If you don’t own any NIN’s albums, this is definitely the place to start.
“The Downward Spiral” will probably forever be Trent Reznor’s most popular and critically acclaimed album. And “The Fragile,” in my opinion is Reznor’s magnum opus. And although those are some of the best albums in modern rock, they both need time and a few plays to get into. “The Downward Spiral” is a classic, no doubt, but it’s so intense, people unfamiliar with NIN may be initially turned off. And with the “The Fragile,” there are a lot of instrumentals with long buildups and climaxes (not that that’s a bad thing). Both of these albums need a few plays to really appreciate. “Pretty Hate Machine” is more meat-and-potatos and gets right to the point with each song. It’s easy to digest these songs with just one listen.
NIN’s debut album, “Pretty Hate Machine,” is instantly assessable, instantly catchy. Some industrial purists may eschew NIN for being overly assesable/pop, but the hooks in these songs are undeniable. “Pretty Hate Machine” is not the kind of album where you listen to it a few times, every once and a while, or listen to a few songs now and then. “Pretty Hate Machine” is the kind of album that you get hooked on. And it’s not just a few songs, the entire album is mesmerizing.
From the opening classic “Head Like a Hole” to the closing “Ringfinger” every song is meticulously crafted and delivered. Even if you know nothing at all about Trent Reznor, just by listening to any of NIN’s albums, you get the sense that every song on every one of his albums is a labor of love.
This is the kind of album that any person can relate to. Trent Reznor takes universal feeling and themes of being rejected, disappointed, screwed over, dejected and depressed, and he puts it to catchy industrial beats. There is a certain healing power to the music of Nine Inch Nails. You feel a certain catharsis when you listen to Trent Reznor’s music.
“Pretty Hate Machine” is a modern-day classic and a cornerstone in any college/alternative collection.