Rolling Stone Album Guide

Originally published in Rolling Stone on July 28, 1997

Programming his electronics with a fair catchiness, Trent Reznor is Nine Inch Nails' one-man band -- and, as a lyricist, he's a late-'80s version of an adolescent angster. He sings (in a nice warble) essentially about forms of romantic agony; he's obsessed about heartbreak in, to use his phrase, "this world of piss." His petulant preoccupation with God is kinda interesting; his gift for melody suggests that he's at heart a popster; and once you get past his portentousness, his music (especially the lovely ballad "something i can never have") is appealing. For some reason, this album spawned a cult. Certainly Reznor is intense enough, in a narcissistic way, to qualify as promising -- "pretty hate machine," however, isn't quite earth-shaking. -- P.E

Transcribed by Keith Duemling

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