16. Nine Inch Nails – The Fragile
Nine Inch Nails joins the countdown. I like Nine Inch Nails… a lot. I don’t think I know of any one person whose writing has impacted me nearly as much as Trent Reznor. [Aside: I’m watching the Cubs game, so wild mood swings are–
HOMERUN!!! HOMERUN!!!! HOMERUN!!!!
wow.. that was some pretty convenient timing.] Anyway, back to NIN. The Fragile is a double disc set that was released about 5 years after The Downward Spiral…
What the hell!?
The umps just dicked up two calls on the same play. I hate them. A lot.
okay.. I can’t type right now.. gotta watch the game…
So maybe his language is a bit stronger than some people would like.. but if you’ve ever been completely dicked over by someone (i.e. a girl), I gotta believe that’s what’s playing inside your head. I know it’s ringing constantly in mine.
“It didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to
It didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, did it?“.
This song sports another pounding bass-line that just sounds sweet when cranked. Not so much an optimistic tune, but this isn’t so much an optimistic section of the album. Basic gist: We’re filled with hopes and dreams, but the entire world is working against us to see to it that we fail, and we can’t stop it.
You and me
We’re in this together now
None of them can stop us now
We will make it through somehow
It should also be noted that this song completely rules. Certainly it’s one of my favorites on the album. I’m having a hard time thinking of another NIN song before this where there was this much energy and power put behind a optimistic song… hrm.. I’m having a hard time recalling another optimist NIN song before this one..
The song opens with him describing his adoration for her:
In a world full of ugliness
when everything is meaningless
Then the song starts to hint at her despair:
She doesn’t see her beauty
She tries to get away
This is coupled with his despair:
It’s just that nothing seems worth saving
I can’t watch her slip away
And it’s that last line that fuels the rest of the song, and I think the rest of this album. He is given a new motivation for life because of this girl, and his purpose is now to make sure she doesn’t sink into despair the way he did. :
I won’t let you fall apart
Back to her despair.. and her grasping for help:
She reads the minds of all the people as they pass her by
Hoping someone can see
And we have him trying to figure out how he can help her.. First he thinks about fixing himself in order to fix her.. Reminds me of Darth Vader’s line on Endor “It is too late for me…”:
If I could fix myself I’d – but it’s too late for me
It’s the very end of the song that I love most:
It’s something I have to do
I was there, too
Before everything else
I was like you
He knows where she’s headed, as he’s been there himself, and now he’ll do anything (he has to.. it’s not even a choice anymore.). It’s a great song.
Tried to save myself, but myself keeps slipping away.
Numb all throughAll I do
I can still feel you
Hear your call
Underneath it all
Kill my brain
Yet you still remain
After all I’ve died
After all I’ve tried
You are still inside
I can still feel you You remain
I am stained
This is followed by the last of 7 Instrumental tracks on the album: (Somewhat Damaged opens the album, then The Frail, Pilgrimage which has a haunting soldiers march feel/sound to it, that reminds me of clips of Nazi soldiers marching before Hitler, La Mer, The Mark has Been Made, Complication which has a great almost techno sound to it that just keeps building on itself, and finally the ending track Ripe (With Decay)). This album is often compared to Pink Floyd’s The Wall, in that it’s a giant 2 disc work that weaves songs and instrumentals together into one giant cohesive unit all revolving around centralized themes, and building on them. I’ve already mentioned how much I like that concept, and I think this album does this wonderfully. I’ve also said before how much I like lyrics that would make good poetry, and I consider Trent Reznor the king of that.