The Fragile

Originally published in Access Magazine on January 1, 2000

In the Dec 99/Jan 2k edition of Canada's Access Magazine (free), found in every HMV and Randy River stores across the country, "The Fragile" is rated #3 in the "10 Most Important Records of 1999" section. It was written:

"After five years of foreplay, Trent Reznor finally shot his creative load September 21st with the 2-cd epic, "The Fragile". Debuting at number one on Billboard, the album then plummeted to number 16, the biggest recorded drop from the perch in the magazine's history. Not that this is a reflection of the album's quality. A deep, dark and dense record, The Fragile contains enough turmoil, brooding and sonic intrigue to keep fans writhing in delicious torment until the next Reznor Opus. Look for Nine Inch Nails on tour in the new year".

Then later on in the magazine, in the section labeled "Ratings", where they rate records, Nine Inch Nails' The Fragile falls as #1 and is rated as a 9 out of 10, the best of all the records in the section. The description reads:

"A decade after Pretty Hate Machine rewrote the vocabulary in contemporary music with its amalgam of industrial beats, metallic guitars and aching vocals, and more than five years since The Downward Spiral made him a star, Trent Reznor offers us The Fragile, a breathtaking 23-song, 2-cd set which further refines his particularly despotic musical vision while revealing previously undetected traces of hope and reconciliation within his emotional palette. What Reznor has done- successfully, against much expectation-is to sidestep the musical clich�s his work has inspired (now being profitably exploited by the likes of Filter and Stabbing Westward) and to move forward without fear or compromise. Again written and recorded primarily by himself, Reznor's latest employs some notable players, including King Crimson guitarist Adrian Below ("The Great Below", "Where is Everybody?"), ex- David Bowie pianist Mike Garson ("Just Like You Imagined", "Ripe (With Decay)") and former Ministry drummer William Rieflin ("La Mer"). The dance floor stompers are still there ("No, You Don't", "Starfuckers, Inc.") but the really revelatory pieces are the quieter but no less ferocious songs like "The Great Below" and "The Frail". By turns frightening, exhilarating, heartbreaking and angry, The Fragile is an epic, dense work which never stints in its ambition."

Transcribed by Keith Duemling

View the NIN Hotline article index