The Fragile (Nine Inch Nails album)

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The Fragile
Nine Inch Nails - The Fragile.png
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 21, 1999 (1999-09-21)
RecordedJanuary 1997–February 1999
StudioNothing Studios, New Orleans
Nine Inch Nails chronology
Further Down the Spiral
The Fragile
Things Falling Apart
Halo numbers chronology
Halo 13
Halo 14
Halo 15
Singles from The Fragile
  1. "The Day the World Went Away"
    Released: July 20, 1999
  2. "We're in This Together"
    Released: September 27, 1999
  3. "Into the Void"
    Released: January 10, 2000

The Fragile is the third studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released as a double album on September 21, 1999, by Nothing and Interscope Records. It was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and longtime collaborator Alan Moulder. It was recorded throughout 1997 to 1999 in New Orleans.

Industrial rock music genre

Industrial rock is an alternative rock genre that fuses industrial music and rock music.

Nine Inch Nails American industrial rock band

Nine Inch Nails, commonly abbreviated as NIN, is an American industrial rock band formed in 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio. Singer, producer and instrumentalist Trent Reznor was the only permanent member until the addition of English musician Atticus Ross in 2016.

A double album is an audio album which spans two units of the primary medium in which it is sold, typically records and compact disc. A double album is usually, though not always, released as such because the recording is longer than the capacity of the medium. Recording artists often think of double albums as comprising a single piece artistically; however, there are exceptions such as John Lennon's Some Time in New York City and Pink Floyd's Ummagumma and OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Another example of this approach is Works Volume 1 by Emerson Lake and Palmer, where side one featured Keith Emerson, side two Greg Lake, side three Carl Palmer, and side four was by the entire group.


Looking to depart from the distorted production of their previous record, The Downward Spiral (1994), the album features elements of ambient and electronic music, alongside the band's traditional industrial rock sound. Lyrically, the record brings over some of the themes from The Downward Spiral, including depression and drug abuse. The album notably contains more instrumental sections than their previous work, some of which span entire tracks. The Fragile is also one of the band's longest studio releases, clocking in at nearly one and three quarter hours long. The record was promoted with three singles: "The Day the World Went Away", "We're in This Together", and "Into the Void", as well as the promotional single "Starfuckers, Inc." and an accompanying tour, the Fragility Tour, which spanned two legs. Several accompanying recordings were also released, including a remix album, Things Falling Apart (2000), a live album, And All That Could Have Been (2002), as well as an alternate version of the record, The Fragile: Deviations 1 (2016).

<i>The Downward Spiral</i> 1994 studio album by Nine Inch Nails

The Downward Spiral is the second studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on March 8, 1994, by Nothing Records and Interscope Records in the United States and by Island Records in Europe. It is a concept album detailing the destruction of a man from the beginning of his "downward spiral" to his death by suicide. The Downward Spiral features elements of industrial rock, techno and heavy metal music, in contrast to the band's synthpop-influenced debut album Pretty Hate Machine (1989), and was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Flood.

Ambient music is a genre of music that emphasizes tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm. A form of slow instrumental music, it uses repetitive, but gentle, soothing sound patterns that can be described as sonic wallpaper to complement or alter one’s space and to generate a sense of calmness. The genre is said to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual", or "unobtrusive" quality.

Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means, and that produced using electronics only. Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers, and so on, and electric elements, such as magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Examples of electromechanical sound producing devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, and the electric guitar, which are typically made loud enough for performers and audiences to hear with an instrument amplifier and speaker cabinet. Pure electronic instruments do not have vibrating strings, hammers, or other sound-producing mechanisms. Devices such as the theremin, synthesizer, and computer can produce electronic sounds.

Upon release, the album received a positive response from critics, who applauded its ambition and composition, although some criticized its length and lyrical substance. Retrospectively, it is cited by many critics and audiences to be among the band's best work. The album debuted at number one in the US, becoming their first chart-topper, and was eventually certified double-platinum by RIAA.

