The Fragile Review
It would be hard to overestimate the influence of 1994's "The Downward
Spiral," an epochal creation, culturally and commercially.
Yet for all the nihilistic digi-rock spawn of Trent
Reznor's Nine Inch Nails since, none has found the measure of that album's
mix of rumination and aggression. At this point,
expectations are impossibly high for the long-gestating follow-up. But with
Fragile," Reznor hasn't met the challenge so much as
exploded it with a grandly ambitious 23-song, two-disc set-one that manages
echo David Bowie's "Station To Station," classic Pink
Floyd, and My Bloody Valentine within a very personal aural universe. There
are cracks in the code here: The acutely stated angst
of Reznor's lyrical voice has little of the manifold abstraction of his
music, and a
pile-driving item like "Starfuckers Inc." seems like
filler compared with the sophistication of the title track or the symphonic
instrumentals "Just Like You Imagined" and "La Mer."
At root, Reznor is a sensualist, a conjurer; the ghost in his machines sings
siren song of dark, decadent beauty, proffering les
fleurs du mal in sound. Whether or not it replicates previous successes,
Fragile" represents forward motion, a new couplet in
Reznor's poetry of noise.
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is provided courtesy Keith Duemling and Tracy Thompson from the collection previously
located at SUS.