Friday, October 23, 2009

The Only Time

Song: The Only Time
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Album: Pretty Hate Machine

File under sort of hard to believe, but Nine Inch Nails debut album "Pretty Hate Machine" turned 20 years old this past Tuesday. (!!!) I discovered NIN in high school, not in 1989 when the debut came out, but in 1992 when lead Trent Reznor released the EP "Broken," still the hardest thing he's ever done. In retrospect, "Pretty Hate Machine" sounds almost down-right pop-ish. With singles "Head Like a Hole" and "Down in It" making the dancy blue-print for bands like 30 Seconds to Mars, and even former band member Richard Patrick's Filter.

"Pretty Hate Machine" was sort of the perfect record for me to grow up to... it had the self-loathing charm that teenagers eat up, but unlike Nirvana at the time... you could DANCE to NIN. They would really blow up with the release of "The Downward Spiral," hitching the alternative rock train and spawning hits like "Closer" and "March of the Pigs."

NIN has certainly had a varied and interesting musical career, but I would argue that both "Hate Machine" and "Broken" still remain his most focused work. I've still liked it all, but would welcome the industrial-pop sensibility he brought to "Hate Machine" over the bigger concept music he's making now. (Though some would argue that their latest free album"The Slip" was a bit of a return.) But then again, what made NIN, NIN, was Reznor's inability to compromise his vision.

What clearly raises "Pretty Hate Machine" is the fact that every song is good. "Down in It," "Head Like a Hole," Sin," "Terrible Lie," and "Something I Can Never Have" all got alternative rock airplay, but I always flipped for album tracks "Kinda I Want To," "The Only Time," and closer "Ringfinger." It's a great album, and deserves it's place in the history of rock music.

Happy 20 "Pretty Hate Machine!"


The Only Time

Kinda I Want To


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