Nine Inch Nails
The Fragile



by OrbDragon USER (34 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 649 replies

Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

While I've never been that big of a fan of NIN or Trent Reznors repetitive angst lyrics...this is still one of my top 5 favorite records ever. It's two discs full of amazing, innovative, daring and beautiful music. I found it hard to take Trents songwriting on PHM and The Downward Spiral seriously (A Warm Place and Something I Can Never Have were great though) this record, Trent shows of his real talent for musicianship and composing. I don't listen to it as much as 4 years ago (where this cd was 50% of my rotation), but it's never a bore when I do take it for a spin every once in a while.

Disc 1:

01 Somewhat Damaged
This is an angry song that's constructed in a really cool way, with different rhythms, sounds and melodies in different time signatures all fitting together as one great whole. It's pretty heavy despite the lack of distorted guitars and such. 4/5

02 The Day The World Went Away
This is a beautiful, slow, melodic song. The verses are really timid, and after Trent sings the words from the song title it goes ito this fragile guitar part that makes it seem as if the song is over. Very suddenly it bursts into this epic, melodic climax, with some amazing vocals. Very unexpectedly it suddenly fades out really quickly...amazing stuff. 4.5/5

03 The Frail
This short piano interlude is my favorite part of the entire cd...and it ranks up there as one of my favorite musical moment. It's this gorgeous stripped down piano melody, and after awhile those beautiful keys come in, and the piano goes into a lower melody. It sounds as if you're on your way to heaven. Through headphones, this is just amazing. After awhile just the keyboards/vocal dubs remain and then... 5/5

04 The Wretched
...that volatile piano riff of "The Wretched" starts. As the song says, it's not a happy song. The verses have a really creepy synth fading in at times. The chorus is heavy and guitar based...the lyrics are the usual, not that good, but the song is still listenable. It's got a cool distorted solo near the end of the song. 4/5

05 We're In This Together
The intro to this track is one of the scariest I've ever heard. It's got that volatile droning guitar riff fading in with some really creepy atmospheric sounds. Then Trents voice gradually fades in till the drums starts...awesome! This is a pretty long, epic, heavy melodic tracks that can be interpretated as both sad or positive. The piano outro is great too. 4/5

06 The Fragile
The title track has lyrics in the third person, something rarely seen in Trents work. I love the breaking glass effect in the drums (did they just put a bag of broken glass in the bassdrum), fits the song title. The chorus contains some of the most emotional singing I've heard from Trent. I love the guitar solo..which plays the same melody as The Frail. It's just a beautiful melody. 4.5/5

07 Just Like You Imagined
This a great semi-instrumental, with some classical piano lots of layered keys. I love the part with the piano melodies and Trents vocal synths building up until the beat starts again. Good stuff. 4/5

08 Even Deeper
The song starts with an underwater sonar effect...and is greeted by a triphopish beat. This song does have a bit of a Massive Attack-ish atmosphere at times. The little fills in the drums are really neat to listen to. The chorus is a bit more guitar's a very atmospherical track, and the lyrics aren't the worst Trent has written. 4/5

09 Pilgrimage
This is another cool instrumental that sounds like a march of some sorts. It's got lots of chants and snare drum some cool melodies. 3.5/5

10 No, You Don't
The intro is sounds as if you are about to go through the portals of heaven but an angel says "No, You Don't" and kicks you down into the depts of hell :evil: . It's more of a rock song that most of the other tracks on The Fragile...I don't like the song much, the intro excluded. 3/5

11 La Mer
This is definately one of Trents most brilliant musical pieces. It's starts of gorgeously, with beautiful piano melodies. Then a funky drum beat starts midway, very uncharacteristic to the melody, to give strange effect. Then the song is attacked by lots of layered distorted melodies...eventually it sounds like two different songs played simultaneously. After the 'peak' of the song some melodies and beats fade out to create a whole different musical piece. It's an amazing listen. Think of it as caterpillar turning into a butterfly...only musicwise. 5/5

12 The Great Below
This is another amazing song...beautiful melodies, great vocals. It's another song that reminds me of outer body experiences. It's basically two which has lots of heavenly strings and effects...the other part is more beat oriented. It's a great closer to disc one. 4.5/5

Disc 2:

Disc 2 lacks the consistancy of disc 1....but it still has some great musical moments.

