If you are a fan of Nine Inch Nails or anything else even fairly industrial, you will love the rock band Daughters titular album, “Daughters.” The comparison to Nine Inch Nails is almost mandatory, but it not entirely accurate. If Nine Inch Nails is a musical proclamation of cynical atheism, then Daughters’ album “You Won’t Get What You Want” is a musical act of full-blown nihilism.
I was talking with a friend about the album earlier this week. I had played them a snippet of a song, and then I turned it off in favor of another song. I told them that this song makes my body feel the same way that it does when I am having a panic attack.
Now, if you are asking yourself why anyone would ever want to induce such intense feelings in themselves, then you will need further enticement to go and listen to this wonderful album. For those of you that are like my friend—those of you that are smiling at the idea of a piece of art providing such a visceral experience—I doubt you need any further explanation of what makes this album great. So go on and listen. For those of you in the first camp, allow me to make a case for “Daughters.”
I could provide a myriad of examples about how interesting this album sounds or something that sounds “objective” when it comes to music. But no such creation exists. I could talk about pretentious aspects of the album such as the production or the mastering, things about which I am sure that neither of us know. And, besides, any sort of objective discussion of this album would just be an attempt to avoid the elephant in the room—the elephant being just how stressful this album is. This album knows no calm. It is all storm. This album will stress you out, and it will knock you out of any calm state. This is a fact.
This album is always—always—tumbling, revving and thrashing. The percussion alone on the record is intense with its unceasing, unrestrained beats. It’s like the sound your heart makes when you are doing your cardio routine.
I could make this heartbeat comparison many more times. It’s always uncomfortable to really focus on just how noticeable your heartbeat really is, and this album will draw this fact out of its listener. The persistent beat to this album is so relentless that I can’t think of anything else but a panic attack when I listen to this album. This is also a fact.
I haven’t really done much to explain why you, dear reader, should find these facts convincing enough to listen to “Daughters.” So now I’ll switch to my own opinions about why I like this violent album.
Take, for instance, the song “Guest House.” The beat for this track is like some weird, mechanical whirlwind, which, paired with the unhinged vocals, is intense to say the least. This song exhibits perfectly that anxious and visceral feeling I’ve been trying to describe. The terrible drumbeat mixed with the vocalist’s guttural yell of “LET ME IN!” is just insane.
It’s stuff like this that illuminates what music can do. I’m sure we all have our own personal connections to the music to which we listen to daily, but to listen to something so far out there that it makes you uncomfortable? That is an experience that will guarantee you a new outlook as to how music can affect you.
And this music will affect you. I do not know who is yelling “LET ME IN!” on the track “Guest House,” but the whirling instruments assure me that it’s no one good. Even more so, the way my body feels when this song is on makes me want to run away. Moving my body to this song is not a form of expression—it’s not even a requirement. Instead, it’s closer to hypnosis. This song will pull these feelings from your body and move your body in ways that you won’t even be aware of. This is not my opinion, this is a fact.
And in my opinion, this feeling is magical. There is nothing else out there like music, and there is no better music out there than the kind that makes you move unwillingly. You can be a dead-set nihilist, believing in nothing more than the idea of your own existence, but you will be shaken powerfully by the fact hidden beneath this song. When listening to this album, you only know for a fact that something else exists outside of yourself in this world, and that it is making you move because it gives you no other option.
In my opinion, this is magical. No other experience in life can give you this feeling other than love itself. That might sound like hyperbole, but I implore you to go back to “Guest House” and listen to that song again; listen to that track and note how it moves you as if you were possessed. There is nothing else in the world like this other than true passion. There is nothing else out there like the feelings that this song, and this album, provide: absolute terror and absolute vitality.