Thursday, March 26, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] The Music That Shaped Me (Part 20)

Nine Inch Nails - The Fragile (1999)

This is it, the last entry in my Twenty Albums that had an impact on me meme that I was tagged in many, many moons ago. And I thought for the last one, I'd save my favourite album of all time. The one album I really couldn't do without - the one album I could never tire of.

Nine Inch Nails' album, The Fragile.

For me, it is the perfect album. It's long (2 CDs designated Left and Right) and contains a wide variety of musical styles. The first track, Somewhat Damaged, builds by layering industrial noises to incorporate Trent Reznor's softer vocals, to eventually ending with Reznor's shouting "Where the f*** were you?" over deep noisey guitars.

A few tracks into the album and we're presented with my favourite song of all time - The Wretched. Best listened to with The Frail instrumental track before it serving as a build-up to an angry shout at the world and how things just suck...

"The clouds will part and the sky cracks open,
And God himself will reach his f***ing arm through,
Just to push you down, just to hold you down.
Stuck in this hole with the sh** and the piss,
and it's hard to believe it could come down to this..."

"It didn't turn out the way you wanted it to,
It didn't turn out the way you wanted it, did it?"

God I love that track.

Just after that we're treated to the first proper single of the album, We're in this Together, which Debs and I always listen to when the world seems to kick us in the ass. Amazing .

I could go through the rest of the album like this and rave about how great every track is, but I won't. It's perfect. There are no bad tracks on The Fragile.

And then, Trent Reznor had to top it off with another couple of versions of the album. I mean, who else has three versions of the same album on their iPod for walking in to work? The Fragile: The Definitive Edition was released in 2017, with additional tracks and slightly extended versions of a handful of others. And then there's The Fragile: Deviations, an instrumental version of the album, with instrumental versions of all the tracks with vocals, and slightly different versions of all the instrumental ones (if that makes sense)? Anyway, it's different. It's great. And essential for a sad Nails-fanboy like me.

(I post this just as Nine Inch Nails have released another two albums of instrumental work for free to see us through the hard times of virus isolation. God, I love Nine Inch Nails. Thank you Trent.)

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