Nine Inch Nails
"Came Back Haunted" (5:17)
Producers: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Alan Moulder
Writer: Trent Reznor
Publishing: Form and Texture Inc. (ASCAP)
Four years after announcing a hiatus, Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails have come back...smiling? There's certainly a level of angst-y lament implied in the lead track from the forthcoming "Hesitation Marks" album -- and the first NIN single since 2008 -- but the bottom line is that "Came Back Haunted" is really five and a half minutes of irresistible techno-funk. Layered synthesizers and subtle industrial effects percolate atop a bouncy rhythm pattern until jagged guitar riffs explode from the mid-song instrumental break, which in turn leads to a sinewy, tribal vocal outro chanting the title over and over until the song's abrupt conclusion. Acknowledging his absence, Reznor sings that "I said goodbye/But I had to try" -- presumably referencing his adventures in film scoring and How To Destroy Angels during the interim. He also informs the listener, "I am not who I used to be," but "Came Back Haunted" is unquestionably Nine Inch Nails, refreshed and ready to take no prisoners both in the club or the open festival field.