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The Fragile

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Editors’ Notes

Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails was a "group" in the same chimeral way that Steely Dan was: mostly a marketing context for deeply personal musical visions. Indeed, this massive, double-disc 1999 follow-up to the breakthrough success of The Downward Spiral took nearly as long to cobble together as the average Steely Dan opus, and the years-long anticipation of its release saw it soar all-too-briefly to the top of the charts. Tracks like "The Day the World Went Away" and the standard-issue anti-record biz screed "Starf***ers Inc." show that Reznor had lost little of the hellfire in his belly, or the often innovative sonic wizardry with which he expressed it. But its harder, even bleaker ethos was clearly no Spiral clone either, though "Where Is Everybody" manages to distill some of the dance-floor grooves that had made NIN's breakthrough so resilient.

Customer Reviews

A Classic.

This is a "must have" for a NIN fan, whether the first album you bought was "With Teeth" or "Pretty Hate Machine." On the other hand, if you are a singles-oriented person (there is no shame in that), then this album probably isn't worth the money. Buy a few of the better singles and move on if that's your taste. However if you really appreciate Reznor's work or you would just really like to see what all the fuss is about, pick this album up. Its a concept album - not meant to just have a few good songs. The songs on this album have heartwrenching real lyrics, and a sound that you've probably never heard before. Every single song on this album has a meaning and a strong message to it, even the instrumentals. There is no doubt that this album was sweated and slaved over, tuned to perfection, and done over and over again until it was perfect (after all the time it took to put it out, you'd certainly hope it was the best it could be). Buy this album. That's it.

One of the Best F&*%ing Albums Ever Made (period)

Reznor's conceptual album number two. Two discs leave you with months of enjoyment. Lots of pretty moments surrounded by grinding beats, vocals and guitars. It will absorb you.

Writhing In Ecstasy

Without question, this amazing two disk wonder is the greatest electro-industrial album of all time. A backdown from his hyper-aggressive Downward Spiral, Trent Reznor unleashes a new demon in Fragile. A dejected soul backed to the wall, Reznor bemoans his unattainable love in a journey of searching, failing, and ultimately, decay. The album opens with the mangled image of a man in agony, the majority of Somewhat Damaged hobbling along in 3/4 meter and off-center rhythmic patterns. Reznor sings to the object of his affection in the album's eponymously named song, both cathartic yet crying for recognition. As time progresses, we see evidence of a transition in setting, crossing the ocean to meet his destiny, whereupon he laments "I will take my place in The Great Below". The album rounds out with horrifying reality of solitude, reaching its violent climax in Underneath It All. Without a doubt, this is presently my favorite record, and has been since I purchased it in 2004.


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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