Entertainment Weekly Gives The Fragile An "A-"
"The Fragile" enters a world of lousy teeny-poppers and hip hoppers who live
and die by the single, and one has to wonder if a 2 cd art-rock epic can
command the attention of a mass audience... It certainly deserves to. The
Fragile is a visceral concept piece that revolves loosely around betrayal and its
aftermath. Emotionally, it's familiar territory, but while current acts turn such
emotions into bathroom graffiti Reznor aspires art. Reznor pits acoustic gutiar,
piano, and unhinged voice against cybernetic drum corps and howling armadas
of electric noise. The man vs. machine standoffs are breathe taking, most bear
the imprint of co-producer Alan Moulder. The Fragile looks to older role
models like King Crimson and David Bowie. Like art rockers before him,
Reznor also nods to the 20th century classical music, mixing piano melodies a'
la John Cage with thematic flavor from Claude Debussy "Le Mer". The
storyline itself echoes mythology and Joseph Campbell's "The Hero With A
thousand Faces". You almost expect cliff notes. These concepts are balanced
with Reznor's brutish love of rock thunder and his secret weapon a popsmith's
feel for hooks and melodies. The only shortcoming is NIN's raison d'etre. By
the 2nd CD the suicidal impulses and pleadings can feel exhausting. Right now
hard rock doesn't get any smarter, harder, or more ambitious than this.
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is provided courtesy Keith Duemling and Tracy Thompson from the collection previously
located at SUS.