Reznor's Edge : The man who is Nine Inch Nails makes a Fragile return to himself.
By Tom Lanham
"Nothing is more odios," posited Chopin back in 1910, "than music without hidden
meaning." Celebrated composer Schopenhauer took it one step further, swearing that music was
"the occult metaphysical exercise of a soul not knowing that it philosophizes." But leave it to the
middle-path-seeking Confucius to hit the aesthetic nail on the head several centuries earlier, with
"Virtue is the strong stem of man's nature, and music is the blossoming of virtue" and its cutting
corollary: "If a man lacks the virtues proper to humanity, what has he to do with music?"
No artist these days feels that final irony more acutely than goth-industrial demigod Trent Reznor.
Like Jackson Pollock splatting violent spurts of color across his cabin canvas, the mouse-quiet
mastermind of both Nine Inch Nails and its label/studio Nothing has turned claustrophobic anguish and
self-recriminating torment into a cool-for-cats cottage industry. His last epic, the Dantean descent into
a carnal inferno, The Downward Spiral, went platinum five times over. But just how virtuous was its
composer? Just how good a man?
And taking the Confucian tack if Reznor wasn't such a great guy, what the hell was he doing
trying to blossom on such a stem of lance-sharp thorns? He openly confesses the minute you sit
down with him that he recently despised himself for "turning into someboyd I didn't think I'd let
myself turn into I was truly a mess." Absolute power, he found out, corrupts absolutely. Would
Reznor end up like Pollock, a broken man, bereft of vision, just another abstract expressionist statistic,
dead before his time?
"Right here was where it happened," murmurs Trent Reznor, swivelling in his private-office
captain's chair in the New Orleans-headquartered Nothing Studios. "In this very chair," he adds,
thumping the armrests with his palms. His doors are closed. One portal leads deep into the high-tech
bowels of the place room after equipment-stacked room, even a little nook where his personal web
page is run/updated. Outside the other door? Pandemonium, as countless Nothing cohorts/employees
man faxes, phones, whatever they can get their busy hands on, all to usher in the first NIN product in
five years, the two-disc, 23-track magnum opus The Fragile. A four-in-one surveillance monitor a
Dymo label mounted on its surface reads "Fuck the world" eyes all entrances to the huge property,
once a velvet-draped funeral parlor. Dogs wander to and fro; Reznor loves animals, so Nothing is
animal-friendly. A coffee-table-wide labrador named Ethyl wangles the most attention; Reznor's
beloved Weirmaraner Daisy May isn't around this particular morning ("She's sleeping in," her master
But, sequestered in this office a few weeks ago, surrounded by grim Joel Peter Witkin photographs
and even grimmer Gerald Scarfe artwork from the film adaptation of Pink Floyd's The Wall, it finally
occurred. Hearing his own completed Fragile masters played back for the first time, in an order
scheduled by none other than the original Wall producer Bob Ezrin, the black-garbed, sinister
mystiqued Reznor broke down and cried. Bawled like a wee lost lamb in the woods. A fitting image.
He'd been lost for five long years. And it was only through The Fragile that he at managed to find
It wasn't such an embarrasing thing, letting the tears stream down, confesses the 34 year old, still a bit
awed by the actual moment. Towards the tail-end of an excruciatingly long recording process, Reznor
and co-producer Alan Moulder sensing they'd lost all objectivity on over 40 disparate numbers put
in a last-minute call to their idol, Ezrin. Would he be interested in flying down to N'awlins for a
week-long project? "I've got a bunch of music to lay on ya," Reznor warned him. "And I'd like your
interpretation of what's there." Dutifully, the legendary Ezrin (who'd been in ten-year retirement until
recent projects by Kula Shaker and Catherin Waeel lured him back to the mixing desk) disappeared
into Nothing's recesses and emerged three days later having compiled, Reznor recollects, "pages and
pages of notes. And he was like, 'Let me explain to you what record you just made.' And it was just
like a professor grading a paper, and it wasn't all just ass-kissing. He was like, 'Here are some weak
spots, here are what I think the strengths are, here's my vote for what shouldn't be on the record, and
here's my running order.'