Recording Industry Association of America Trade organization representing the recording industry in the U.S.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a trade organization that represents the recording industry in the United States. Its members consist of record labels and distributors, which the RIAA says "create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legally sold recorded music in the United States." The RIAA headquarters is in Washington, D.C.

Writing and recording

The Fragile was an album based a lot in fear, because I was afraid as fuck about what was happening to me ... That's why there aren't a lot of lyrics on that record. I couldn't fucking think. An unimaginable amount of effort went into that record in a very unfocused way.

Trent Reznor [1]

The Fragile was produced by Trent Reznor and Alan Moulder at Nothing Studios in New Orleans. There were some personnel changes within Nine Inch Nails after the Self-Destruct tour, which saw drummer Chris Vrenna replaced by Bill Rieflin and Jerome Dillon, the latter of whom would become Nine Inch Nails' full-time drummer until late 2005. Charlie Clouser and Danny Lohner contributed occasional instrumentation and composition to several tracks although the album was predominantly written and performed by Reznor alone. The Fragile was mixed by Alan Moulder and mastered by Tom Baker. The packaging was created by David Carson and Rob Sheridan. [2]

Trent Reznor American musician

Michael Trent Reznor is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and film score composer. He is the founder, lead vocalist, and principal songwriter of the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, which he founded in 1988 and of which he was the sole official member until adding long-time collaborator Atticus Ross as a permanent member in 2016. His first release under the Nine Inch Nails name, the 1989 album Pretty Hate Machine, was a commercial and critical success. He has since released nine Nine Inch Nails studio albums. He left Interscope Records in 2007 and was an independent recording artist until signing with Columbia Records in 2012.

Alan Moulder is an English record producer, mixing engineer, and audio engineer.

New Orleans Largest city in Louisiana

New Orleans is a consolidated city-parish located along the Mississippi River in the southeastern region of the U.S. state of Louisiana. With an estimated population of 391,006 in 2018, it is the most populous city in Louisiana. A major port, New Orleans is considered an economic and commercial hub for the broader Gulf Coast region of the United States.

Music and lyrics

Over a year before the album's release, Reznor suggested – presumably deliberately misleadingly – that the album would "be irritating to people because it's not traditional Nine Inch Nails. Think of the most ridiculous music you could ever imagine with nursery rhymes over the top of it. A bunch of pop songs." [3]

Nursery rhyme traditional song or poem for children

A nursery rhyme is a traditional poem or song for children in Britain and many other countries, but usage of the term only dates from the late 18th/early 19th century. The term Mother Goose rhymes is interchangeable with nursery rhymes.

In contrast to the heavily distorted instruments and gritty industrial sounds of their previous album, The Downward Spiral , [4] The Fragile relies more on soundscapes, electronic beats, ambient noise, rock-laden guitar, and the usage of melodies as harmonies. Several critics noted that the album was seemingly influenced by progressive rock, art rock, electronica, and avant-garde music. [5] [6] It is categorized as an art rock album by The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), [7] Edna Gundersen of USA Today , [8] and Will Hermes of Entertainment Weekly . Hermes views that, like "art-rockers" King Crimson and David Bowie, Reznor incorporates elements of 20th-century classical music on the album, "mixing prepared piano melodies à la John Cage with thematic flavor from Claude Debussy". [9] Music journalist Ann Powers observes elements of progressive rock bands King Crimson and Roxy Music, Reznor's influences, and the experimentation of electronica artists such as Autechre and Squarepusher, and writes that The Fragile uses funk bass lines, North African minor-key modalities, and the treatment of tonality by Symbolist composers like Debussy. The album also features several distorted guitar parts which Powers suggests that fans can enjoy. [10] Rob Sheffield observes a "prog-rock vibe" akin to Pink Floyd's 1979 album The Wall and feels that The Fragile is similarly "a double album that vents ... alienation and misery into paranoid studio hallucinations, each track crammed with overdubs until there's no breathing room". [11]

