The Herald, Sharon,
PA Published Thursday, Oct. 7, 1999


Emotional fragility led Reznor to new sounds

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

Nine Inch Nails last released an album, "The Downward Spiral," in 1994. Since then, the band's lone permanent member, Trent Reznor, a Mercer native: Spin magazine, which listed "The Downward Spiral" the 11th greatest album of the '90s, questioned whether new albums by Nine Inch Nails, Stone Temple Pilots and former Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell will suffer from alternative rock's fall from grace on the charts.

In Nine Inch Nails' case, the doubt seemed to have been answered when the advance single "The Day The World Went Away" listed at number 17 on Billboard's pop single chart in late July. Nothing Records, the label Reznor co-founded, touted the fact that the song was not given to radio, nor was there a video, but sold 70,000 copies in its first week.

The album, "The Fragile," which includes 23 songs and more than 100 minutes of music, followed suit by debuting last week at the number one spot on Billboard's album sales chart.

Reznor is on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and Spin gave the album a nine on a scale of 10.

Reznor explained in a USA Today story that success left him emotionally, mentally and spiritually "at a place of utter unhappiness."

He tried to repair himself by making "The Fragile," he said.

"It attempts to put the pieces back together, but it's inherently flawed. In the end you don't arrive. You swallow your tail."

"'The Fragile' is his epic portrayal of the endless, aimless inner din," wrote Spin reviewer Ann Powers. "Because he's an artist, he feels compelled to make sense and beauty of it. Because he's a rock star when he calls himself Nine Inch Nails, he does so with hooks and drama, so that even a casual passerby will stop at his gaudy gate."Reznor explained in a press release that with "The Fragile," "I wanted to try new things, fully utilizing the studio while putting more effort into melody and structure. 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."

"While there's gloom-a-go-go, Reznor lets hope, albeit fading, seep into his self-lacerating tirades and seems more inclined toward enlightenment than suicide," wrote USA Today reviewer. Edna Gundersen. "Despite the music's emotional and structural frailties, 'The Fragile' has the creative sturdiness of a classic."

Nine Inch Nails opened its first official Web site earlier this year. It's at:

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