"And I thought, 'Alright!' So I put it on and listened to it, and it was... it was..." Reznor pauses for
wickedly dramatic effect, "Terrible! Halfway through the first side I was daydreaming, I was looking
out the window." As he says this, an octegenarian Louisana local drifts past said window. Reznor's
concentration is broken for a minute as he studies the interloper, like a mongoose might study a cobra
from its den. Decked out in fine Western duds and tugging thoughtfully on his handlebar moustache,
the passerby glances at his reflection in the onyx-shiny glass specially tinted windows allow Reznor
to see you, while you'll never catch even a fainting glimpse of him in reciprocation. Voyeurism, you
might say, taken to a NIN extreme. "Man! Sometimes you see the strangest things pass by here..."
Two minutes later, an entire Girl Scout troop giggles past, heading in the opposite direction. A minute
after that: the old Cajun again, trotting hurriedly after the Girl Scouts. Best not to think too hard on that
Besides, Reznor's already doing enough thinking for ten ponderous guests. Imagine how difficult it was
for him, he continues, to inform the mighty Ezrin that he'd failed, that his track listing just didn't add up.
Then the performer began to doubt himself. Had he completely lost a handle on his enormous
dawn-'til-dusk labor produced merely a gelatinous mass of unmarketable mood music? Would the
album promised for so long it had almost become an industry in-joke ever truly be completed?
Ezrin took the criticism in stride, merely smiled and submerged into the studio depths again and got
busy burning more CDs. "And it got to the very last day Rob was supposed to be here," Reznor sighs.
"I came in that morning, and there were some new CDs sitting in front of me. I was kinda numb that
day I wasn't particularly in a bad mood, but I sure wasn't in a good mood. And I wasn't very
optimistic about what I Was gonna hear.
"So I sat down right here and I put it on. I didn't have a list of the songs, so I didn't know what was
coming. And halfway through the first CD was when it hit me, when I started crying. And I was
thinking, 'If it ends now, it'd be perfect.' Then I immediately put the second CD on, thinking, 'Well, this
can't be good because all my favorite songs are on the first CD. I, uhhhh, think... what else could be
left?' But it finished and I was stunned like, 'Fuckin-A! Alright!' I couldn't believe it! I had
goosebumps!" Reznor looks down at his forearm, grins like a goofy kid. "Look! I've got goosebumps
now, just thinking about it! I mean, that's pretty ridiculous, right?"
Poker-faced, Reznor called his Svengali into the office, had him sit down on its huge leather couch. "I
looked at him and said, 'You did it.' And he looked back att me and said, 'I know.' I'll remember that
moment always, just a classic little exchange 'I know.' So I said, 'Well, why did you fucking wait 'til
the last day then, smartass?' And we did a quick hug. It was... it was good."
INTERLUDE No. ONE: DISC LEFT
You've got to hand it to Reznor. He starts with a quick sonic jab to the jaw, via the waddle-riffed
buildup of "Somewhat Damaged" and its visceral wordplay: "Broken bruised forgotten sore... Poisoned
too my rotten core/Too fucked up to care anymore." A 21-gun salute couldn't have announced his
intentions any better. The tired segues into a dissonant/quiet alternator, "The Day The World Went
Away," then tiptoes into the piano-based introspection of "The Frail" (the first of many instrumentals).
An anvil chorus and haunted vocal shrieks soon shatter the mood ("The Wretched," with its
memorable couplet, "Stuck in this hole with the shit and the piss/ And it's hard to believe it could come
down to this"); it's proceeded by the scratchy, disembodied experiment of "We're In This Together" (in
which Reznor cedes to a lover, "I've become impossible," then discovers that she might not be with
him for the long haul) and the chain-clanker of a title track ("I won't let you fall apart," he howls
throughout the chorus, sounding like far too little too late). Instrumental two, "Just Like You Imagined,"
feels like Dvorak on lithium bridling with intensity, piano struggling against the mix but pales beside
the next numbers, the screaming cry for help "Even Deeper" and the downright scary processional
"Pilgrimage." (Dead souls marching toward the river Styx? Could well be.) A typical NIN slugger,
"No, You Don't," bleeds into the gorgeous, thoughtful "La Mer." The set closes with the soft atonal
pluckings and still softer reflections of "The Great Below": "Ocean pulls me close/ And whispers in my
