Less Than (song)

Last updated
"Less Than"
Single by Nine Inch Nails
from the album Add Violence
ReleasedJuly 13, 2017 (2017-07-13)
Format Digital download
Genre Industrial rock [1]
Length3:30
Label The Null Corporation
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Trent Reznor
  • Atticus Ross
Nine Inch Nails singles chronology
"Everything"
(2013)
"Less Than"
(2017)
"God Break Down the Door"
(2018)
Music video
"Nine Inch Nails – Less Than" on YouTube

"Less Than" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, from their EP Add Violence . It was released on July 13, 2017 and the music video alludes to the video game Polybius , an urban legend about a video game used to data mine information from people to the government. On October 2017, it peaked at number 10 on the Billboard US Mainstream Rock Songs chart.

Industrial rock

Industrial rock is an alternative rock genre that fuses industrial music and rock music.

Nine Inch Nails American industrial rock band

Nine Inch Nails, commonly abbreviated as NIN, is an American industrial rock band formed in 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio. Singer, producer and instrumentalist Trent Reznor was the only permanent member until the addition of English musician Atticus Ross in 2016.

<i>Add Violence</i> 2017 EP by Nine Inch Nails

Add Violence is the sixth extended play by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. Released through The Null Corporation and Capitol Records on July 19, 2017, it is the second in a trilogy of releases, following the EP Not the Actual Events (2016) and preceding the band's ninth studio album Bad Witch (2018). It was produced by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Contents

Background

"Less Than" was announced and released as the lead single and opening track to the Add Violence EP on July 13, 2017. [2] [3] The song's music video was released on the same day, and features a woman staring at a retro-styled video game with the song's lyrics showing up in gameplay. [4] The game featured is Polybius , created by British video game designer Jeff Minter and playable on the PlayStation 4 platform. [5] The video game itself is based on an urban legend of the same name—an alleged arcade game that existed in the 1980s which data mined people's personal information to the government—leading some publications to suggest a similarity in themes between the game and song. [5] [6] [7]

Extended play

An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. Contemporary EPs generally contain a minimum of three tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

A music video is a short film that integrates a song with imagery, and is produced for promotional or artistic purposes. Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings. There are also cases where songs are used in tie-in marketing campaigns that allow them to become more than just a song. Tie-ins and merchandising can be used for toys or for food or other products. Although the origins of the music video date back to musical short films that first appeared in the 1920s, they again came into prominence in the 1980s when the channel MTV based their format around the medium. Prior to the 1980s, these kinds of videos were described by various terms including "illustrated song", "filmed insert", "promotional (promo) film", "promotional clip", "promotional video", "song video", "song clip" or "film clip".

<i>Polybius</i> (2017 video game)

Polybius is a 2017 shoot 'em up video game developed and published by Llamasoft. It was released in May 2017 for the PlayStation 4, with PlayStation VR support available. A version for Microsoft Windows was announced to be released at a later date. The game takes its name from the fictitious 1981 arcade game Polybius.

Themes and composition

Spin noted the similarities between "Less Than" and other Nine Inch Nails songs, such as there being similar lyrical refrains between it and 2013 single "Copy of A" ("Go and look what you've gone done" vs. "Now look what you've gone and done") and similarly structured and ominous choruses between it and 1990 single "Head Like a Hole", with both songs referring to "getting what one deserves". [8] The song starts off relatively upbeat and simple, and slowly becomes more ominous and cluttered. [9] Loudwire compared the song's sound to the band's Pretty Hate Machine -era material, noting that the song featured "a heavy synth base" and that "guitars still wail in the background over Trent Reznor's vocals ... a huge guitar chorus fires into focus, featuring a clean and catchy kind of riff". It also states that "things get noisy and weird as the song progresses, giving the best of both worlds with catchy, clean work found on the likes of With Teeth while also showing Reznor letting loose before an abrupt ending". [10] NPR described the song as having an "anthemic rock chorus". [11]

<i>Spin</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Spin is an American music magazine founded in 1985 by publisher Bob Guccione, Jr. The magazine stopped running in print in 2012 and currently runs as a webzine, owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group division of Valence Media.

