Hey you! Yeah, you with the fucking internet connection. You think you’re pretty smart, don’t you? All hanging out online, making smart-ass comments, weighing in with your opinions that nobody fucking asked you for in the first place. Well, take your snappy chats and your book faces and get the hell out of the way, because Trent Reznor is here to drop some hard truths all up in your face, and doesn’t have time for your whining about how that’s a mixed metaphor. He’s seen the way you mouth off like you have some right to offer thoughts on contemporary music, and he has a simple response: Fuck. That.
In a new interview with Yahoo! Music—the source for hard-hitting truth bombs about contemporary society—Reznor was holding court with his collaborator Atticus Ross about their score for the new film Patriots Day (presumably subtitled Mark Wahlberg Punches A Bomb In The Face) when he took a little time to discuss the current musical landscape, which he sees as ranking just below Barbie’s Dream House in terms of challenging people with ambitious forms of art. Here’s his response to a question about what difficulties artists face in making music nowadays:
What has crept in is that everyone’s a commentator now. The internet is giving voice to everybody thinking that someone gives a shit what they have to say and they have the right. I think, in general, that has created a toxic environment for artists and led to some very safe music. Artists are trying to make music to please the tastemakers that tell the sheep what to like. It’s a vicious cycle and I think it’s unhealthy. I don’t see any Princes emerging on the scene today. I see a lot of people making formulaic, made to please, vegan restaurant patron-type shit. And I think it creates an environment where people are too fuckin’ worried about what other people have to say. And people who have never made anything think it’s OK to talk shit about stuff they have no right to talk about. You got a Facebook account? Nobody gives a fuck. You haven’t achieved anything.
Take that, contemporary fans of music! He stops just short of throwing a “wake up, sheeple!” in there for good measure. Actually, this is a pretty charming quote, the kind of thing you could put in an online quiz and say, “Who said this? Henry Rollins or Trent Reznor?” Of course, that would require you to participate in the very forms of social media that are apparently destroying any hope of making ambitious art that will have any resonance in the culture at large, so it’s a damned-if-you-do scenario. Or a “vicious cycle,” to use Reznor’s own words, so better to just stay the hell off the internet altogether. After all, you haven’t achieved anything, you non-contributing fuck.