ear/ The destiny I've chose/ All becoming clear." As clear as an unmuddy lake, to quote A Clockwork
There was a time, not so long ago, when a hug from Trent Reznor had become the metaphorical
equivalent of a rub-crushing python squeeze. The man, like many a rock cipher before him, trusted no
one outside of a small circle of friends and bandmembers, the belief apparently being that if you
dared to embrace him you most likely had a dagger concealed somewhere up your sleeve. The
scary part? A good deal of the time, given the fickle nature of show business, his suspicions were
probably correct. Richard Patrick the guitarist who left NIN in 1994 to form his own platinum Filter
outfit remembers seeing Reznor morph from within as the nascent band rode the first Lollapalooza
festival to fame via its Pretty Hate Machine debut on TVT. "I loved Trent, but Trent didn't love
himself he was just mean." Initially, when they met in Ohio, Patrick adds, "Me and Trent were punk
rock before punk hit Cleveland. We used to just show up at bars and throw shit all over the place,
throw beer bottles because we didn't care. There was no method to our insanity it was like, 'How
crazy could you be?' And you've gotta understand, musically we were trying to do things that were
different, but we were smart people, and we built up this animosity toward anyone who wasn't with
Pretty Hate Machine -- released in '89 and now triple-platinum wasn't necessarily a big icewater
shock to the rock system. Ministry, Skinny Puppy and countless others had not only coined the
industrial term/technique, but had been aggressively assaulting audiences with it for several years. But
the Pennsylvania-bred Reznor wasn't just some lucky stiff who happened down the pike at exactly the
right moment. In early Hate singles "Head Like A Hole" and "Down In It," he brought a certain
commercial savvy to the formerly elitist music, an instinct that practically spelled stardom. Where
Skinny Puppy's "Dig It" staunchly retained its dirge-like quality, and Ministry's "Jesus Built My Hot
Rod" boldly went one manic riff over the line, the young NIN evinced a way with a
powerchord-inspired, synth-meets-metal-scraping-guitar hook. Confucius would've been proud.
Reznor had learned well and quickly -- from his not-so-long-in-the-tooth predecessors.
As a kid in tiny Mercer, Pennsylvania, Reznor says he and his pals used to sit around, desperately
trying to find something to keep them occupied, something to do that wasn't on the usual small-town
menu. He'd stare at the television, knowing full-well there was an exotic highball world on the other
side of the screen, but not having the faintest clue how to reach it. With minimum effort, he aced his
way through high school, moved to Ohio, then finally mustered the courage to go for NIN broke.
Mailing off a demo to TVT sealed his fate. Soon success hit, ensnaring him in legal complications he
had to wrangle his way out of the TVT contract; he had to combat piece-of-the-pie-hungry nutcakes,
like the tour-trailing filmmaker who made an hour-long video anthology of Reznor at his maniacal
worst, yelling at Patrick and other backstage unfortunates. Then he moved to the old Sharon
Tate/"Helter Skelter" murder house in Los Angeles to begin work on his creepiest concept yet the
Downward Spiral story of one unforgiven soul systematically destroying everything, everyone near
and dear around him. While the discs overwhelming mainstream popularity paved the path for later
soundtrack projects with directors David Lynch (Lost Highway) and Oliver Stone (the controversial
Natural Born Killers), as well as the opening of his own record company (formed with his manager,
John Malm, clients include Marilyn Manson, Meat Beat Manifesto, The The), it also created a
monster. A monster that, as Patrick hinted, was already breaking out of its shell post-Pretty Hate
"I've had a weird life because I thought I knew who I was up until the first record came out," says
Reznor. He's wearing army boots, army-fatigue trousers and a black T-shirt with the Nothing logo
stencilled, barely legible, across it, also in black. He's buff, almost beefy, and periodically does little
chair-lifts pushing himself up from the sturdy armrests, then sinking slowly back down into the
comfy cushion. The hair as always, jet black is short, but not as short as in several recently run
photographs. He's letting it grow into a parted-down-the-middle shag, and it somehow seems to fit,
somehow complements the new, more adult persona projected on The Fragile.
Reznor continues, "Then suddenly the magic door opened up 'Now everyone likes me! Wow!
Everyone wants to date me, everyone wants to be my friend. People wanna give me things, and it's a
party for me, every time we play!' It's a weird education, and you come out of it changed. You come
out of it... different. I saw things change in my own personality and I began to start believing the hype
"And the time comes when the tour bus stops, you get off, and now you're back to the shitty little
apartment you lived in and you think, 'Now I'm gonna be back to being the real me, not the one on the
tour bus in fancy clothes, but the 'me' who scrubbed toilets, the guy I left behind.' And you're not that
guy. You've become someone different, not the guy onstage necessarily, but you aren't who you
thought you were." This overtook Reznor during the Pretty Hate Machine juggernaut. "And the same
thing happened to me on the Downward Spiral tour, only to a much greater extent. Now it was
truckfuls of people, and busses and planes the success level went up another big notch. And then it
got into the dangerous realm. If you're a little band, a little underground band, it's more fun because
there aren't as many people watching you, not nearly as many people,' and Reznor hisses the words
through clenched teeth, "waiting to destroy you and tear you down and rip you apart. As soon as you
cross some threshhold into success, it's surprising how people start turning on you, and the same
magazines that couldn't wait to champion you are like, 'Oh, you're a little too big now,' and the can't
wait to tear you down. Watch MTV does it all the time. You couldn't turn it on without seeing Milli
Vanilli a few years ago, but then they couldn't wait to point at 'em and say, 'You're fake!'" And now,
one member of the duo is buried in his grave. "Yeah, and that's a fuckin' sad story," Reznor snaps.
"They were two dummies. They didn't know what the fuck they were doing."
Reznor is no dummy. He goes on with his cautionary tale, and it takes a little time. He wants to sketch
each unexpectedly fateful step with care, so you get the complete picture. The Spiral tour got ugly, he
begins, very ugly. Band members at each other's throats, everyone sick of playing the same songs
night after night that sort of thing. So he signed 'em all up for a prestigious set of opening slots for
David Bowie ("A totally pressure-free context"), then returned to New Orleans to produce (and
non-stop party with) his Florida protιgι, Marilyn Manson. The sessions ended their friendship (so
permanently that it inspired a bilious Fragile indictment, "Starfuckers, Inc."), and sent the singer off on
a Thoreau-ish quest for peace that led to a cliffside-cabin residency in Big Sur, California.
"At that point, I had the self-imposed and externally imposed pressures of 'Okay it's time to get
down to business and do your record.' But I really was in a spot where I wasn't sure who I was, I
didn't understand what I wanted to do."
Big Sur drove the poor fellow stir-crazy. "I knew what I didn't wanna do was sit in a room by myself
and think about things. But I was avoiding starting work on this record because I was so generally
unhappy that I couldn't..." Reznor falters for a second. "It didn't make sense to... nothing brought me
joy. After I got everything I ever wanted, I was fucking worse off than I was before. I was letting a
lot of shit go that I needed to fully address." His grandmother passed away, someone with whom he
was incredibly close. Initially, he felt nothing but numbness. Once the brunt of the loss sunk in, it
suddenly felt "like I was in a hole I couldn't get out of. It had a profound effect on me. But it also
served as a catalyst for me to really sit down and get my shit together."
In his earlier work, he adds, "I've always flitered around with depression there's a romantic side to it,
like I'll be bummed out on a rainy day and I'll put on a Cure album or This Mortal Coil. That's one
thing to flirt with it, but it's another thing when it's a lot blacker and deeper and darker, like 'I don't
even wanna get out of bed, and what could possibly make me feel better? I can't think of anything'.
I mean, dark cloud! Stuck over my head! Still, I really needed to hit bottom."
