Nine Inch Nails The Fragile

If you’ve been waiting for something as brutally awesome as Pretty Hate Machine, well, you’re still waiting. By taking four years to release a follow up to Downward Spiral, Trent Reznor has forced himself into a difficult position — very few artists can stay relevant after such a long period of time. His debut album was created to get him the fuck out of Cleveland, Ohio; The Fragile is distinctly lacking this kind of driving force of aggressive recklessness. Nothing on The Fragile hasn’t been done before, but that doesn’t mean it’s a horrid turd. Disc one, ingeniously labelled “Left” because it is on the left of the digipack, has the impressive songs “The Day the World Went Away,” “The Fragile,” and “Pilgrimage.” “Right” has the fascinating teen alienation of “Into the Void” with “Starfuckers Inc.” only four songs away. This last song is the only one that contains nuggets of Reznor truth on the entire album. He should write more about having problems with women who only want him for his popularity. More songs about his current life would make for a much more honest and profound album. Maybe a psychiatrist should have been hired to do the production on this album to help Trent get in touch with his new self. (Universal)