01 The Way Out Is Through
This track builds up very starts out very free-flowing, with Trent whispering angsty lyrics...but it goes into a very short heavy melodic guitar based part, then fades away in a short piano sequence. Very prog-ish track. 3.5/5

02 Into The Void
This is the poppiest track on the Fragile...and the intro melodies are almost exactly the same as in "La Mer". Trents vocals are good...and it's very catchy. But it's weak compared to most of the other tracks out there. But not as weak as the next track 2.5/5

03 Where Is Everybody?
Another somewhat poppy track, with some horrible lyrics. The vocals are good but it doesn't save the song I'm afraid. 2/5

04 The Mark Has Been Made
This is a cool instrumental that gradually builds up to a heavy climax. I love the creepy effect here, it's really good before the guitars come in. It does get repetitive after awhile...but it's usually not annoying. It ends with a strange sequence and Trent saying "I'm getting stronger" is a weird distorted voice 3/5

05 Please
This is a cool track, despite the predictable cheesy angst lyrics. It's a song that sounds cool, with the offbeat drums and distorted guitar layers. It's a bit like We're In This Together...only angrier. 4/5

06 Starfvckers Inc.
I'm usually not a fan of Trents heavier songs...but this one keeps my blood pumping. The intro is really cool as the song gradually fades in. This is the perfect song when you are driving in your car late at night. It's one of those pissed off songs that gives you a powerful if you just don't give a ****. I usually don't give in to a type of feeling a pop song brings..but this one leaves me no choice. 4.5/5

07 Complication
This is my favorite moment on disc two. It's the perfect followup of Starfvckers, especially because it's up-tempo too. It's another combination of layered melodies forming one whole. I love the part when Trents synthed vocals and the bassline come just sounds awesome. I always think of car rally's when I hear this. 4.5/5

08 I'm Looking Forward To Joining You, Finally
This track is mostly rhythmic...I like it very much. It's one of te few tracks by Trent with some decent lyrics. It's got a very volatile feel to it, depite the fact that it's a very quiet, stripped down song. 4/5

09 The Big Comedown
It's got a really cool beat that sounds like metal objects hitting each other. It's got some theatrical vocals too. The melodic parts remind me of the new wave era...kinda like bands such as Joy Division and The Cure. It has this quiet part with an electronic effect that builds up to the heavy-melodic climax. 4/5

10 Underneath It All
I don't like this lacks melody and the repetitive beat makes this song sound like it's rushed. Good vocals once again...but not good enough. I usually skip this. 2/5

11 Ripe (With Decay)
The cd ends with a nice instrumental track that takes a few listens to absorb. Someday I'll hope Trent will just do instrumental music...since there is no need to preach about how ****ty his life is. He is an amazing composer, and he shows it here. It's really if you are in a forest during midnight, lost and scared. At one point you hear the sound of bee's for some reason. It's got a great climax..with that ripping guitar riff. Despite the ups and down...this cd ends with some quality music. 4/5

Overall: 4.5/5

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Comments:Add a Comment 
January 20th 2004


Awesome review. I absolutely love the Downward Spiral, and I'd heard that this is way better. I'm hoping to order it from a free cd club:thumb:

January 20th 2004


Excellent, I'd been wanting someone confident enough to review this album, and I'm glad it was you.

I'd probably have given Just Like You Imagined a 5/5, as its one of my most favourite instrumentals (more or less instrumental); I just love the bit where the vocals build up a wordless sound before climaxing and going straight back into main beat of the song. Makes me think of heaven for some reason.