Industrial music is a genre of music which draws on harsh, transgressive or provocative sounds and themes. AllMusic defines industrial music as the "most abrasive and aggressive fusion of rock and electronic music" that was "initially a blend of avant-garde electronics experiments and punk provocation". The term was coined in the mid-1970s with the founding of Industrial Records by members of Throbbing Gristle and Monte Cazazza. While the genre name originated with Throbbing Gristle's emergence in the United Kingdom, concentrations of artists and labels vital to the genre also emerged in America, namely in Chicago.

A soundscape is the acoustic environment as perceived by humans, in context. The term was originally coined by Michael Southworth, and popularised by R. Murray Schafer. There is a varied history of the use of soundscape depending on discipline, ranging from urban design to wildlife ecology to computer science. An important distinction is to separate soundscape from the broader acoustic environment. The acoustic environment is the combination of all the acoustic resources, natural and artificial, within a given area as modified by the environment. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standardized these definitions in 2014.(ISO 12913-1:2014)

Harmony aspect of music

In music, harmony is the process by which the composition of individual sounds, or superpositions of sounds, is analysed by hearing. Usually, this means simultaneously occurring frequencies, pitches, or chords.

"About 10 years ago or so I locked myself away in a house on the ocean, and I tried to... I said I was trying to write some music. Some of which wound up on The Fragile. But what I was really doing was trying to kill myself. And the whole time I was away by myself, I managed to write one song, which is this song. So when I play it I feel pretty weird about it, because it takes me back to a pretty dark and awful time in my life. It's weird to think how different things are now: I'm still alive, I haven't died yet. And I'm afraid to go back to that place because it feels kind of haunting to me, but I'm going to go back. I'm going to get married [to Mariqueen Maandig] there."

 —Reznor, on the origins of the song, "La Mer", at a 2009 performance in Mansfield, MA. [12]

Described by Reznor as a sequel to The Downward Spiral—an album with a plot detailing the destruction of a man—The Fragile is a concept album dealing with his personal issues, including depression, angst, and drug abuse. His vocals, for the most part, are more melodic and somewhat softer, a departure from his harsh and often angry singing in previous works. However, several music critics including Reznor noticed the lack of lyrics on the album. [13] [1] The Bulletin interprets it as an industrial rock album about "fear and loathing that could compete with Pink Floyd's The Wall". [14] In some ways, The Fragile is a response to The Downward Spiral. Reznor compared the lyrical content of the two albums:

I wanted this album to sound like there was something inherently flawed in the situation, like someone struggling to put the pieces together. The Downward Spiral was about peeling off layers and arriving at a naked, ugly end. This album starts at the end, then attempts to create order from chaos, but never reaches the goal. It's probably a bleaker album because it arrives back where it starts — (with) the same emotion. The album begins "Somewhat Damaged" and ends "Ripe (With Decay)". [13]

The song "I'm Looking Forward to Joining You, Finally" is credited in the album's booklet as "for clara", suggesting that the song's topic, like "The Day the World Went Away", is about Reznor's grandmother, Clara Clark. [ citation needed ]

Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk singled out "The Wretched" for comment: "I remember being amazed when I first heard this... This wasn't just ennui: this was an active, aggressive, angry lack of caring. It's not 'Let's kill ourselves'; it's 'Let's kill each other'... It's not rock 'n' roll and it's not classical. It's something in between." [15]

According to a CIA document entitled Guidelines for Interrogation Methods the song "Somewhat Damaged" was one of 13 songs played to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, supposedly as a means of torture. [16]


Cover of an instrumental version of The Fragile, and the original full photograph of the waterfall The Fragile (1999) instrumental cover.png
Cover of an instrumental version of The Fragile, and the original full photograph of the waterfall

The cover artwork was designed by David Carson. A section within his book Fotografiks [17] [18] reveals that the top section of the album cover is from a photo of a waterfall and the bottom section is from a closeup photo of the inside of a seashell. Carson elaborated on this further in an image on his website:

