The “title track” topic is quite fun. The title track is one of those songs that has always left a mark with me. I’m sure many of you out there, like myself, like to really delve into the “why” part of albums. As I mentioned before, these songs seem to have a certain vibe that brings the whole album together. Check out these songs by Nine Inch Nails and then go back and listen to the albums as a whole.
Back in 1999, Nine Inch Nails performed on the MTV Video Music Awards. It was pretty unexpected, especially since NIN never performed on TV. Quick Side Note, It wouldn’t happen again until 2013 when Trent and company performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Which actually is the first time the band has ever performed on a late night talk show. The performance of “The Fragile” on the VMA’s was something hauntingly beautiful, dark and one of the best VMA performances. Plus it featured my all time favorite line up Nine Inch Nails has ever had.
Nine Inch Nails- The Fragile on the 1999 MTV VMA’s:
It’s really interesting to think about all the B-sides a band has. A lot of the time the songs that didn’t make the album are actually really good but just didn’t fit in the scheme of things. The other day while in the car with my wife, the Nine Inch Nails song “Non- Entity” came on and it got me thinking about all the songs that Trent has written over the years that didn’t get put on albums or even released. So naturally I went on a binge of listening to all the B-sides, covers and unreleased tracks by Nine Inch Nails that I could. Here are a bunch of my favorites. (more…)
Somehow through all the trials and tribulations of life Trent Reznor was able to create amazing albums. Coming off a 5 year hiatus after the release of the highly influential and masterful album The Downward Spiral, Trent finally released The Fragile. While The Downward Spiral had heavily distorted instruments and dark industrial sounds. The Fragile relished in lush soundscapes electronic wizardry, ambient noise, heavy rock guitars, and vocal harmonies. The end result is uncompromising. The way Trent was able to capture the sheer torment and agony thorough his music and lyrics was beyond untouchable.
Each of the sides seems to represent something unique to the inner workings of Trent. The first disc (aka The Left), is easily the more accessible part of the album. Starting with “Somewhat Damaged” which communicates the state of mind/concept that this album is about. “The Day The World Went Away” really delivers. The ambience plays perfectly into the distorted guitars. The segue “The Frail” is a beautiful precursor to the wreckage that is “The Wretched” which is wonderfully angry. “We’re In This Together” is vulnerable and delicate while being able to still hold onto the rage inside of Trent. “The Fragile” is a love song of sorts or a plea to the one who is the apple of his eye. The instrumental “Just Like You Imagined” is a gem on it’s own. The vibe this song puts out is driving and near inspirational. “Even Deeper” gets more involved lyrically and exposes more of Trent. “Pilgrimage” is another segue that leads us deeper down the tunnel and away from the light. “No, You Don’t” picks up where “Pilgrimage” ended and explodes with heaviness. “La Mer” is a song that Trent said he wrote when he was in such a dark place. There is something about that song the way it blends perfectly into “The Great Below” which closes out the left side beautifully. This song also acts as the end of a chapter.
The right side (disc 2) starts with “The Way Out Is Through.” In a way this song is the further descent into a personal hell. “Into The Void” deals with more of the personal issues, with a heavier vibe. “Where Is Everybody?” has a really cool deconstructed electronic beat that creates a really nice tension throughout the song. “The Mark Has Been Made” is another instrumental/segue that takes us further down the rabbit hole. “Please” has more of an industrial edge to it. “Star Fuckers Inc.” is just a really nice “Fuck You” to all those that irritated and got under the skin of Trent. The guitar tracks on this song are full of heavy goodness. “Complication” takes a step towards the more industrial dance laced beats. It kind of foreshadows where his music is heading. “I’m Looking Forward To Joining You, Finally” is a solemn song, as it exposes his want to say goodbye permanently. “The Big Come Down” furthers his not light at the end concept. Musically this is a very unique song filled with melody. “Underneath It All” is a gritty song which keeps the deconstruction alive. Ending the album is “Ripe (With Decay)” this instrumental plays like the close of a life or chapter. There is something special about this song, in that all the quiet sounds and stark instrumentation really helps to sum up all the songs.
The Fragile to me is a marvelous album that can’t be touched. I’d dare even put it above The Downward Spiral. Both are so unique and perfect it’s hard to pick just one. I guess it all depends on ones mood. Trent Reznor is a musical genius. His ability to delve deep and create something so real is inspiring. It’s not easy to create 1 masterpiece. Trent was able to do it twice.
The first video/song is The Perfect Drug. Never released on a studio album it was however released on the soundtrack for the film Lost Highway and as a single. The video is one of the best Nine Inch Nails videos ever and the song is wonderful. Trent has never played the song live. There is something haunting and beautiful about the words and how Mark Romanek used them to create such a vivid intricate story in the video.
Into The Void is the second pick in the 2 for Tuesday. Directed by Walter Stern and Jeff Richter, the clip gets literally beneath the surface of Trent Reznor and shows how imperfect he is. The song itself tells the listener that no matter what he does to bring himself back up it all slips away. Into The Void was featured on the masterpiece The Fragile (I will write about this wonderful album soon).