Rock rages on, despite pop's flops, posers

By Edna Gundersen for USA TODAY on January 1, 2000

1. Nine Inch Nails, The Fragile. This delightfully subversive but beautiful art-rock opus filters armies of guitars, riptides of bass and swarms of strings through Trent Reznor's ruthless computers and warped imagination, resulting in rich orchestrations poisoned by otherworldly racket and industrial-strength din tethered to sublime pop hooks. Even the gentlest piano interludes have an eerie menace and instability. The electronic pulse quickens, then turns erratic, as ambient beehives of noise engulf pristine melodies, huge choruses and disfigured violins, cellos and ukuleles. Part of The Fragile's unsettling charm lies in its constant threat of imminent doom.

Transcribed by Keith Duemling

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