- Number of Discs: 2
- Released: September 21, 1999
- Label: Nothing
Rolling Stone - 10/14/99, p.1204 stars out of 5
- "...[Reznor's] version of Pink Floyd's THE WALL...[venting] his alienation and misery into paranoid studio hallucinations, each track crammed with overdubs until there's no breathing room....it's New Wave with its finger on the trigger..."
Spin - 11/99, pp.179-809 out of 10
- "...[Reznor's] epic portrayal of the endless, aimless inner din....THE FRAGILE is a good old-fashioned strap-on-your-headphones experience....a concept album....He tries to leap into an ocean of sound, but a breakbeat throws him back on shore..."
Entertainment Weekly - 9/24/99, pp.142-3
"...THE FRAGILE feels freshest, and most like a progression from THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL when the music struggles upward toward some sort of transcendence....hard rock simply doesn't get any smarter, harder, or more ambitious than this." - Rating: A-
Q - 12/99, p.1423 stars out of 5
- "...Reznor expertly sculpts his sounds like an electro-grunge Henry Moore..."
Alternative Press - 11/99, pp.118-95 out of 5
- "...relevant as ever....nothing short of astounding....THE FRAGILE is Reznor's bid to be not only successful but also Important. And I think he's made it..."
Kerrang (Magazine) - p.53
"[I]t really is Reznor at his multi-layered, emotionally charged, experimental best."
Mojo (Publisher) - 12/99, p.110
"...an impressively multi-textured, satisfyingly violent sonic workout..."
Tracks on Disc 1:
- 1.Somewhat Damaged
- 2.The Day the World Went Away
- 3.The Frail
- 4.Wretched, The - (remix)
- 5.We're in This Together
- 6.The Fragile
- 7.Just Like You Imagined
- 8.Even Deeper
- 10.No You Don't
- 11.Mer, La - (French)
- 12.The Great Below
Tracks on Disc 2:
- 1.The Way Out Is Through
- 2.Into the Void
- 3.Where Is Everybody?
- 4.The Mark Has Been Made
- 6.Starfuckers, Inc.
- 8.I'm Looking Forward to Joining You, Finally
- 9.The Big Come Down
- 10.Underneath It All
- 11.Ripe (With Decay)
Nine Inch Nails: Trent Reznor (vocals, various instruments, programming).
Additional personnel: Keith Hillebrandt, Charlie Clouser, Paul Decarli, Steve Duda, Clinton Bradley (programming).
Engineers include: Alan Moulder, Brian Pollack, Steve Albini.
Recorded at Nothing Studios, New Orleans. Louisiana.
THE FRAGILE was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Performance. "Starfuckers, Inc." was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.
"Into The Void" was nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.
Personnel: Denise Milfrot, Martha Prevost (vocals); Buddha Boys Choir (chant); Danny Lohner (guitar, synthesizer, drum programming); Adrian Belew (guitar); Steve Duda (violin, percussion, programming); Willie (cello); Cherry Holly (trumpet); Mike Garson (piano); Jerome Dillon, Bill Rieflin (drums); Paul Bradley, Keith Hillebrandt, Trent Reznor, Paul DeCarli, Charles Clouser (programming); Christine Parrish, Martha Wood, M. Gabriela Rivas, Di Coleman, Melissa Daigle, Rodney Sulton, Terry Rice, Gary I. Neal, Judy Miller, Buddha Debutante Choir, Tracy Hardin, Heather Bennet, Stefani Taylor, Elquine Rice, Leslie Wilson, Barbara Wilson (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Alan Moulder.
Recording information: Nothing Studios, New Orleans, LA.
Photographer: David Carson.
As the double-disc The Fragile unfurls, all of Nine Inch Nails' trademarks -- gargantuan, processed guitars, ominous electro rhythms, near-ambient keyboards, Trent Reznor's shredded vocals and tortured words -- are unveiled, all sounding pretty much how they did on The Downward Spiral. Upon closer inspection, there are new frills, yet these aren't apparent without digging. The Fragile lives up to its title once the first disc is over. There are some detours into noisy bluster (some, like the Marilyn Manson dis "Starfuckers, Inc.," work quite well) but they're surrounded by long, evocative instrumental sections that highlight Reznor's gifts for arrangement. Whenever Reznor crafts delicate, alternately haunting and pretty soundscapes or interesting sonic juxtapositions, The Fragile is compelling. Since they provide a change of pace, the bursts of industrial noise assist the flow of the album, which never feels indulgent, even though it runs over 100 minutes. There's no denying that it's often gripping, offering odd and interesting variations on NIN themes. Reznor's music is immaculately crafted and arranged, with every note and nuance gliding into the next. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine