More than a decade ago, Trent Reznor made an album called Year Zero that spun Bush-era anxiety into a dystopian industrial-rock opera. He’s taking no such theatrical measures during Donald Trump’s bigger, badder sequel to George W.’s miserable America. Speaking to the New York Times as part of the promo for the upcoming Nine Inch Nails album Bad Witch, Reznor spoke largely about his role in the politics of now and how he feels others can do better, namely Taylor Swift.
“You don’t hear a lot from the Taylor Swifts of the world,” Reznor tells the NYT, “because they are concerned about their brand, their demographic and their success and career and whatnot.” If you’d recall, Swift came under fire last year for rolling out her monstrously successful album Reputation without addressing Trump’s election or any politics at all, despite being adopted by some Neo-Nazi and far-right groups as an icon. Many felt she did not take advantage of her privileged position for fear of losing a chunk of her audience, and Reznor argues that’s probably the case.
As for himself, Reznor feels that he, like other musicians, has a responsibility to bring up politics and make a hard stance, citing an interview he did in the mid-90s where an interviewer brought up that he has influence. “It’s my job to call out whatever needs to be called out,” he says to the NYT, “because there are people who feel the same way but need someone to articulate it.” He’s “concerned and infuriated” by Trump’s actions, which he says has nothing to do with “the conservative agenda” and more to do with him feeling that “a country that celebrates stupidity is really taking it up a notch” thanks to a “disregard for decency and truth and civility” in the wake of the 2016 election.
There is also some lighter material in the interview about a copy of Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits that Reznor received as part of a record club (“There was a time when I had “Copacabana” stuck in my head for a full year. I was legitimately concerned about it.”), so you can read that and the rest of the interview here.
Phil is on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Noisey CA.