By Ian MacDonald. First published in Uncut Magazine, October, 1998. “I ran across a monster who was sleeping by a tree. And I looked and frowned and the monster was me” (David Bowie, “The Width Of A Circle”, 1971) EMI’s latest batch of mid-price Bowie reissues, discs released at full price in 1990-1, consists of the 1976-8 sequence, Station To Station, Low, “Heroes”, and Stage. It might have been truer to his career to have made a foursome of Low, “Heroes”, Stage and Lodger – the “Berlin Trilogy” plus their complimentary live album – and to have corralled Station To Station with his other “American” albums, David Live and Young Americans.
Nine Inch Nails “Big Man With A Gun” portrays a negative character in order to question the media-saturation and gangsta-rap glamorization of gun violence and straight, white violent masculinity, highlighting the use and abuse of firearms in America. In spite of this, the song and Nine Inch Nails’ music in general, would stand accused of directly inspiring and causing gun violence in the form of the Columbine High School shooting of April 20, 1999.
On Big Man With A Gun Nine Inch Nails presented the negative side of guns in America — gross and grotesque, violent and vulgar — another painful reality which some of its citizens prefer not to see. As the narrative voice behind The Downward Spiral album Trent Reznor is forever torn between running away and confronting the issue head-on.
IN REMEMBRANCE OF DAVID BOWIE ON HIS BIRTHDAY – 8/1/1947 – 10/1/2016 – an examination of NIN, Trent Reznor, The Downward Spiral and 1. Outside