Nine Inch Nails
With shadowy beauty and searing intensity, Nine Inch Nails—the long-running project of multi-instrumentalist/producer/songwriter Trent Reznor—expanded the scope of mainstream music. Scrutinizing humanity, relationships, and society, Reznor shapes deeply internalized thoughts into accessible, exciting sound. 1989’s Pretty Hate Machine brought this introspective curiosity and synth-heavy industrial rock to a broad audience, while landmark releases The Downward Spiral and The Fragile stunned with coarse guitars and striking ferocity. Nine Inch Nails is continuously evolving—experimenting with new formats and ideas, including the turbulent 2007 concept album Year Zero, about a dystopian futuristic USA, and the textured minimalism of 2013’s Hesitation Marks. Unbounded by convention, Reznor has upended relationships with labels in order to safeguard his artistic freedom and forged creative alliances with outsider champions like David Bowie, Saul Williams, and David Lynch, while longtime collaborator Atticus Ross became the only other official member of Nine Inch Nails in 2016.