“The Fragile” by Nine Inch Nails.

A lot of the things I do on here are going to be my opinions and reviews of bands or artists, albums, songs, etc. so with that said, here’s the first one…

The Fragile by Nine Inch Nails

     Let me start by saying that I am a huge Nine Inch Nails fan, so the next few paragraphs are going to be fairly biased.  Few albums flow so smoothly from start to finish like this one does, let alone double albums and most bands fail to come up with enough good songs to fill up a single album, never mind make it a double album and have it be this dense with quality music.  Song after song this album proves to be a cut above most previous, contemporary, and subsequent efforts from any band or artist in any genre, and it is also scarcely matched as a collective piece of music.  There are only a dozen or so bands that put this kind of effort into what they do, which only makes a diamond in the rough such as this one that much more precious and enjoyable.

     The Left side is relentless.  It immediately punches you in the mouth with “Somewhat Damaged”; from that point on you are unable to recover and are at its full mercy.  “The Day The World Went Away”, “The Frail”, “The Wretched”, “We’re In This Together”, and “The Fragile” are melded together so well that I liken it to a symphony with each song being a movement, and it is nearly impossible to listen to any one of those songs out of the context of the others.  Next is one of my favorite instrumental songs that I can think of.  “Just Like You Imagined” is so dynamic that I wonder if I’ll ever really hear the entire thing, and it sort of turns the first corner in the album for me.  It is all out to sea from here and it’s smooth sailing, with a little turbulence called “No, You Don’t” in the middle somewhere.  The best song on the album, and I very much think my favorite Nine Inch Nails song overall (depending on what day you ask me, I suppose) wraps up the first side.  “The Great Below” has it all.  Anger, sadness, longing, hope, disappointment, reassurance.  This is the kind of song that gives you the chills all over, and makes you so entirely content with your life as long as there is a guarantee that you will be able to hear it at least one more time.

     The Right side is more methodical.  It eases into itself with “The Way Out Is Through”; a standout track that builds to a climax.  Next “Into the Void” uses the same arrangement that “La Mer” has on the Left side, which really continues to tie the album together as one whole piece of music rather than a collection of songs.  Things such as this are what really make albums great to me; the fact that the artist took the time to correlate the musical ideas they were feeling at the time into a big picture.  “The Mark Has Been Made” is another genius instrumental track that rocks you to sleep and then shakes the shit out of you.  Down the stretch run it continues to feel like one continuous piece of music, but in a completely different way than the previous side.  The instrumental parts on the Right side are much more articulate and gently imposing, whereas the Left side has the same attributes in the sense of the instrumentals augmenting the other songs, but it’s far more aggressive and angry.

    This album really is something special, and if you can have the patience to let it play from start to finish I think you will find it very rewarding.  The best quality it holds is its ability to grab a hold of you at different points depending on what your current state of mind is.  It has something for every mood, and in all honesty the music carries its very own mood within it.  Now, with all of that being said, after all of the gushing and praise I just laid upon this piece of art, I would like to say that this isn’t my favorite Nine Inch Nails album, and I don’t think it is the best one either.  You know which one I’m talking about, maybe I’ll try to quantify that masterpiece, Mr. Reznor’s magnum opus, somewhere further up the road.  Thoughts and comments are very welcome, I would love to hear the opinion of others regarding this topic and discuss further.

– MCG

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