“Wish” – Nine Inch Nails

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From the transitional 1992 EP “Broken,” “Wish” was the first Nine Inch Nails song that made me say “F–K YEAH!” A lot of my friends loved Nine Inch Nails already, but while I liked the attitude of 1989’s “Pretty Hate Machine,” it had too many synths and not enough guitars for my taste. Well, be careful what you wish for, because Trent Reznor added some guitars all right. Gobs of them. Even over 20 years later, the result is still one of the heaviest songs ever recorded. And I’ve since come around on “Pretty Hate Machine” as well.

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“I’m Afraid of Americans” – David Bowie (with Nine Inch Nails)

David Bowie is a musical genius, in my opinion. But there are some who think that Bowie is only as good as who he collaborates with. I don’t think that’s a fair criticism, but it’s understandable why someone may think that. Say what you will about Bowie, but the man does have excellent taste and has always been on the cutting edge. For all of the phases  of his career, here’s the short list of his collaborators: Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Mott the Hoople, Brian Eno, Nile Rogers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and, in the 1990s Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

“I’m Afraid of Americans” was Bowie’s collaboration with Nine Inch Nails from 1997 or so and the marriage is a damn good one.

“Why D’ya Do It?” – Marianne Faithfull

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Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned … especially when she’s in her late 30s, has lived a very hard life, and sounds like she could literally tear your head off with her bare hands.  You thought Alanis Morisette’s “You Oughta Know” sounded angry?   You thought Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction” was nuts?  Hell, you thought Trent Reznor sounded pissed off against the female race on NIN’s first two-three albums?  Faithfull could easily kick all their asses without breaking a sweat and then go after the “bad boyfriend” in this song with a knife and fork.  Yikes.  A really, really angry song with a lot of bad language, so you know the drill.