Nine Inch Nails
our score: 4.0 out of 5.0
|The Untimely Demise
of Industrial Music
world was introduced to an individual that would have one of the
biggest influences on popular music. Trent Reznor, the mastermind
behind Nine Inch Nails, released Pretty Hate Machine. This
masterpiece of an album caused quite a stir in the music industry
with its innovative mix of techno beats, industrial sounds, and
1994: Nine Inch Nails
returned with their second full-length album, The Downward
Spiral. (Sure, there were some EPs and singles in between).
With this album Nine Inch Nails gained the majority of their pop
status. Who would have known that a song with a chorus including
"I want to fuck you like an animal" would have been
such a huge radio hit? The album was a step in a new direction
for Reznor, incorporating more industrial loops and an easily
notable increase in the use of rock guitar sound.
It was through these
two albums that the popular audience became aware of industrial
music. Sure, neither of these albums were purely "industrial,"
but they did fuel the industrial music industry as well as bring
over a great deal of listeners. Reznor was hailed by many as a
god of industrial music.
1999: Welcome "The
Day the World Went Away." Literally. NIN's immensely anticipated
third studio album, The Fragile, has finally been released.
Halo Fourteen seemed like it would never happen, after numerous
release push-backs and other delays, it seemed possible that the
world was being led on by publicists. However, even though the
album is now out, it is definitely a step in a new direction for
has been called an epic masterpiece, Trent Reznor's version of
The Wall, and a slew of other things. I am not going to
call it anything other than what it is.
has died as a popular genre due to this album. Little has been
said or done in the pop music scene that is industrial, and NIN
would have been the ones to revive it. With this album it is done.
Caput. See ya later! Reznor has moved on once again, and once
again he has proven that he is a musical genius.
This double disc
album is an album in every sense of the word. The songs flow from
one to the next, making this an album that should be listened
to in one sitting in order to appreciate it to the fullest extent.
The album's opener, "Somewhat Damaged" openly welcomes
previous fans into the album. It is one of the few tracks on the
album that most closely resembles previous NIN material (specifically
The Downward Spiral). The hard edged guitars are there.
The industrial loops kick the listener in the ass. The drum beats
hit hard and let go just enough to keep building the song until
it reaches climax. Reznor's lyrics are still those of a depressed
loner, deprived of all feelings... or so it seems. For in the
middle of the song he laments "fuck the rest and stab it
dead" and "too fucked up to care anymore." Yet,
at the end of the song we see he actually may care with "would
always say we'll make it through then my head fell apart / and
where were you?' The song ends with the straightforward question
"Where the fuck were you?" From this song we can tell
we are set for a somewhat different feel from Reznor. He is still
not a happy man, but maybe he is looking at things a little differently.
The rest of the album
follows suit lyrically, with lamentations on the downsides of
life accompanied by random cries for help contrasted with spiteful
refusals of assistance. This is the part of the album where Reznor
stays the most true to his roots. As previously stated, he is
still not a happy man.
The most noticeable
changes on the album are the musical ones. Many songs still sound
like The Downward Spiral, but a lot has changed as well.
Songs are much more melodic, such as "The Wretched,"
where the chorus matches the beat laid down by the drum track.
What is perhaps the most innovative additions to this album, as
compared to earlier works, is the incorporations of purely instrumental
tracks; which this album gives a generous helping of. Some critics
have complained about these, but they are quite possibly the most
intricate parts of the album. Instrumentals such as "la mer"
incorporate a simple piano melody which builds up to a powerful
climax that shows off the pure musical genius Reznor possesses...
and who could forget "Pilgrimage" - the chanting by
the buddha boys choir accompanied by the marching percussion make
this one of the most haunting tracks on the album.
Despite all the generous
comments I have given this album, it is not without its shortcomings.
Fans of earlier albums may be a little disappointed by the lighter,
more emotional side of Reznor portrayed on this album. Another
problem lies in the fact that the songs begin to sound the same
as the album goes on. This may be due in part to the flow between
songs, which is not in itself a bad thing (actually this is a
good thing). However, it doesn't change the fact that the
songs start to sound alike. The last complaint is the length.
It is an excellent double disc set, but it seems like the album
was made to be listened to straight through in order to get the
most out of it. This is simply not feasible for most people, there
is just too much material. None of it is glaringly bad or out
of place, but a few more cuts to make it a single disc, and NIN
would have released a contender for album of the year.
This is by far Reznor's
crowning achievement, as it should be for the amount of time and
care he put into making it. The Fragile is well worth the
wait since The Downward Spiral, the listener will be gratified
upon listening to this. The lyrics are still depressing, which,
as any NIN fan can tell you, is one of the best parts. And as
amazing as it may sound, Reznor's musical talent shown here towers
over his previous work.
liked The Fragile...
1. Somewhat Damaged
2. The Day The World Went Away
3. The Frail
4. The Wretched
5. We're In This Together
6. The Fragile
7. Just Like You Imagined
8. Even Deeper
10. No, You Don't
11. La Mer
12. The Great Below
1. The Way Out Is Through
2. Into The Void
3. Where Is Everybody?
4. The Mark Has Been Made
6. Starfuckers, Inc.
8. I'm Looking Forward To Joining You, Finally
9. The Big Come Down
10. Underneath It All
11. Ripe (With Decay)