Note: The album is a digital-only release available at saulwilliams.com for free, or a $5 contribution.
Also Note: The album is a collaboration between poet/actor/musician Saul Williams (writer/performer) and Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor (producer).
Sound: Most tracks feature quintessential Nine Inch Nails production – a mix of grinding industrial rock, ominous and percussive electronics, dark and sparse piano lines – and Saul’s angsty, confrontational vocals can somewhat approximate Trent Renzor’s. But the music can mellow out, become more harmonious and take on a TV on the Radio vibe. Plus, they make room for some militant hip hop, occasionally reminiscent of Public Enemy and even a jazzy, funky groove.
Look For: Saul’s cover of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” The political 80s rock vibe meets passionate, black activist vocalist ends up sounding kind of like Bloc Party.
Heavy Rotation tracks: “Skin of a Drum”; “Tr(n)igger”; “Raised to be Lowered”
Medium Rotation tracks: “Niggy Tardust”; “Convict Colony”; “Raw”; “No One Ever Does”
Recommended: Niggy can often feel like a Nine Inch Nails album with a new context and refreshing vitality – it gives Trent Reznor’s production an excellent new outlet. But it also jumps into several other sounds and styles, making it extremely difficult to categorize. It’s a lot to digest in one sitting, but certainly worth the effort. Niggy Tardust is one of the most exciting and ambitious albums of the year, if not the decade.
Grade: A- (Top 20 Albums of 2007 Candidate)