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Singular Visions Seeking Focus

Erykah Badu can't match the punch of 'Baduizm,' while Nine Inch Nails fares better with remixes.

*** NINE INCH NAILS, "Things Falling Apart," Nothing

November 19, 2000|STEVE HOCHMAN

If last year's double CD, "The Fragile," met a mixed reception, how will this single-disc remix collection fare? While it's not likely to compensate for the predecessor's commercial under-performance, the album may appease fans who felt "The Fragile" didn't break new ground for Trent Reznor.

Following the pattern of previous remix albums, the eight revisions here (one by Reznor with Alan Moulder, the others each by different remixers) take some winning twists and turns, and even at times bring out an element of humor (dark, of course) that is not often evident in Reznor's originals. It's a trade-off: These versions generally avoid the black emotional holes that are Reznor's trademark, and at times the addition of a dance beat trivializes the source material.

Supplementing nicely are two previously unreleased non-remixes, "The Great Collapse" and a version of Gary Numan's "Metal"--the latter adding Eno-esque ambience to Numan's electro-pop. But testimony to the art of the participants is that though three of the remixes are of "Starf------ Inc.," each is distinctively reworked enough to not sound redundant. Most interesting is the version by Dave Ogilvie of Skinny Puppy, who makes it part Euro-chant anthem and psychological warfare. It's a seductive contrast worthy of Reznor's own best.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are due in stores Tuesday unless otherwise noted.

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