My favorite 100 albums of all time: #16 ("Broken")

Album Cover "Broken" by Nine Inch NailsJust how loud and angry can an album be, without devolving into noise? With Broken Nine Inch Nails tells us, pretty fucking loud and angry.

The follow up to Pretty Hate Machine, Broken is an EP that barely clocks in over 30 minutes. Less, if you don't count the "bonus" songs that shipped on a 3-inch mini-CD with the first pressings of Broken. The proper EP is only six songs, two of which are short-ish instrumentals. You can see clearly where the rest of Trent Reznor's career is going from Broken.

The days of "a slightly harder Depeche Mode" are over. Reznor's found out about guitars, and has decided they're a good thing.

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My favorite 100 albums of all time: #45 ("Pretty Hate Machine")

Album cover "Pretty Hate Machine" by NINWhen I wrote about Hallucination Engine by Material I alluded to two albums on this list being purchased solely on the strength of a review. Nine Inch Nails' debut, Pretty Hate Machine is the other, and it was love at first listen.

The first few seconds of "Head Like a Hole" grabbed me, sort of like Depeche Mode's Black Celebration had a few rough years and bought a few Skinny Puppy albums.

"Terrible Lie" confirmed it – Reznor had taken synth pop, industrial, and all the angst ever and rolled it into something all his own. While there's some elements to "pure" industrial music that I quite like, it often devolves into noise. I enjoy harder music, but it has to still have some decent songwriting to prop it up, and NIN has it in spades.

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