Definitely agreed on Disc 1 being superior to Disc 2. Disc 2 was the reason I didn't think I'd be able to review the album well enough, cos I was thinking through what I'd say for each track and couldn't come up with much for a lot of 2.

nicks bread
January 20th 2004


i completely agree with you

this is my favorite NIN cd and i am glad other people appreiciate it too.

January 21st 2004


^What he said.

I don't really think of the Fragile in terms of tracks. To me, it's a long, fully integrated album. The only track numbers I know by heart are The Great Below and The Fragile, because they are so beautiful. The art Trent uses is awesome too. When I saw NIN on the Fragility tour, the screens behind the stage showing the images just took me to another place and it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, but then that gets taken away by some hard song like Star****ers. I think the extremes are a really interesting feature.

I haven't listened to this album in at least 2 years, so thanks for helping me figure out what to do tonight.

January 21st 2004


[QUOTE=Merletto]When I saw NIN on the Fragility tour, the screens behind the stage showing the images just took me to another place and it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, but then that gets taken away by some hard song like Star****ers. I think the extremes are a really interesting feature.

You lucky bastard

The Fragility tour is something I really regret not having been able to go to. Closest I can get to it is the And All That Could Have Been DVD, and that can't compare..

January 21st 2004


It was like 5 years ago, and APC opened for them; it was right before Mer De Noms was released (like a week before the release date) =D

I went to the show without tickets and picked up 5th row seats for like $40 from scalpers (normally they're $50), right in front of the guitarist (I forget his name now... Robin maybe) and right in front of Billy in APC, but so close to Maynard that I could easily make out the spinal tattoo on his back.

Too bad I haven't been able to catch APC since then, and I wasn't really paying attention to their set because I was so amped for NIN. =( I wore that tour shirt so much it started to look like a dirty rag with holes and everything in it. It was my favorite shirt for the longest time too.

January 21st 2004


[QUOTE=Merletto]right in front of the guitarist (I forget his name now... Robin maybe)[/QUOTE]
If you're talking about NIN, you probably mean Robin Finch. I so wish I could have gone, but five years ago I would have been......10. Easily offended by NIN, and not allowed to go, in any case. I just got interested in the Nails in November, and now I can't get enough.

Blue Collar Tweeker
January 21st 2004


Good review for the most part. I cant believe how low you rated Into the Void, I love that song.

January 23rd 2004


Is it true NIN is releasing an album this year?

Oh and the Fragile = cool album but maybe i should have looked into pretty hate machine

January 23rd 2004


[QUOTE=ZmevIII]Is it true NIN is releasing an album this year?

Oh and the Fragile = cool album but maybe i should have looked into pretty hate machine[/QUOTE]
It's rumored that NIN will release an album this spring called Bleedthrough.

Pretty Hate Machine is Reznor's worst album. It's ok, but nothing really that good.

January 24th 2004


also one of my top 5 albums of all time...

and i still regret missing them on tour with apc

June 9th 2004


This one is so much better than The Downward Sprial, which I just bought. I really need to get this.

June 10th 2004


My brother just made an excellent point. "The Frail" sounds a lot like the score for "The Shawshank Redemption". I'm going to download the thing now. Orb, you should definitly check it out. That just so happens to be in my Top 5 movies of all time.

October 6th 2004


This album KICKS ***. Im not a NIN fan, but I bought it like 2 weeks ago and Ive been listening to one disk without skipping songs, then just putting in the next one. Cant wait for the next release from Reznor.

November 28th 2004


does anyone know where i can listen to some of the Fragile

November 28th 2004


Good review...I keep meaning to try and get more into NIN, as I like what I've heard by them, and everyone raves about them. Judging by the comments in this review, it seems as if this album would be a good place to start.

November 28th 2004


is soulseek free

November 29th 2004



November 29th 2004


I still can't believe I sold this album just before I truly appreciated NIN. I miss it..

June 27th 2005


Album Rating: 4.5

This album is perfect. 23 tracks of the finest Industrial known to man. This album is home to some of the darkest songs and most beautiful instrumentals I've ever heard. Trent was at his finest here. Good review.This Message Edited On 06.26.05

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