I often say that the 1980’s was the last good decade in music … and by that I mean the last cohesive decade from start to finish. Not that it didn’t have a few “holes” in it, perhaps most noticeably in 1985 and also some small parts of 1987 and 1988. But holes that can more or less be overlooked. The 1990’s was the first and last “Swiss cheese” decade … a musical decade that had A LOT of holes in it. But wherever there was CHEESE, it was fantastic! And yours truly did not fail to nibble on this delicious piece of cheese: the CD Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails (1994). Of course it was this song, “Closer,” that motivated me to buy the album.
It was an early taste of the alternative 90’s music scene … a kind of music I firmly believed would take over pop music in the 21st Century. But that was NOT to be as we were instead bombarded with rap, hip hop, and teen pop in 2000 and most rock music … any kind, old and new … quickly disappeared from the airwaves. “Closer” is rough and sexy and consistently suspenseful throughout. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when I first heard this song, with at that time such controversial lyrics, on Top 40 stations let alone alternative stations. Of course it did well in Canada, reaching #5 on the Canadian Singles Chart, and that’s practically right next door to where I live. It only made it to #41 on the US Billboard Hot 100 on October 15, 1994 and #47 on Cash Box a week later, but peaked at #11 on the US alternative chart. It is among the songs I would consider to be the best iconic rock of the 1990’s.
Nine Inch Nails, still going strong, recently appeared on an episode of the “third season” of the Twin Peaks series by director David Lynch on Showtime in 2017.
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