New NIN Song Set For Release; Radio Preps For Heavy Airplay

By Gil Kaufman for Sonicnet on July 1, 1999

The first release from the eagerly anticipated Nine Inch Nails double-album, The Fragile, titled "The Day the World Went Away," will hit stores July 20, and radio programmers are on high alert to send it out over the airwaves.

In keeping with the cryptic vibe surrounding the album's release, however, a spokesperson for Nine Inch Nails' Nothing Records who requested anonymity shied away from calling the song the album's first single.

"I'm not saying it is or it isn't," said the source, "I'm just saying it will be released July 20." The source would also not confirm when, or if, the song would be released for radio airplay.

"The Day the World Went Away" will be accompanied by a second version called "The Day the World Went Away - Quiet Version" and the B-side "Starfuckers Inc." The 12-inch vinyl version of the song will feature a remix from Porter Ricks, a duo comprising Thomas Koner and Andy Melwig who use heavy bass loops, repetitive keyboard patterns and dub effects.

"Whenever you have an artist [who] was such a force in a musical movement like NIN were in alternative rock, radio doesn't ignore that," Jim Kerr, alternative-radio editor for industry trade magazine Radio & Records, said. No matter what programmers think of "The Day the World Went Away," Kerr said, it will be added to radio stations' playlists across the country as soon as it's released.

There is also no official word on when the album, the band's first in five years, will be released, although it is expected to hit stores in September.

Pointing to the success of the recent radio hit "Scar Tissue" (RealAudio excerpt) by funk-poppers the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as an example of radio's embracing of career artists, Kerr said if NIN return with a song as strong as their career-launching 1989 hit "Head Like a Hole" (RealAudio excerpt), "you will see the world fall at their feet."

Several program directors at taste-maker rock stations said they expected their audiences to be primed for a new NIN track. "Oedipus" of WBCN-FM in Boston said although he had not yet heard the track, he predicted his audience would be "very enthusiastic" when, or as the case may be, if, his station began spinning it.

The official Nine Inch Nails website (www.nin.com) started offering a sneak peek at the album Monday, when a 36-box window appeared, leading to photos and musical snippets. While many of the multicolored boxes do not guide visitors to clues, a number of them link to abstract photos and to what appear to be lyrics written on sheets of notebook paper. There is also at least one musical track that sounds like an endlessly looped portion of a song being finger-picked on a ukulele.

A clip of new NIN music posted on the website two weeks ago includes a haunting keyboard loop, which is later joined by subtle clanging, while singer Trent Reznor whispers the words "All I've undergone, I will keep on." It is unclear if the music is from "The Day the World Went Away" or any song from the new album.

Los Angeles rock station KROQ-FM said anticipation is high for the new song. "Everyone's real excited about it," said a programming source who requested anonymity. "Especially since it's been shrouded in such secrecy."

Among the guests scheduled to appear on the new NIN record are former King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew (who also lent a hand on The Downward Spiral), Helmet guitarist Page Hamilton, Ministry drummer Bill Rieflin, former Chic/Power Station drummer Tony Thompson, keyboardist Mike Garson (currently on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins) and producer Steve Albini (Page & Plant, Nirvana), who has assisted in an undisclosed capacity.

The album will be NIN's third studio album of all-new material since the band's formation in 1988. As a vehicle for Reznor's dark vision of a twisted, often aggressive meld of hard and electronic rock in a pop structure, NIN have scored a number of radio hits over the past decade with songs such as "The Perfect Drug" and "Closer." Most of Reznor's songs are imbued with a sense of self-loathing and a decidedly bleak vision of the future.

Although it took a year for the NIN's 1989 debut, Pretty Hate Machine, to climb the charts, by the time Reznor assembled a band to back him on the first Lollapalooza tour in 1991, the group had built a sizable and loyal following.

Nine Inch Nails haven't released an album since the multiplatinum The Downward Spiral (1994).

Reznor has spent nearly two years in his New Orleans studio working on The Fragile, according to an interview with the reclusive singer in the current issue of Rolling Stone. He has remained relatively quiet about the project, except for a vague and mysterious advertising campaign and a few interviews.

In the article, Reznor was quoted as saying The Fragile is "one of those records that doesn't jump out of the speakers."

The album is slated to contain more than two dozen songs, including "The Day the World Went Away," its B-side and "The Wretched," the latter two of which are said to sound like typical Nine Inch Nails rockers, while others, such as "La Mer" ("The Sea") and "Into the Void," are described by Reznor as "detours," Rolling Stone reported.

In addition to the two studio albums, NIN have also released an EP, Broken (1992), and two remix collections: Fixed (1992) and Further Down the Spiral (1995).

Transcribed by Keith Duemling

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