Nine Inch Nails: 10 Essential Tracks
Now in their 24th year, Reznor and his various musical collaborators have put out a full eight studio albums across their career and have a back catalogue that puts almost everyone else on the planet to shame.
Thing is, if you’re new to the Nine Inch Nails party, then there’s a lot to get your teeth into, so, to help get you started, here are 10 essential cuts from Trent Reznor’s incredible career so far.
10 - 'Wish'
Taken from the band’s 1992 EP Broken, this is barrelling audio assault, with a crushing guitar riff and nagging chorus.
8 – 'Terrible Lie'
A jagged, icy, electro anthem from Nine Inch Nails’ 1989 debut album Pretty Hate Machine, this track marries Reznor’s love of Kraftwerk’s wonky electronics and the pure power of British pop-punk. Menacing and magnificent.
7 – 'Discipline'
2008’s The Slip was given away by the band on a pay what you want scheme and often gets forgotten about. This gem however, with its looping bassline and almost groovy melody, is up there with the best of the band’s work.
6 - 'The Hand That Feeds'
Taking a more stripped down approach after the sheer scale of The Fragile, 2004’s With Teeth is a more guttural, instinctive record and ‘The Hand That Feeds’ is a perfect distillation of that. Thumping basslines, thundering drums and a chorus that feels like a wallop across the chops, this is raw, angry Reznor and it sounds amazing.
5 - 'Survivalism'
2007’s dystopian concept record Year Zero was full of bleak, lean rock songs and this is the best of the bunch. Building from fuzzy guitars and Reznor’s growling vocals to a full-on, fist-pumping, shout-a-long chorus. It’s ace.
4 - 'We're In This Together'
The highlight from 2001’s double album The Fragile, this is a surging trailblazer written when Reznor was in the depths of despair. Building to a chorus that you can howl along to at the top of your lungs, this is Nine Inch Nails at their most anthemic.
3 - 'Hurt'
Though the Johnny Cash version of The Downward Spiral’s closing number might be the more well-known these days, Reznor’s original remains the most iconic. Set against a minimal piano, this is Trent baring his soul to the world, and, almost 20 years on, it sounds just as powerful.
2 - 'Head Like A Hole'
Another classic cut from Pretty Hate Machine, this discordant mix of chilling electro, punk rock energy and stadium sized choruses introduced Nine Inch Nails to the world in a big way. To this day it remains a show stopper.
1 - 'Closer'
If one track sums up what it is brilliant about Trent Reznor’s life’s work, then it’s 'Closer'. Taken from The Downward Spiral, this six-minute track starts life as an unsettling electro track before building into a stomping twisted-disco whigout. Utterly brilliant.