#198: The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails


The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails (1994)

Favorite Track(s): If pressed, "A Warm Place" and "Hurt"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) Oh, readers.  We were doing so well.  First Michael Jackson, then Simon & Garfunkel.  I felt safe.  Unafraid.  Comforted in the warm, enveloping glow of brilliant pop music and soulful folk.  Now, I'm scared and cold and miserable.  Nine Inch Nails was the band that the angry kids at my high school listened to.  The name of the band itself is unsettling.  I'm not familiar with the band or their music in any way, though I confess I enjoy Trent Reznor's contributions to film soundtracks these days.  All my life I've lumped NIN in with Marilyn Manson, Limp Bizkit, and the not-so-country-early-Kid-Rock.  Was that unfair?  Possibly.  I thought I'd hate The Smashing Pumpkins, and I ended up loving them.  I expected to dislike Nirvana, and I came around to enjoying their work.  So with a heavy, cautious heart, I open my ears to Nine Inch Nails and hope for the best.

(Post-Listening): Not off to a good start.  "Mr. Self-Destruct" is a song...that exists.  Do I personally need it to exist?  No.  I would have been happy to go on in my life without knowing or hearing it.  I'm trying to be diplomatic here!  "Piggy" was...better.  I expected to see it in a film during a drug overdose montage meant to thoroughly creep out the audience.  I know I was.  "Heresy" is not and never will be my favorite song about nihilism.  I sort of liked "Closer" until, you know, the CHORUS.  "The Becoming" had some really choice samples of people screaming in agony, so that was a treat and a half.  "A Warm Place" was actually quite nice, but I've got plenty of other pretty piano music I'd turn to before this. "Reptile": yikes. And of course, "Hurt", which I only know through the Johnny Cash cover, which I don't hate.  It's a nice song.  I like where it goes.

I mean, I could go on and on about how these songs do nothing for me, but it's clear I'm not the intended audience.  I can see these songs being very powerful and important to other people, but just not to me.  So with that, I give my very personal, subjective, exaggerated opinion...I feel it matches the violence inherent in the work!

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