!" Trent, you are the absolute living end.
The video is just disgusting. Fittingly so! Is there a sweatier video in music video history? I don't think so. They all look like a writhing mass of parts. It isn't filmed in black and white, is it? Everything is just naturally near-black and white. It's perfect.
I just listened to this song to make sure I got the punctuation on the lyrical excerpts above right and now I'm going to listen to it eight more times.