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The Downward Spiral

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Editors’ Notes

Nine Inch Nails' second studio album brought the aggression of industrial music and the fragility of ambient to the world of pop. Trent Reznor's vocals are menacing on the ferocious “March of the Pigs” and unflinchingly immediate on the techno-gothy “Closer" and the aching “Hurt." But equally vivid is his approach to electronic production; the tracks here seem to glimmer like steel and crumble like dirt. It all makes for a powerful listen from start to finish.

Customer Reviews

nine inch nails best

The Downward Spiral is music at it's finest. Trent Reznor fill the record with so many layers, you will find yourself hearing things new every-time you give it a spin. The album tells a great story of a troubled soul and how he finally deals with life. It would be hard to break this album down song by song since it is enjoyed much better as a whole. If you area fan of industrial or rock in general give it a chance you won't be disappointed. 


This album is a work of art! Every song, every lyric, everything on this album is great! Trent Reznor is a musical genius that, even after being in the business for 16 years, hasn't lost his touch. What's great about this is, this album has to be listend to as a whole, song by song. If you skip even one song, you feel like you're missing out on something. And, as every other reviewer before me has noted, the album is full of layers. One listen, a song could seem like it has a certain meaning, the next listen, it has an entirely different meaning.

5-Stars for: Most Original Nine Inch Nails Album

The Downward Spiral is arguably Reznor's most original work. Accredited as the pinnacle album in his career, this album is so unique, so full of shear talent, so full of raw emotion - it is unfortunately too difficult and/or complicated for most people to tolerate listening to all the way through. The unfortunate result: Millions of people downloading the song “Closer” and nothing else. This album is not your ordinary rock album and (in my opinion) cannot be played without hearing the album in its entirety – it simply doesn’t work that way here. When I first purchased this album in a record store back in 1994, I knew I wasn't buying a typical rock album, but even with knowing this, it has taken me a long time (about a year and a half) to fully appreciate this album. (A year and a half is a long time considering that when you purchase a CD you want to listen to it all the time). Yet I held onto it, popped it into my cd player every once and a while and each time I did that I would hear something new: a new lyric, a new drum pattern, a new emotion – but more importantly, a greater understanding of the alum as a whole. At first listen, it was like I was hearing things that I shouldn't be listening to, scary things, but as I kept giving the album another chance, I began to realize that this album had much more depth and meaning to it then I had once thought. What can I say, Reznor is a genius. His talent as a singer/song writer/producer is undeniable. His intellects are undoubtedly why most people cannot understand him. Marilyn Manson is quoted in his 1998 autobiography “Long Hard Road out of Hell” that The Downward Spiral is a story of a Trent’s decent into an inner, solipsistic world of self-torment and wretchedness. The album is far too depressing to listen to daily, but then again, you wouldn't read a book over and over again, would you? Perhaps you would if you really liked it, but each time you do, you learn to appreciate it more and more, and you are careful not to ruin the original feel of the story. To me, that is the right way to enjoy and understand this album. Download this entire album today and enjoy a timeless work of art for years to come.


Formed: 1989 in Cleveland, OH

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Nine Inch Nails were the most popular industrial group ever and were largely responsible for bringing the music to a mass audience. It isn't really accurate to call NIN a group; the only official member is singer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Trent Reznor, who always remained solely responsible for NIN's musical direction (he was, however, supported in concert by a regular backing band). Unlike the vast majority of industrial artists, Reznor wrote melodic, traditionally structured songs where lyrics...
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