Nine Inch Nails
NIN juxtaposes the brutal and delicate, chaos and order, nihilistic despair and spiritual rapture.
With Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor has taken the sounds and sights of transgressive art — monkey messiahs, shiny boots of leather, serial killers — into the mainstream, transmuting alienation into community. Nine Inch Nails began in Cleveland in the late 1980s as a studio project for Reznor but blossomed onstage with his live band during the first Lollapalooza tour in 1991, which found them laying waste to its instruments in the afternoon sun as dismayed fellow musicians and converted fans looked on. The 1994 breakthrough album The Downward Spiral combined the mechanized funk and discordant noise of industrial rock with Reznor’s belief in melody and song structure. It debuted at number two on the Billboard album chart and spawned the Top 40 hit “Closer” — with its promises of animalistic sex as a way of being nearer to God — as well as “Hurt,” later covered by Johnny Cash.
A mud-splattered, star-making performance at Woodstock ’94 delivered Nine Inch Nails to the arena level. A series of carefully wrought tours — including a co-headlining trek with David Bowie in 1995 — followed, accompanied by visuals as transformative as they were simple. In recent years, Reznor’s penchant for futurism has included distributing music for free on the Internet as well as working for Beats Music to find a way to restore value to purchasing music. Nine Inch Nails returned in 2013 with Hesitation Marks and reissued new instrumental versions of The Fragile and With Teeth as exclusive Apple Music streams. The creativity of Trent Reznor has penetrated myriad aspects of the entertainment world. From music to film to management and streaming, NIN continues to be an influential force in our world.
“Head Like a Hole,” “Terrible Lie,” Pretty Hate Machine (1989) • “Closer,” “Hurt,” “Hersey,” The Downward Spiral (1994) “The Day the World Went Away,” “Into the Void,” “Starfuckers Inc.,” The Fragile (1999) • Still (2002) • “Every Day Is Exactly the Same,” “The Hand That Feeds,” “With Teeth,” With Teeth (2005) • “Survivalism,” “My Violent Heart,” “Capital G,” Year Zero (2007) • Ghosts I – IV, “1,000,000,” The Slip (2008) • “Copy Of A,” Hesitation Marks (2013)