[The] back [cover] was going to be the front until the last moment. Trent changed it saying 'it was kinda irritating' yet something about it we liked so maybe it fit the music. Front cover flowers I shot outside of Austin, Texas. The 1 hour place called and said they messed up and used the wrong chemicals and the film was ruined. I said 'lemme see 'em anyway'. This is how they came out. Cover image is a waterfall in Iceland and a seashell in the West Indies. [19]


On September 10, 1998, at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, a thirty-second teaser trailer was shown on television to promote the then untitled album. [20] It would be more than a year before the album was finally released. [20]

The first single, "The Day the World Went Away", was released two months before the album. "Into the Void" and "We're in This Together" proved to be the album's most successful singles. The B-side "Starfuckers, Inc." was released on the album as a track at the last minute [ citation needed ], and served as a promotional single for The Fragile.

In support of The Fragile, the Nine Inch Nails live band reformed for the Fragility tour. The tour began in late 1999 and lasted until mid-2000, spanning Europe, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and North America. [21] The tour consisted of two major legs, labeled Fragility 1.0 and Fragility 2.0. The live band lineup remained largely the same from the previous tour in support of The Downward Spiral , featuring Robin Finck on guitar, Charlie Clouser on keyboards, and Danny Lohner on bass guitar. [22] [23] Reznor held open auditions to find a new drummer, eventually picking then-unknown Jerome Dillon. [24]

Nine Inch Nails' record label at the time, Interscope Records, reportedly refused to fund the promotional tour following The Fragile's lukewarm sales. Reznor instead committed to fund the entire tour himself, which quickly sold out. He concluded that "the reality is, I'm broke at the end of the tour", but also added, "I will never present a show that isn't fantastic." [25]

The tour featured increasingly large production values, including a triptych video display created by contemporary video artist Bill Viola. [26] Rolling Stone magazine named Fragility the best tour of 2000. [27]

In 2002, the tour documentary And All That Could Have Been was released featuring performances from the Fragility 2.0 tour. While making the DVD, Reznor commented on the tour in retrospect by saying "I thought the show was really, really good when we were doing it", [28] but later wrote that "I can't watch it at all. I was sick for most of that tour and I really don't think it was Nine Inch Nails at its best." [29]


On September 21, 2009—the tenth anniversary of the album's release—a Nine Inch Nails official Twitter update hinted that a deluxe 5.1 surround audio reissue of The Fragile was in the works and was scheduled for a 2010 release. [30]

During an interview with The New York Times that was broadcast on January 7, 2011, after questioned about the album Reznor explained:

The Fragile is weird because when it came out it felt like everyone hated it to me, and now it feels like it's everyone's favorite album, fan-wise. I was probably going to save this for some other announcement, but Alan Moulder's spent a couple of months restoring all the multitracks, prepping for a surround mix, and we plan on doing that this spring, and I'm not sure when it's going to come out but it's just something I'd like to get done and there's no record better than that to get surround mixed. It has to be Alan Moulder, and we both look back at that record – I've just spent some time with him now, he's still a very good friend of mine – and the experience of doing it in the bound that we had in literally two years, every day working together on that, was one of the best times in our lives. I think, in hindsight, I should have had [The Fragile] two single records, much Radiohead style with Kid A and Amnesiac , recorded at once, broken into two digestible chunks. Hey, it is what it is, but I thought about going back, redoing bits that I would mess around with to see how it would be if I were to do that record now, but I don't know if I should phase. Sometime this year expect something to come out surround-wise. [31]

While on tour in 2014 in Australia and New Zealand, Reznor was interviewed by a local reporter and was quoted about the reissue stating:

Yeah, we've done a lot of the work for that. Really what it's come down to is with all the other stuff going on, the Fragile thing in particular, I want to make sure I get it right. You know, we've mixed everything in surround, it sounds amazing, we have a great package ready to go. I just stumbled across 40-or-so demos that are from that era that didn't turn into songs, that range from sound effects to full-fledge pieces of music, and I kind of feel like - something should happen with that.

