Nine Inch Nails
The Fragile



by tribestros USER (62 Reviews)
June 7th, 2007 | 11 replies

Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The most varied, atmospheric, and wild Nine Inch Nails release to date creates one of the best albums of all time.

For most of my life, I've always been one of Trent Reznor's biggest fans. Been to at least one show in each of his last four tours, and I've met him backstage before. For many years, The Downward Spiral was the best album I'd ever listened to; hands down. When The Fragile came out, I was happy with it and its more atmospheric sound, even if I secretly wanted another The Downward Spiral.

This all quickly changed for me recently, maybe its the presence of more styles of music in my taste, but The Fragile has officially taken over The Downward Spiral as my favorite album of all time. Why is this that its taken me eight years to fully see The Fragile's glory and greatness" Its beyond me, but let me tell you, this album never slows down, and doesn't have any imperferections whatsoever. From the Left side opener, Somewhat Damaged, the album is off and kicking to a loud and angry start, and doesn't really ever drag, bore, or even make me yawn up until the grand finale, Ripe (With Decay). This isn't the traditional crazy, guitar-driven industrial metal of The Downward Spiral; this is deep, heavy, atmospheric stuff that manages to focus a bit more on the sound rather than the vocals. Built off of dense 'soundscapes', this album manages to be every bit as epic and original as The Downward Spiral.

What's so great about this album is the fact that there's no clear standout track like there was on The Downward Spiral. There was a few filler tracks Trent's last time around, but now, the whole album fits together like a puzzle and the whole album is a standout track. From the extreme dynamic changes in The Day the World Went Away to the solemn atmospheres of The Great Below, the album is always there, full guns blazing, and letting you know who's boss. Not only that, Trent Reznor's ability to make a piano-driven track into a hard rock anthem is impeccable, and can be found in tracks like The Wretched.

The album fits together like one big, long story telling the story of Trent Reznor's drug addiction and it works very well in the process. The songs flow together perfectly, almost as well as Pink Floyd's classic Dark Side of the Moon, as half of the time, the only thing stopping the tracks from falling together is your player changing songs. Don't be mistaken, the album is still hard, angry, and loud, which is shown in songs like We're In This Together and Starfuckers, Inc.. In fact, the songs are often louder and more industrial than songs like Mr. Self Destruct and Heresy off of The Downward Spiral.

It shocks me that Trent Reznor wasn't happy with this album; I don't know what more he could have wanted from a release. Its filled with the angry, aggressive tracks mixed in with a bit of odd sounds and tempos, especially in songs like The Big Come Down and Into the Void. The songs often build slowly, before exploding in the end, which is found in tracks like Somewhat Damaged and Into the Void. This album is a case of the album living up to the hype built for it. Five years is a long time, and Trent may have alienated traditional rock listeners farther away from his music while keeping his fanbase happier than ever.

As Spin Magazine put it, The Fragile is a clear choice for Album of the Year back in 1999, and in my opinion its still one of the best releases of the 90s, if not of all time. You can't deny Reznor's ability to fuse industrial, dance, and hard rock into amazing, sprawling epics like The Downward Spiral and The Fragile. No matter what Tremt does with the rest of his career, this album will be the album and the one that came before it will be the releases that made Nine Inch Nails one of the most successful, and influential bands of all time.

Somewhat Damaged
We're In This Together
The Great Below
Into the Void
Starfuckers, Inc.
The Big Come Down

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user ratings (2388)
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Chewie (4.5)
    It’s the type of album where its problems upon first listen end up not being problems at...

    Killtacular (4)

    sapient (5)
    It's funny how everything you swore would never change is different now...

    shindip (4)
    Trent Reznor creates a gorgeous, genre spanning album....

  • ryanfabermi (5)
    More layered, textured, fastidiously recorded and re-recorded than any of his work to date...

    industrialjunkie92 (4.5)
    A mixed bag really. The Left disc sports a fuller sound and a high standard while the Righ...

    Killerhit (4.5)
    And the sea will come to kiss me, for I am going home....

    breakingthefragile (1.5)
    “It didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, it didn’t turn out the way you wanted ...

  • OrbDragon (4.5)

    thebigcumdown (4)
    Album that will keep you thirsty for more....

    megalomanic (5)
    Trent Reznor's masterpiece, wrongfully overshadowed by The Downward Spiral....

    TAnin (4.5)
    Would've been great as a single album. Second half needs some trimming, or just cutting al...

  • howdy123 (5)
    This album overall is one of Trent’s best works, musically, lyrically, and vocally. He ...

    ImAround (4)
    While this stunning double album comes with its flaws, the high points and the glimpses of...

Comments:Add a Comment 
June 7th 2007


Great review.

Two-Headed Boy
June 8th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

I actually might like Right better than Left.

June 8th 2007


I'm all for experimentation, but this album just comes off as really, really boring. Especially with it being two discs. It has a few gems (The Great Below, Starfuckers, We're In This Together) but this really is NIN's worst album imo.

June 9th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

This is a great album and a unique experience to listen to. Right, I feel, is more abstract and all over the place compared to Left because of the journey the album's gone through already. La Mer has to be one of my favorite songs ever.

August 9th 2007


I redid this review. Comments would be nice.

August 9th 2007


Album Rating: 5.0

I like the review, I don't know what's different or anything but I agree.This Message Edited On 08.09.07

February 2nd 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

If you say this is better then The Downward Spiral, then i better hear this for myself.

May 5th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

I love the review, actually agree almost wholeheartedly. While it's not my favorite album ever, as you claim, it's definitely the best NIN album, with TDS a really close second. Well written and descriptive, props.

November 9th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

You made me want to go listen to this more even though the only double disc album I've ever completely enjoyed all the way through was The Wall. That's pretty neat that you got to meet Trent. Oh and you spelled his name Tremt in the final paragraph.This Message Edited On 11.09.08

December 2nd 2014


Album Rating: 5.0

You're a great reviewer man, loved your SP reviews as well. It's hard for me to pick a favorite between this and TDS, although I may have to go with the latter just because this can be a bit bloated at times, but when I'm in the mood to sit through whole thing it always blows me away

December 2nd 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

Eh... not even close to my favorite, but still good.

Digging: Baths - Romaplasm

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