Stand Out Albums has been a showcase for my favorite albums across the vast performers that I love. Covering a little bit of everything from classic rock to country hits, much like Key Movies of My Life, it has been the albums that shaped me.
After covering the works of The Posies and Guster I figured it was time for a tonal shift into my rather eclectic taste in music so I though, what could be more of a change than a band I have loved since the early 90’s, Nine Inch Nails. So, lets begin our journey discussing every full length studio album of a band who has continued to make amazing music with Pretty Hate Machine.
Why This Album?
This album and it’s preceding single ‘Down In It’ were my first experiences with Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. I vividly remember secretly listening to this album not long before the release of their first EP Broken (which we will discuss next week) . Instantly I fell in love with the intricate blend of electronic and traditional music coupled with Trent Reznor’s raw emotional vocals. There was something powerful behind his anger and despair that sold me before I even finished the opening track. I had already been introduced to Nirvana via their 1989 album Bleach and this just blew the doors of my new music experience even wider. After experiencing Pretty Hate Machine, there was certainly no going back and, even though I was afraid of what my parents would think of my burgeoning love for ‘my’ music, I defiantly listened to every track on my walkman (later discman) over and over until I knew each track by heart.
To this day, this album pulls me right back to the early 90’s when I was just discovering who and what I was to become. This album was one that helped usher me into a new world where I would realize that music could be made with more than just guitars and percussion, that music could actually be art and that was a revelation I would love to experience again for the first time. To me, hearing this album for the first time was not unlike seeing your first a masterwork painting or watching an epic film for the first time. It was an experience I will never have again, but one that I have touched on each and every time I have heard it since.
On side note, Around the same time I got hooked onto Pretty Hate Machine I had also started reading the works of Clive Barker. Some time later I realized a strange connection when I discovered a ‘thank you’ to Clive Barker in the liner notes of this very album. Listening to it again, I realized that some of the songs were inspired by Barkers works, most notibly the song Down In It. In the book, Weaveworld, the lead character ‘falls’ into a carpet after staring at a spot in the weave causing him to fly above this fantasy world. The song describes this moment in vivid detail making it a perfect companion to that very book.
Overall, this album is as good as it was the first time as it was the 100th time and I am sure it will continue to be for years to come. It is Trent Reznor at his earliest but there is already a sense of distrust and frustration in the world around him that would continue to echo through the rest of his works. This is where it all began and if you have never listened to Nine Inch Nails, there is really no better place to start.
Of course, Down In It….
Something I Can Never Have: This song feels very much like a desperate love song for someone who wishes for the love of another or the love of themselves. Something I Can Never Have is a deep and personal tune that you can hear the pain in Reznor’s voice as he spills his turmoil all over the soundwaves. It’s deep and powerful and an amazing song.
RingFinger: This is another deep and personal sounding song that discusses the permanence of marriage and how it is a commitment beyond that of just a ring and an idea. It’s another deep one with some great nuance.
Ok, Where do I get it?
No matter what, give it a go. It’s pretty great.
Next week we take a slight pit stop with the EP Broken from 1992. Till then…
Late to the Game 8/31/21
Thanks for reading, If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and also check out some retro tv goodness with the ongoing series Retro TV Reviews here. You can also find a few of my other Music Reviews Here.
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