And I think it has something to do with that package, and I just need the bandwidth to kind of calmly think about it, and decide how much effort I want to devote into that and what to do with it. I have a lot of ideas that could eat up immense amounts of time and I'm trying to weigh out - just think it through. I don't want to pull the trigger on something and go, 'Man, I should have done it in this way.' And I just haven't had a chance to be in a calm place where I can think it through completely and make that decision. [32]

"The Fragile occupies a very interesting and intimate place in my heart. I was going through a turbulent time in my life when making it and revisiting it has become a form of therapy for me. As an experiment, I removed all the vocals from the record and found it became a truly changed experience that worked on a different yet compelling level. The Fragile: Deviations 1 represents Atticus and I embellishing the original record with a number of tracks from those sessions we didn't use before. The result paints a complimentary but different picture we wanted to share."

— Reznor, in a press release for The Fragile: Deviations 1 [33]

In June 2015, an instrumental version of the album was released to Apple Music. [34] This version of the album also includes alternative versions of "The Frail", "Just Like You Imagined", "Pilgrimage", "La Mer", "The Mark Has Been Made", and "Complication", the instrumental version of "The Day the World Went Away (Quiet)", an extended version of "+Appendage", a demo version of "10 Miles High" called "Hello, Everything Is Not OK", and three previously unreleased tracks from The Fragile ("The March" and "Can I Stay Here?")

In 2017 a reissue of the vinyl version of The Fragile was released, alongside an expanded, instrumental version, titled The Fragile: Deviations 1. This version of The Fragile contains all songs in either instrumental or alternate formats, and combines them with newly released songs written and recorded during the sessions for The Fragile. Deviations 1 consists of a one-off 4×LP pressing. [35]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [36]
Christgau's Consumer Guide B [37]
Entertainment Weekly A− [9]
The Guardian Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [38]
Los Angeles Times Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [39]
NME 5/10 [40]
Pitchfork 8.7/10 [41]
Rolling Stone Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [11]
Spin 9/10 [10]
USA Today Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [8]

The Fragile received generally positive reviews from contemporary critics. [42] Mojo called it "an impressively multi-textured, satisfyingly violent sonic workout", [43] and Alternative Press found it "nothing short of astounding". [44] Edna Gundersen of USA Today called it "meticulously honed and twisted to baffle, tantalize, disarm and challenge the listener", and wrote that "the coats of polish ... can't camouflage Trent Reznor's perverse and subversive paths to musical glory." [8] Ann Powers of Spin called the album "a good old-fashioned strap-on-your-headphones experience". [10] Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote that, although he "doesn't approach suicide as he did on" The Downward Spiral, "Reznor can hide in the studio and piece together music that's as cunning, and disquieting, as his raw anger used to be." [5] Will Hermes of Entertainment Weekly viewed that, even "if [Reznor's] emotional palette is limited, it remains broader than any of his metalhead peers", and that, "right now, hard rock simply doesn't get any smarter, harder, or more ambitious than this." [9] Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times wrote that, despite its length, "this is a profoundly challenging and moving work that strikes at the hollowness of most contemporary pop-rock with bullwhip force." [39] The Guardian 's Adam Sweeting praised it as "a fearsomely accomplished mix of monster riffing, brooding melodies and patches of minimalist soul-searching". [38] Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield felt that the album's "excess is Reznor's chosen shock tactic here, and what's especially shocking is how much action he packs into his digital via dolorosa." [11]