Head Like a Hole 1990 song by Nine Inch Nails

"Head Like a Hole" is a song by the American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released as the second single from the group's debut album, Pretty Hate Machine.

<i>Loudwire</i> Online magazine

Loudwire is an American online magazine that covers hard rock and heavy metal music. It is owned by media and entertainment business Townsquare Media. Since its launch in August 2011, Loudwire has secured exclusive interviews with Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Judas Priest, Guns N' Roses, Megadeth, Kiss, Mötley Crüe, Suicidal Tendencies and many others. Loudwire has also exclusively premiered new material from Judas Priest, Anthrax, Jane's Addiction, Stone Sour, Billie Eilish and many more of rock and metal's biggest acts.

Reception

The song was generally well received by critics. Spin generally praised the song, calling it "comfort food for Trent Reznor fans" and concluding that it "may be the best that we can hope for from the mature, more dignified Nine Inch Nails in 2017." [8] Multiple journalists singled out the song as the best or standout track from the Add Violence EP. [2]

Personnel

Trent Reznor American musician

Michael Trent Reznor is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and film score composer. He is the founder, lead vocalist, and principal songwriter of the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, which he founded in 1988 and of which he was the sole official member until adding long-time collaborator Atticus Ross as a permanent member in 2016. His first release under the Nine Inch Nails name, the 1989 album Pretty Hate Machine, was a commercial and critical success. He has since released nine Nine Inch Nails studio albums. He left Interscope Records in 2007 and was an independent recording artist until signing with Columbia Records in 2012.

Atticus Ross English musician, composer and record producer

Atticus Matthew Cowper Ross is an English musician, songwriter, record producer, and audio engineer. Along with Trent Reznor, Ross won the Oscar for Best Original Score for The Social Network in 2010. In 2013, the pair won a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for their soundtrack to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He has worked with Reznor's band Nine Inch Nails since 2005, and became an official member of the band in 2016.

Allison Iraheta singer, musician

Allison Iraheta is an American singer from Los Angeles, California, who was the fourth place finalist on the eighth season of American Idol. Prior to Idol, Iraheta won the Telemundo competition Quinceañera: Mamá Quiero Ser Artista. Following the conclusion of Idol, Iraheta was signed to a record deal with 19 Entertainment and Jive Records. Her debut album Just Like You was released on December 1, 2009. She is currently the lead singer in the band Halo Circus.

Charts

Chart (2017)Peak
position
US Alternative Songs ( Billboard ) [12] 22
US Mainstream Rock ( Billboard ) [13] 10
US Rock Airplay ( Billboard ) [14] 21

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References

  1. "Review: Nine Inch Nails - "This Isn't the Place"". spin.com. 18 July 2017.
  2. 1 2 "Nine Inch Nails, Foster The People, and more in this week's music reviews". 2017-07-21. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  3. "Nine Inch Nails announce Add Violence EP, share "Less Than": Stream". Consequence of Sound. 2017-07-13. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  4. "The new Nine Inch Nails music video is set inside a real video game that you can play right now". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  5. 1 2 "Nine Inch Nails' latest video taps into gaming legend". Engadget. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  6. Joho, Jess. "There's a really trippy story behind Nine Inch Nails' new music video". Mashable. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  7. "The new Nine Inch Nails music video is set inside a real video game that you can play right now" . Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  8. 1 2 "Nine Inch Nails' "Less Than" Review". Spin. 2017-07-13. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  9. "Nine Inch Nails Preview 'Add Violence' EP With Driving New Song". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  10. "Nine Inch Nails Release New Song 'Less Than,' Announce New EP 'Add Violence'". Loudwire. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  11. "Listen: Nine Inch Nails Announces 'ADD VIOLENCE' EP, Shares Cinematic New Single". NPR.org. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  12. "Nine Inch Nails Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  13. "Nine Inch Nails Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  14. "Nine Inch Nails Chart History (Rock Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved August 3, 2017.