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Expose Yourself

Dear Trent,

How's it going, dude? Long time no see. (Ha Ha Ha) But seriously, as much as I loved your excellent soundtrack work, I thought I'd never get my hands on the follow-up to the holiest of relics, The Downward Spiral. I worried that the pressure of performing those one of a kind hymns to the eternal sadness live so many times would drive you from the music business altogether. I'll bet those jerks in Orgy would have liked that. Those guys suck! Trent, we both know how sacred a song like "Blue Monday" by New Order is, and they treat it like yesterday's meatballs. It makes me sick! Peter Hook should hit them over the head with his bass. By the way, I always thought Hooky was the cutest member of New Order. I know, I know, everyone thinks Bernard hung the stars and the moon, but he has no passion. (Did you know he takes Prozac now? That's no way to write sad songs!) Anyway, did you know Orgy's guitarist used to be in '80s hair-metal band Rough Cutt? It's true! I have to admit their song "Kids Will Rock" was pretty hot, even if the subject matter was a tad cliche. Trent, as much as I'm aligned with the inner misery of your haunted lyrics, I love how loud and anthem-like your rockiest songs are. The other day MTV played Slaughter's "Up All Night," and even though Slaughter were pretty silly, they sounded awesome coming out of my Optimus brand Radio Shack speakers. Then they played some Smashing Pumpkin thing, and it sounded like ants. And not the good kind of ant, as in Ant Music for Ant People! (Adam rules!) But annoying, buzzing, tiny, ugly ants from Hell!

Oh my god, I haven't even told you how much I worship the new album. It totally rocks! The highest compliment I can give is that when I close my eyes it's as if I'm listening to the last album all over again. I think you were right on in duplicating the same groundbreaking sound you came out with five years ago. Now that everyone has caught up with your brilliance, you can show them how it's done! (Um, Filter? I don't think so. I know that guy was a friend of yours, but he will neverfill your leather pants.) And I love how you haven't given up on the way your songs start off really slow and creepy, and then GET REALLY LOUDAND ANGRY, and then get soft and sad again. You must do that like 20 times on the new album. "The Mark Has Been Made" starts out all dreamy like a 4AD album cover and then kicks ass like Queen's "We Will Rock You"! Trent, I know it took you over two years and a whole lot of tears and black nail polish to record this epic of decadence, but it was worth the wait.

Trent  Reznor in... The Hair of Chris Gaines
photo: Harry Borden / Retna
Trent Reznor in... The Hair of Chris Gaines

This may be in bad taste, but do you ever feel bad that you weren't mentioned as the reason behind all those school shootings? If it makes you feel better, Marilyn Manson was, and you made him what he is today! I know you guys aren't talking, and your totally rockin' "Starfuckers, Inc." is supposed to be about him and his band. Maybe you can bury the hatchet someday. You two were such good friends! Did you know the Rolling Stones (Gag!) had a song called "Star Star" that was about the same thing—I think it was about Warren Beatty (Double gag!!). Anyway, your CD has just come out (I thought CDs'n'Such at the mall would start selling them at midnight like they did with the Limp Bizkit album, but they're such retards there), and once again you are pioneering the marriage of heavy guitars, moody atmospherics, electronic drones and beats, and aggressive singing. Just like Killing Joke 20 years ago. Weren't they great! I just know that your albums will sound as fresh and exciting someday as their 1980 debut does now. (I know you'll think I'm queer, but Youth their bass player produced one of my fave Bananarama singles, "Long Train Runnin' "—a Doobie Bros. cover!) Just imagine what they could have come up with if they'd had a ton of money and two years in the studio. Back then, they made records in like two days.

Your album truly runs the gamut of styles. All the way from With Sympathy-era Ministry, to "Cold Life"-era Ministry, to Twitch-era Ministry, to The Land of Rape and Honey-era Ministry, to current-day Ministry. Wow! That's a lot to take in. Trent, I'm sending a gift with this letter. It's a creepy amulet that my total Goth friend Prince Ivor got on eBay. The guy who sold it says Charles Manson gave it to Terry Melcher, the record producer, in the hopes that Paul Revere would record a song he had written, called "Girl, You'll Be a Raider When You Die." But get this, Terry Melcher gave it to Sharon Tate as a housewarming gift when she moved into his old house. The legendary house where you created The Downward Spiral! Isn't that awesome!

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