In a negative review, Pitchfork 's Brent DiCrescenzo panned the album's lyrics as "overly melodramatic". [45] John Aizlewood of Q felt that it is "let down by Reznor's refusal to trouble himself with melody and by some embarrassing lyrics". [46] NME 's Victoria Segal panned its music as " background " and accused it of "chas[ing] 'crossover'", with "grey rock sleet masquerading as a storm beneath a haze of 'experimental' textures." [40] Scott Seward of The Village Voice facetiously commended Reznor for "once again ... pioneering the marriage of heavy guitars, moody atmospherics, electronic drones and beats, and aggressive singing. Just like Killing Joke 20 years ago." [47] Village Voice critic Robert Christgau was even less receptive, writing that "Reznor delivers double-hoohah, every second remixed till it glistens like broken glass on a prison wall. Is the way he takes his petty pain out on the world a little, er, immature for a guy who's pushing 35? Never mind, I'm told—just immerse in the music". [37]

The Fragile was included on several magazines' "end-of-year" album lists, including The Village Voice (number 14), Rolling Stone (number four), and Spin (number one). [48] In a retrospective review, The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004) gave it three-and-a-half out of five stars and wrote that, as "NIN's monumental double-disc bid for the art-rock crown, The Fragile sounds fantastic from start to finish, but there aren't enough memorable tunes underneath the alluring surfaces." [7] AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine offered similar criticism, writing that "Reznor's music is immaculately crafted and arranged, with every note and nuance gliding into the next — but he spent more time constructing surfaces than songs. Those surfaces can be enticing but since it's just surface, The Fragile winds up being vaguely unsatisfying." [36] In 2005, The Fragile was ranked number 341 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time. [49] But, even if initial reception was mixed, the album has gotten a cult following from Nine Inch Nails fans. In 2016, Exclaim! listed The Fragile at number two on their "Essential Albums" list for Nine Inch Nails, citing it as their most ambitious work and "a tragic if not stunning portrait of depression." [50] Pitchfork would later reassess the album in their review of the album's 2017 "Definitive Edition", with a score change going from 2.0 to 8.7, describing it as Reznor's "magnum opus... The Fragile scrapes the sky like never before." [41]

Commercial performance

The Fragile debuted atop the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 229,000 copies, earning the band their first number-one album on the chart. [51] The album fell to number 16 the following week, becoming the biggest drop from number one at the time. [52] On January 4, 2000, the album was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), [53] and by May 2005, it had sold 898,000 copies in the United States. [51]

Steven Hyden of The A.V. Club writes that Reznor developed Nine Inch Nails from its role as a prominent rock act and by the time he finished recording The Fragile, alternative rock's overall popularity declined with several of Nine Inch Nails' contemporaries being disestablished or displaced by newer bands. Hyden also attributes the album's commercial performance to the rise of file-sharing on the Internet, which deviated from the alternative rock movement's emphasis on "fetishized vinyl" and "music festivals as peaceful places for young people to commune and dream of better futures." [54]

Track listing


All tracks written by Trent Reznor, except where noted.

Left disc
1."Somewhat Damaged" (writers: Reznor, Danny Lohner)4:31
2."The Day the World Went Away"4:33
3."The Frail"1:54
4."The Wretched"5:25
5."We're in This Together"7:16
6."The Fragile"4:35
7."Just Like You Imagined"3:49
8."Even Deeper" (writers: Reznor, Lohner)5:48
10."No, You Don't"3:35
11."La Mer"4:37
12."The Great Below"5:17
Total length:54:51
Right disc
1."The Way Out Is Through" (writers: Reznor, Keith Hillebrandt, Charlie Clouser)4:17
2."Into the Void"4:49
3."Where Is Everybody?"5:40
4."The Mark Has Been Made" (includes a hidden intro to "10 Miles High")5:15
6."Starfuckers, Inc." (writers: Reznor, Clouser)5:00
8."I'm Looking Forward to Joining You, Finally"4:13
9."The Big Come Down"4:12
10."Underneath It All"2:46
11."Ripe (With Decay)"6:34
Total length:48:48


This release is identical to the CD pressing, with the exclusive addition of "+Appendage" attached to the end of "Please".