A therapist shed some comforting light on the situation: The patient hadn't scripted his own downward
emotional spiral. He actually suffered from a small degree of clinical depression. Relief turned into
motivation. Reznor stopped looking outward, began doing what he'd dreaded all along looking
inward. All his life, he'd despised organized religion; he began to comprehend the gulf-wide difference
between it and spirituality, began to waive pleasurable pursuits in favor of studying his own
decadence-ravaged soul. Hell, he'd moved to New Orleans looking for decadence. (And if even half
the Bacchanalian rumors circulating around Reznor are true, me most assuredly found it.) Now he'd
rather discuss how "my heart is rooted in emotion, and my soul is rooted in my innate knoledge of right
and wrong my truest core. This is the bottom, the foundation for me. And I haven't gotten my hole
life-creed thing down yet, but it's grown leaps and bounds from where it was a few years ago. Maybe
it's a maturity/age thing, I dunno. But I feel better about myself as a human being right now than I
INTERLUDE No. TWO: DISC RIGHT
All through the interview, Reznor repeatedly refers to his depression as a "hole," a grim mindset
from which he had to clamber to regain self-respect, some sense of normalcy. This record begins with
the climb. It opens, aptly enough, with the slow synth wash of "The Way Out Is Through," which
builds to a devilish crescendo and a defiant credo: "All I've undergone/ I will keep on." A
locust-humming, percussion-peppered "Into The Void" comes next (chorus: "Tried to save myself but
myself keeps slipping away"), followed by the twisted keyboard/slide guitar exercise "Where Is
Everybody?", the Frankenstein-lumbering instrumental "The Mark Has Been Made," and the ruthlessly
carnal "Please" (Wherein pleasure leads directly to pain). "Starfuckers, Inc." is classic NIN anger; its
bluesy "Complication" counterpart keeps the bitterness pumping. The Fragile at last sees some light at
the end of the tumescent tunnel on "I'm Looking Forward To Joining You, Finally" (a click-clacking
study in minimalism), the clattered, cluttered "The Big Come Down" ("There is a game I play/ Try to
make myself okay," Reznor yowls, acknowledging that it is, indeed, a game of some sort), and the
acrid "Underneath It All" (in which our hero surveys what seems to be the wreckage of a shattered
relationship, possibly his own superstar self, and opts to move on with the memory intact). The coda,
"Ripe (With Decay)," gently ushers the listener out on a trickle of acoustic chords/notes, as if to shake
the cold, steely impulses of reclusive stardom with the warm embrace of humanity. Would Reznor like
to buy the world a Coke? Teach it to sing in perfect harmony? Probably not. But at least he's willing to
smile politely and shake its hand.
Bowie recently likened Reznor to the twisted Austrian conceptualist Hermann Nitsch, who
dredges up inner demons via artwork often comprised of real gore and blood. "I don't think Trent has
been doing it quite so consciously, with such an artistic premise in mind," pondered the Thin White
Duke, a decadent from way back. "But he's definitely kind of in that place, where he feels like you just
have to get right into the miasma of your being and haul out of this gunge. I think it's a really dark
place to be I've touched upon it myself in the '70s and it's not a pleasant experience. But I just hope
he gets through that I think he's one of the most talented writers of his generation, in this country,
and I would expect to still see him around in ten, 20 years' time. I just hope he gets through all this so
he can be here with us for that long he is truly a talented kid."
Reznor is quick to return with the compliment. "What impressed me about Bowie, when we were on
tour together, was seeing somebody who's gone through it all and arrived at from what I could
gather a really good place. Watching Bowie kinda told me, 'It's gonna be okay. Just keep your shit
Bowie hadn't heard The Fragile yet, and he couldn't wait to discover how Reznor was coping,
surviving. And truth be told Reznor coped and survived, understood and overcame, simply by
making music. Few contemporary artists could endure such a rigorous catharsis. Nor would most
subject themselves to it. But Reznor is a different breed; a composer who's actually fallen in love with
composing, all over again. It was something he'd lost in the rolling wake of fame, he believes, in
retrospect. Of the first instrumental he penned for this project, the gorgeous keyboard passage "La
Mer," he explains, "I remember sitting down and playing the piano and thinking, 'How did I ever forget
that this is what brought me joy? How the fuck did that get lost in the mess? How did I let that
happen?' It's not doing interviews, it's not fucking live shows, not backstage passes and bank
accounts all that shit doesn't matter. I did this because I love music."
And so The Fragile -- after numerous false starts was finally on track and chugging. Sure, Reznor
had mnaged to right his capsized Exxon tanker of a personality. But his problems were only beginning.
Like a proud parent, Reznor wants to walk you through his studio, show you every hidden chamber
where The Fragile coalesced. "Can you imagine?" he shudders, pointing to one windowless
cubbyhole. "just sitting in here, day after day, playing the same guitar part? Trying to get it down
perfect?" Like the Beatles' recently resurfaced Yellow Submarine, Nothing is a surreal,
self-contained ecosystem why deal with the Blue Meanies outside when you can stay creatively
aloof, intellectually warm and safe inside? Reznor was more than happy to snip the umbilical to the
outside world. Occasionally, he says, he dropped by Tower Records for a new CD or two; turned on
MTV here and there; maybe watched a litle CNN. Mostly, however as in some flickering series of
time-lapse photographs history, names, places and events in the news, even a few music trends
passed right by him, undetected. And when he and Moulder were nearing completion, they considered
the full gravity of their achievement and decided that this music did not resemble anything being
produced today. A good or bad thing? They had no idea. Only when Ezrin gave corporeal form to the
creature did Reznor buckle beneath the sheer majestic magnitude of it all.
