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.

Today we come to an album that almost never was and one we really thought we would never get as it took five years to finally be released.  The album…The Fragile, which ironically came out exactly 22 years ago today.

Why This Album?

After the release of The Downward Spiral, any ‘new’ Nails you could get came in the form of various singles, EPs, remixes and soundtrack submissions.  While there wasn’t really a lack of music coming from Trent Reznor, there was defiantly a lack of ‘new’ music.  After a few years, it felt like Nine Inch Nails had come and gone like so many other amazing bands before them but then it was announced a new album was coming, so of course, I placed my order at my local music store.  Not long before it’s release we learned that Trent would be playing the MTV music awards in preparation for his new album release and, to say I was excited, was an understatement. Somewhere I still have that show on VHS, commercials and all.

The week of the album release, my friend at the music store told me that the copies had arrived early and he had already listened to much of it.  Since I had already paid for my copy, he slipped me an early copy 24 hours before the official release and I took it home that night knowing that I was among the first to listen to this new masterpiece from Trent Reznor.  I was not dissapointed.

The Fragile is something special.  Much like NIN’s previous albums, there is yet another tonal shift but this time going from the angry tornado of frustration that was Broken and Downward Spiral, to a more introspective and personal tone.  From my research on this particular release, I learned that Trent came at The Fragile from a more internal place than before as he found himself dealing with death, drugs and everything in between. Everything about this album reflects this dark and frightening place he had found himself in giving it a tone and feel unlike much of anything that came before.  While this extreme change in style came as a bit of a shock to me initially, over time I began to really appreciate the subtleties in The Fragile finding moments in each track that speak so much more than lyrics could ever.  

Overall, The Fragile is a masterpiece.  It is something that many artists strive for and never achieve while also some artists way of walking away.   For Trent, this was really only the beginning of something even bigger.   

Favorite Tracks

The Day The World Went Away was the first track that really pulled me in.  It’s a more traditional song than much of the rest of the double album but it is such a powerful song in and of itself.  

We’re In This Together.  Of course I love this one, who doesnt.

Into The Void.  I love the opening to this one.  It has an almost machine quality to it that reminds me of some of Peter Gabriel’s solo work but then Trent puts a dark spin on it and it becomes something even more.

Ok, Where do I get it?

You’ll have to go to discogs for a copy of this one and trust me it is very well worth the purchase.  It’s one of those albums you can just start and let play as ambient music or dive in and study each and every track.  No matter how you enjoy it, it is very well done.   There is also always spotify! 

Also…on a fun note.  Before this album Nine Inch Nails also recorded an album length soundtrack for the video game Quake.  It’s now on Spotify and it is amazing!    Next week, we discuss the 2005 album With Teeth.  Until then…

Late to the Game 9/21/2021

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.

As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these movies as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow us if you like the blog!

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