Nine Inch Nail continue 'downward spiral' with Fragile
By TODD CALLAIS
Scene Movie Critic
Trent Reznor, the front-runner and arguably only real member of the group Nine Inch Nails, is a very talented and disturbed individual.
He was trained in classical piano and learned a great deal of other musical instruments, besides picking up musical production training before releasing Pretty Hate Machine in 1989. The 1992 EP Broken and 1994's The Downward Spiral gave the band critical acclaim and a widespread audience.
Reznor is a genius who incorporates the styles of techno, industrial, blues, metal, classical and occasionally, rap into his music. Nine Inch Nails' new double album, Fragile, delves further into multi-genre experimentation.
Of the five Nine Inch Nails albums, Fragile is the worst. However, it's still a pretty good buy. One problem with double CDs is there is never a use for them. What would have been an amazing single CD with 11 or 12 cool songs turned out to be a decent double album with 11 great songs and 12 songs hovering between OK and bad.
Disc one, entitled "Left," is the better of the two. It starts the album off beautifully with the song "Somewhat Damaged," which is the epitome of Nine Inch Nails. The theme is quickly established that Fragile is about a man with serious problems — guessing by the lyrics the main problem is addiction — because the songs are about failure, unreached goals and preventing other people from falling apart.
The second song, "The Day the World Went Away," will be the band's first single off the album. It's average but nearly the best song on Fragile.
The album then switches gears and brings out highly entertaining instrumental transitions between songs that make it stand out as a greatly written and produced album.
The fourth song, "The Wretched," represents Reznor's rebellious side in production. "We're In This Together" is an incredible track with great guitar changes and a cool piano ending that demonstrates Reznor's diversity and skill. Track six is the title song, "Fragile," and a great choice for the album. The song is a bit slower but seems to set the theme for the album with lyrics like "I Won't Let You Fall Apart."
After a good start, the album heads downward. Of the 15 remaining songs, only five are memorable, the best being "No You Don't," which is possibly the best of the album.
The second CD, "Right," was probably unnecessary, but is not totally unworthy. Actually, it is great study music because it is primarily instrumental. Note: It's not bad. Quite the contrary. It just doesn't jump out and get you like previous Nine Inch Nails music. The album as a whole, however, is very well written and deserves play in any stereo.
Fragile is not Nine Inch Nails' best work, but it is good nonetheless. Give it a try, because it deserves some attention.
Three and 1/2 shamrocks out of five
All Scene Stories for Tuesday, October 5, 1999