Judging By Song Titles, Nine Inch Nails Still On Downward Spiral
The Fragile to include such tracks as
'Somewhat Damaged,' 'The Wretched' and
'Ripe (With Decay).'
The upcoming Nine Inch Nails album, The Fragile, is rife with
the kind of enigmatic, morose titles on which the
industrial-rock band has built its career.
Among the songs slated for the 23-track album, due Sept. 21,
are "Somewhat Damaged," "The Wretched," "The Great
Below," "Into the Void" and "Ripe (With Decay)," according to
the band's official website.
Frontman Trent Reznor, in a written statement, described the
album, which clocks in at more than 100 minutes, as a
chronicle of "systems failing and things sort of falling apart."
"In keeping with the idea of making
everything sound a little broken," Reznor
continued, "I chose stringed instruments
because they're imperfect by nature.
Although it may not sound like it, most of
the album is actually guitar — and that
includes the orchestral sounds and weird
Reznor said he is not adept at playing
such instruments as ukulele or slide
guitar, but "we were able to get some
really interesting sounds [out of them] by
making the studio the main instrument."
Among the other stringed instruments on
the album are violin, cello and upright
On previous records, NIN's sound was
marked by heavy blasts of distorted guitar, programmed drums
and keyboards. Reznor experimented with stringed
instruments on the 1997 single "The Perfect Drug" from the
"Lost Highway" soundtrack. That song featured what sounded
like frantically plucked violin strings over a skittering jungle
The set, which will comprise two CDs or three vinyl records,
was produced by Reznor and engineer/mixer Alan Moulder at
Reznor's New Orleans studio over the past two years.
"I wanted to try new things, fully utilizing the studio while
putting more effort into melody and structure," Reznor said.
"Instead of trying to analyze what I was creating, I just let it
flow to see where it went. It was all about not being afraid and
it felt very liberating."
The album features the work of NIN keyboardist/drummer
Charlie Clouser and guitarist Danny Lohner as well as former
King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew (who also lent a hand on
NIN's most recent album of new material, 1994's The
Downward Spiral), Helmet guitarist Page Hamilton, Ministry
drummer Bill Rieflin, former Chic/Powerstation drummer Tony
Thompson and keyboardist Mike Garson, who has played with
the Smashing Pumpkins and David Bowie.
The Fragile will be NIN's third studio album. In addition to their
1989 debut, Pretty Hate Machine, which featured the
alternative hit "Head Like a Hole" (RealAudio excerpt) and
The Downward Spiral, NIN have released a number of remix
projects, including 1992's Broken and Fixed EPs and 1995's
Further Down the Spiral.
The tracks range in length from the one minute and 54
seconds of "The Frail" to the single "We're in This Together," a
seven-minute-plus cathartic pop song with somewhat hopeful
lyrics over a plodding hip-hop beat, walls of distorted guitars
and an eerie slasher-film cricket sound.
"We're in This Together," which premiered on rock radio
stations on Friday (Aug. 27), finds the normally dark band in a
surprisingly upbeat mood.
"We're in this together now/ None of them can stop us now/
We'll make it through somehow," Reznor sings in the chorus
as an army of fuzzed-out guitars rises behind him. It even
sounds like a love song as he sings, "As lost as I get I will find
you/ In the deepest part of the world I will find you."
"We're in This Together" is not the first song to be released
from The Fragile. In July, NIN released a three-track single
that included two versions of "The Day the World Went Away"
(RealAudio excerpt) and the cynical, edgy hard-rocker
"Starfuckers, Inc" (RealAudio excerpt).
The full track listing for The Fragile:
Disc one: "Somewhat Damaged," "The Day the World Went
Away," "The Frail," "The Wretched," "We're in This Together,"
"The Fragile," "Just Like You Imagined," "Even Deeper,"
"Pilgrimage," "No, You Don't," "La Mer" and "The Great
Disc two: "The Way Out is Through," "Into the Void," "Where
Is Everybody?," "The Mark Has Been Made," "Please,"
"Starfuckers, Inc.," "Complication," "I¥m Looking Forward to
Joining You, Finally," "The Big Come Down," "Underneath It
All" and "Ripe (With Decay)."
Senior Writer Gil Kaufman
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