Vinyl / 2017 Definitive Edition

This release of The Fragile contains the songs "10 Miles High" and "The New Flesh" (both of which were later released as part of the "We're in This Together" and "Into the Void" singles, dependent on territory.) "The Day the World Went Away", "The Wretched", "Even Deeper" and "La Mer" are all extended mixes, while the opening and closing of each side eliminates the crossfading between songs found on the CD and cassette versions, due to the nature of the vinyl medium. Finally, "Ripe" was shortened by removing the conclusive "(With Decay)" portion of the song. All of these changes made for the vinyl carry over to both the digital and the vinyl Definitive Edition pressings, released digitally in 2016 and physically in 2017.

The Fragile: Deviations 1

The Fragile: Deviations 1
The Fragile - Deviations 1 (2016).jpg
Compilation album by
ReleasedDecember 23, 2016 (2016-12-23)
RecordedJanuary 1997 – February 1999
StudioNothing Studios (New Orleans)
Label The Null Corporation
Nine Inch Nails chronology
Not the Actual Events
The Fragile: Deviations 1
Add Violence
Halo numbers chronology
"Halo 29"
"Halo 30"
"Halo 31"
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [55]
Pitchfork 6.6/10 [56]

The Fragile: Deviations 1 is an alternate version of The Fragile that contains all of the original songs in either instrumental or alternate forms, and combines them with newly released tracks written and recorded during the sessions for The Fragile. Deviations 1 consists of a one-off, limited edition four-LP pressing that was not made available on CD. [35]

Critical reception

The Fragile: Deviations 1 received generally positive reviews. Neil Z. Yeung of AllMusic recommended that fans listen to and understand the original album first before delving into Deviations 1. [55] Ultimately, he said that the release "serves as both a sonic time capsule and a reminder of one of NIN's most rewarding and underrated efforts." [55] Writing for Pitchfork , Sean T. Collins found Deviations 1 interesting but simultaneously perplexing, saying "Far too many of Deviations' freshly vocal-free songs sound like karaoke versions rather than instrumentals that can stand on their own. The result is a listening experience that outstays its welcome on a song-by-song basis, let alone over the course of its massive 150-minute running time." [56]

Track listing


Credits adapted from AllMusic, [57] and The Fragile liner notes. [58]

Additional musicians and production personnel




RegionCertification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada) [74] 2× Platinum200,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) [75] Silver60,000^
United States (RIAA) [53] 2× Platinum898,000 [51]

^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also

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"Closer" is an industrial rock song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their second studio album, The Downward Spiral (1994). It was released on May 30, 1994 as the album's second single. Most versions of the single are titled "Closer to God", a rare example in music of a single's title differing from the title of its A-side. Labeled "Halo 9", the single is the ninth official Nine Inch Nails release.

Tapeworm (band) musical ensemble

Tapeworm is a defunct side project of Nine Inch Nails which existed in various forms from 1995 to roughly 2004. Tapeworm never released any recordings, but was frequently referenced in interviews. The band started as a side-project between Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and live-band members Danny Lohner and Charlie Clouser. Through the years the group expanded and evolved numerous times to include artists such as Maynard James Keenan, Atticus Ross, and Alan Moulder, effectively turning the project into a supergroup. After many years of rumors and expected release dates, Reznor announced the end of the project in 2004.

Nine Inch Nails live performances band that plays Industrial rock

Nine Inch Nails, an industrial rock band fronted by Trent Reznor, has toured all over the world since its creation in 1988. While Reznor—the only official member until adding Atticus Ross in 2016—controls its creative and musical direction in the studio, the touring band performs different arrangements of the songs. In addition to regular concerts, the band has performed in both supporting and headlining roles at festivals such as Woodstock '94, Lollapalooza 1991 and 2008, and many other one-off performances including the MTV Video Music Awards. Prior to their 2013 tour, the band had played 938 gigs.

