The Bottom Line: Armed with nothing more than an EP, Trent Reznor came, saw, and kicked tons of a$$.
The Nine Inch Nails EP BROKEN is a soundtrack. Its the soundtrack to all those days you wake up, put the coffee on, and only find out after it's brewed that the filter was folded in and grounds have filled the carafe. Its the soundtrack for the days you get to work and find someone has wisely ignored your inbox and kindly laid their paperwork on the desk in front of your monitor so youd be sure not to miss it. BROKEN is the soundtrack for those days youre in a hurry to get home because you have to pee and youre hitting every red light because the nimrod in front of you has no idea where hes going, but hes got all day to get there.
BROKEN, Halo 5, is the sound of pure rage. And it kicks twenty kinds of a$$.
Released in September of 1992, BROKEN, while only an EP with 8 songs (2 instrumentals, and 2 hidden tracks-one of those an Adam friggin Ant cover!) has long been viewed as BROKEN the ALBUM. Sometimes a little thing like this can come along and make a big impact.
Everything Reznor said on NINs debut PRETTY HATE MACHINE, hes saying again, only tenfold. All the rage and self-hate and frustration has been amplified to the nth degree and made all the bolder. According to Wikipedia, that bastion of fact, BROKEN has a heavier sound than PHM because when Reznor and company performed Halo 2 in concert, the songs always took on a fuller, darker edge, and this new level of energy and mania is reflected in the new songs. Rumor has it, again according to Wikipedia, that Reznor was, at the time, going through hassles with his record company, which wanted a more radio-friendly, single-laden effort, but BROKEN is obviously a big fukyu to them.
And what did Trent Reznor get for his troubles? A Grammy.
Dont think youre having all the fun
You know me, I hate everyone
I remember the first time I heard BROKEN. I remember buying it. I got it at Hastings, at night. I had talked to my friend Keith on the phone that day. It was dark and getting ready to rain. Its funny how certain moments stick out for you. My second son hadnt even been born yet-hes 11 now and I remember bringing this EP home that night and listening with a huge grin plastered across my face because at that point in my life, this CD gave voice to everything I felt every day.
And I think that stands for most NIN fans. PRETTY HATE MACHINE was great, and later THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL was like a gift from God, but BROKEN . . . man, it just doesnt get any better, does it? Like I said, its a soundtrack. This is the music you play when you want to kick the world in the teeth. Those guitars like razorblade picks strumming arcs of electricity with seething vocals and lots of simple monosyllabic words full of hard consonants and fury.
I know it's all getting away, it comes to me as no surprise
I know what's coming to me is never going to arrive
fresh blood through tired skin
new sweat to drown me in
dress up this rotten carcass just to make it look alive
Yes, lots of songwriters can put that anger into words and write a song about it, and lots of songwriters can do it a very guttural, no-nonsense way that makes you throw up your devil horns, but lets be honest; very few of them can do it so perfectly the words alone read like poetry.
This is Trent Reznors genius. He is able to take the ugliness all around us and turn it into something simultaneously frightening and beautiful.
don't open your eyes you won't like what you see
the devils of truth steal the souls of the free
don't open your eyes take it from me
I have found
you can find
happiness in slavery
Simply put, BROKEN is the soundtrack to all our grey days.
Halos what have come before: