OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Remixes of Gave Up, Wish, Happiness in Slavery
LINEUP: Trent Reznor with remixes Coil, Jim Thirwell, Butch Vig, Danny Hyde, Chris Vrenna
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A remix album of Broken, which makes many songs unrecognizable, for the worst.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Taking a powerful, sonic filled EP and remixing it sounds great, but to these ears, the remixes either missed the mark or made sonic hash out of the songs.
The point may have been to add another dimension to these songs, but they were so powerful and direct anyway it seems like a pointless exercise. This really is for completists only.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: This charted in New Zealand and went Platinum in the UK.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: C-: You make think differently, but to me this is superfluous.
SINGLES: Happiness in Slavery (#13 US Alternative), Wish (#25 US Alternative)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Last, Gave Up
LINEUP: Trent Reznor, with some drum help by Martin Atkins and Chris Vrenna
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Reznor starts to consolidate his sound and image with this EP, and this is a much darker and industrial sound than his first album.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The leap from Pretty Hate Machine to Broken is pretty large. Here, Reznor uses guitars and machinery to create a loud, powerful attack that really moved him towards the Ministry end of the music spectrum.
Reznor’s melodies are there despite it all, and the main songs definitely have a quality where you can sing along to the pain. But the main emphasis is the organized cacophony.
This is a great bridge between early Nine Inch Nails and the most popular incarnation in the mid 90’s. It’s a powerful record, and it’s brevity makes it even more so.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The video for “Happiness in Slavery” was banned by MTV. There was a film entitled Broken that hasn’t been officially released that has many disturbing scenes.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Not really, but two covers (an Adam & the Ants song and a Pigface track) were not listed on the cover, and were tracks 98 and 99
GRADE: A: A perfect use of the EP format as a transitional bridge between records and a powerful statement in itself.
ARTIST: Nine Inch Nails TITLE: Pretty Hate Machine YEAR RELEASED: 1989 CHART ACTION: #75 US, #67 UK SINGLES: Down in It (#16 US Alternative), Head Like a Hole (#109 US, #28 US Alternative, #45 UK), Sin (#35 UK) OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Kinda I Want To LINEUP: Trent Reznor WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Studio go-fer records demo on his downtime, gets signed, and releases an album that puts a shiny gloss on industrial music (but not the themes).
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: For the masses, this may be the first industrial electronic record they heard – since Ministry was still a cult band and others were available on imports that cost and arm and a leg, or had an audience of the goth kids down the block from the studio.
Musically, Reznor stretched out the industrial genre away from just pure repetition and angry barking to actual song structure and angry singing. There are hooks here, which is something that didn’t happen much in that genre. A little sugar helps the bile go down. And what’s more, each song is distinctive, not just variations of the same theme. That’s not to say they’re not similar, but the sequencing is such that it doesn’t seem like the same thing over and over and over.
Lyrically – Reznor’s not happy. You can definitely tell with the breakout “Head Like a Hole” but the whole album is thematically angry and betrayed. Perfect for the goth kids down the block. One song, though, is such an angst filled dirge that I have to get rid of it.
It was somewhat unique at the time, and established Reznor as a budding star. It’s not a perfect album as some songs seem half baked or puerile in expression. He’d fix that problem soon enough.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The original record company that released this was TVT records, who made their bones releasing TV theme songs. They didn’t really know how to handle Reznor.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, one bonus cut..
GRADE: B: It’s pretty decent if you can get past all the anger and rage. Yet we do need that on occasion.