<i>Year Zero</i> (album) 2007 studio album by Nine Inch Nails

Year Zero is the fifth studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released by Interscope Records on April 17, 2007. Conceived while touring in support of the band's previous album, With Teeth (2005), the album was recorded throughout late-2006, and was produced by frontman Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. It was the band's last album for Interscope, following Reznor's departure the same year over a dispute of overseas pricing.

<i>Ghosts I–IV</i> 2008 studio album by Nine Inch Nails

Ghosts I–IV is the sixth studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on March 2, 2008 by The Null Corporation. It was the band's first independent release, following their split from longtime label Interscope Records the prior year. The album's production team included Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, studio collaborators Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder, and instrumental contributions from Alessandro Cortini, Adrian Belew, and Brian Viglione.

Discipline (Nine Inch Nails song) song by Nine Inch Nails

"Discipline" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their seventh studio album, The Slip (2008). It was released on April 22, 2008 as a single from the album. It is the band's first single since severing its ties with Interscope Records and publishing music independently.

<i>The Slip</i> (album) 2008 studio album by Nine Inch Nails

The Slip is the seventh studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on May 5, 2008 digitally on the Nine Inch Nail website, and on CD on July 22 by The Null Corporation. It was their second release in 2008, following their sixth album Ghosts I-IV, released four months prior. The album was produced by frontman Trent Reznor with collaborators Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder.

Performance 2007 Tour

Two months before the release of their fifth full-length album, Year Zero, industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails began a new tour, officially called Performance 2007. The tour initially started off as a 'best-of' tour but later transformed into a direct Year Zero support tour.

"Mr. Self Destruct" is a song by American industrial rock act Nine Inch Nails. Written by frontman Trent Reznor, co-produced by Flood and recorded at Le Pig in 1993, it is the opening track of The Downward Spiral (1994), and predicts the album's "ugly" aesthetic and mostly "angry" tone. The song also gives a lyrical background of the album's protagonist.

Piggy (song) single by Nine Inch Nails

"Piggy" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their second studio album, The Downward Spiral (1994). It was written by Trent Reznor, co-produced by Flood, and recorded at Le Pig. It was released in December 1994 as a promotional single from the album. The song is known for being Reznor's only live drumming performance.

<i>Hesitation Marks</i> 2013 studio album by Nine Inch Nails

Hesitation Marks is the eighth studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on August 30, 2013, by Columbia Records. It was the band's first release in five years, following The Slip (2008), as well as their only release on Columbia. Like previous albums, the album was produced by frontman Trent Reznor alongside longtime collaborators Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder.

Copy of a 2013 single by Nine Inch Nails

"Copy of a" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released as the second single from their eighth studio album, Hesitation Marks (2013). It was originally released as a free digital download on Amazon in the United States and the United Kingdom for a limited time starting on August 13, 2013. On August 20, the song was made available on the iTunes Store. It was also made available to those who had pre-ordered the album from Nine Inch Nails' official online store, together with "Came Back Haunted" in a zip file labeled "Hesitation Marks Singles".

<i>Not the Actual Events</i> 2016 EP by Nine Inch Nails

Not the Actual Events is the fifth extended play (EP) by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. It was released physically on December 23, 2016, under Trent Reznor's own label The Null Corporation, while those who had pre-ordered received a download link a day early. The second Nine Inch Nails EP of original material following Broken (1992), it marks longtime collaborator Atticus Ross's first appearance as an official member of the band. The digital pre-orders included a "physical component" that was shipped in early March 2017. The EP is the first in a trilogy released between 2016-2018, preceding Add Violence (2017) and the band's ninth studio album Bad Witch (2018).

<i>Add Violence</i> 2017 EP by Nine Inch Nails

Add Violence is the sixth extended play by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. Released through The Null Corporation and Capitol Records on July 19, 2017, it is the second in a trilogy of releases, following the EP Not the Actual Events (2016) and preceding the band's ninth studio album Bad Witch (2018). It was produced by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.


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