"Alan and I both thought, 'We're not being objective about this at all,'" recalls the Number One Nail.
"Like, 'La Mer' was one of our favorites, and it was gonna be the first song on disc one. The nit was
'Nah, let's make it the first song on disc two.' Then 'Nah, lets make it the first single!' 'No, wait! Let's
call the album La Mer!' And you approach a song like that with reverence you cherish it so much,
you're not being objective about where it should go."
Other musicians watch the studio clock, counting off the costly hours in two- and three-week sessions.
Reznor knew no such contsraints he owns the damn place and only lives a few blocks away. Or, as
he puts it, "The routine became, work as long and as late as you can, go home, sleep, come back as
soon as you wake up, and keep going, going, going." The instrumentals appeared first; Reznor wasn't
comfortable writing any new lyrics at the time. He was too unsure of himself, too worried where that
depression might lead him. But the music finally flowed, he sighs, "almost on a subconscious level,
likke I was channeling it. It got to where I thought, 'I dunno if I'm even writing this, 'cause I can't
imagine how I could come up with that.' And we would try things that I would've taken short cuts to
arrive at in the past.
"Like, instead of a background noise off a movie which is what Downward Spiral was all about
We'd go find the original place and mic it. Instead of sample a cello, it was like, 'Let's borrow one
from down the street and see what happens if you put the wrong strings on it. Whoa! Check this
sound out!' We had space and time to try that kinda stuff. And sure, there's a danger of crawling up
your own ass and wasting time doing stuff that doesn't matter ,because you're feeling like it's free.
And, I admit, we did do some of that getting off on weird tangents. Almost everything on there is
guitar, but it doesn't sound like it. I even forgot things I'd hear something and go 'How'd we do
that? Oh yeah! That was two strings playing the same note, and us putting a toaster next to it with
three mics, until it made a strange humming sound.' This was the first time I had resource real, true
resource -- to find great moments like that."
Trotting through his compound, Reznor is greeted by various hard-working folk. "How's the throat,
Trent?" asks an engineer, looking up from his board. "Better, thanks I think we'll nail it today," the
boss responds. He was coming down with a something, possibly a cold, and yesterday's vocal takes
were shot to hell. Out into the foyer and up the purple-carpeted stairs is the NIN game room, packed
with original arcade editions of Scramble, Sinistar, Tempest, Donkey Kong, you name it. Even a
vintage Kiss pinball machine. Reznor's personal chauffeur waiting for his next assignment is busy
blasting away at a classic Robotron machine. Robotron is the popular one, with the entire Nothing
staff perpetually trying to one-up each others' scores. Downstairs: the new Sega Dreamcast system
beckons, already loaded with the ghoul-shooting House Of The Dead 2 -- one of the bloodiest, and
most addictive games ever created.
A fax comes in. Surprise. It's yet another glowing review of The Fragile, this one from some
glossy tech mag. And surprise again! The Fragile just debuted at Number One on the Billboard
charts, scanning nearly a quarter of a million units. Reznor reads these reports avidly, pores over them
like one would a profit-margin pie chart. The pain hasn't morphed into fun. The pain is now big
business. Ask Reznor what his worst moments have been, the times he thought the pain couldn't get
any worse, and he graciously demurs, defers.
"Oh, there were a couple like that," he grins, cryptically, then reiterates that he "really needed to hit
bottom. And now, in retrospect, it was my personality that was seeing the worst in all situations. It
wasn't like the whole world was out to get me, but it sure seemed like it. But the record's complete, it's
the end of an era, and now I've been forced to talk about it. So I'm filling in the blanks with what may
be not quite accurate information, but it's the information as I remember it. But it all seems to make
more sense to me now than it did when I was in it. And it really, really seems like... like...." Reznor
scratches his ebon coiffed noggin, stymied. "Shit! I lost my train of thought!"
A gaffe like that is understandable, this late in the Fragile game. Outside, on the front porch, a Fed Ex
delivery man is urgently ringing the buzzer; he's got two huge boxes of the vinyl edition of the new
Nine Inch Nails three discs long and featuring two bonus tracks, "The New Flesh" and "10 Miles
High." Everyone in the office looks up at the monitor to see who it is. Everyone looks up to see that
same Dymo sticker, those same three words that have come to epitomize Nothing, Nails and Reznor
himself: "Fuck the World." Confucius couldn't have put it any plainer.
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