A common criticism yours truly has to live with is the perpetual (metaphorical) beatings I receive from my fellow snobs for bringing “bad vibes” to our playlists. I have thus decided to go rogue and inundate you, our dear readers, with so many bad vibes this Valentine’s Day that you find yourself cowering in a corner, rocking back and forth, weeping from despair as punishing nihilism leaves you a husk of a human being, devoid of love and feeling.
I also want you to appreciate some music that is challenging to enjoy unless one really devotes the time to listen carefully, at which point you will hopefully have the same epiphany that I did, and realise that some of the best albums released over the last 50 years were aggressive and abrasive works of pained human expression and artistry.
With that in mind, please light some candles, draw a pentagram on your floor, clad yourself in black, press play and pray for Black Philip.
This release is heavy on Nine Inch Nails, a band I will one day visit in-depth, so that you may better appreciate Trent Reznor‘s magnificence, although for the purpose on conveying maximum bad vibes upon you, this focusses on Reznor’s most despairing works, drawing heavily from masterpieces Broken, The Downward Spiral and The Fragile to set the mood. If one thing should come from this playlist, it is that you really should invest the time in finding the ephemeral beauty hidden beneath the violent destruction of The Downward Spiral, probably one of the greatest albums of the 1990s.
The bad vibes are then solidified with the addition of some NIN-related threads; Cabaret Voltaire, Gary Numan, Marilyn Manson, Prick, A Perfect Circle, Saul Williams, and How To Destroy Angels, to name a few. To call out one track from that group in particular, I would draw your attention to Prick – a one-album wonder from Reznor’s Nothing record label, whose brief flirtation with popularity was captured in single Animal, a prime cut of ’90s-era angst-rock.
To make sure you all aren’t enjoying yourselves at all, I’ve also supplemented the old school dread with some more contemporary aural assaults such as the utterly sublime The Knife and Tunisian doom-house producer, Deena Abdelwahed, amongst others.
If – as these songs do to me – you find yourself reveling in the artistic achievements of this stellar group of pioneers whilst also marveling at the bleak erasure of all emotion and positivity from your soul, then you may find yourself having the most wonderful Valentine’s Day ever. Indeed, so many of these songs overtly flirt with our human predilection to revel in carnal sin (and as you should be, in celebration of St. Valentine), that you may find yourself needing to bathe your abode in red light and getting hold of some black leather clothes and handcuffs.
Happy fucking Valentine’s Day. May you all have bad vibes.