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The Downward Spiral

Nine Inch Nails

1994

Buy At Rough Trade
The Downward Spiral
Album Summary

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 suicidal breaking point. The Downward Spiral features elements of industrial rock, techno and heavy metal, in contrast to the band's synth-pop-influenced debut album Pretty Hate Machine (1989), and was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Flood. In 1992, Reznor moved to 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, where actress Sharon Tate was murdered by members of the Manson Family. It was used as a studio called "Le Pig" for recording Broken (1992) and The Downward Spiral with collaborations from other musicians. The album was influenced by late-1970s rock music albums such as David Bowie's Low and Pink Floyd's The Wall in particular, and focused on texture and space. The album spawned two singles, "March of the Pigs" and "Closer", in addition to the promotional singles "Piggy" and "Hurt". "March of the Pigs" and "Closer" were accompanied by music videos, with the former shot twice and the latter's heavily censored. The Downward Spiral was a commercial success, and established Nine Inch Nails as a reputable force in the 1990s music scene, with its sound being widely imitated and Reznor receiving media attention and multiple honors, while descending into drug abuse and depression. It has been regarded by music critics and audiences as one of the most important albums of the 1990s, and was praised for its abrasive and eclectic nature and dark themes, although it was scrutinized by social conservatives for some of its lyrics. A remix album titled Further Down the Spiral was released in 1995.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.32

Votes

13584

Genres

  • Hard Rock
  • Rock

Reviews

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Wed Nov 10 2021
3

This happpened to my buddy eric

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Mon Feb 22 2021
1

could not finish. was not angry enough

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Mon Jul 19 2021
5

One of the most original and innovate rock albums of all time. Nobody combines aggression, melody, and sonic experimentation as well as Trent Reznor does.

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Thu Aug 12 2021
5

NIN taps into every feeling you’ve ever had of anger, rage, sadness, jealousy, regret, and hurt, and puts it on record. Trent Reznor communicates people’s darkest emotions and impulses here, without ever sounding inhuman. He took all of humanity’s darkest emotions and feelings and made them relatable, and that’s what drives these songs into the upper echelon.

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Tue Mar 09 2021
1

“The Downward Spiral” by Nine Inch Nails (1994) I’ve heard of this group (and have seen a lot of NIN bumper stickers) but have never listened to this album. This album goes beyond what I’m able to assess. I can only observe. Generating complex layers of unidentifiable (to me, at least) electronic sounds, the music serves as a suitable vehicle for the extraordinarily dark, obscene, nihilistic, murderous, and suicidal lyrics. I’m sure it was a commercial success. The instrumentals that I can recognize seem competently performed (drums, synthesizers, bass guitar). The vocals are unimpressive, but I can’t imagine the singer had any intention of impressing a listener like me. The lyrics are what I used to call evil, culturally destructive, harmful, hateful, and immature. I don’t use those terms anymore. The anti-cultural (anti-human) mindset of Nine Inch Nails has prevailed. My side lost. I’m reduced to sitting in the back row watching the shit show. Consider the lyric “God is dead and no one cares.” Well, this assertion can be accepted only by someone who chooses to ignore the plain evidence. A lot of people care that God is dead, including all public atheists, and also including the author of this lyric. The assertion can thus be reduced to nonsense. The lyrics on “Big Man with a Gun” don’t quite rise to the level of pornography. Self destruction is contrary to nature. But for lyricist Reznor, “nature” is probably a construct that is not even worth deconstructing. Just throw it away. Or rather leave it lying in the anti-cultural sewer for someone else to deal with. Reznor is rather occupied with self absorbed self loathing (and getting rich off it. Why, in bumper sticker sales alone, he can comfortably retire). One of the several strengths of this album (in addition to creative use of time signatures, etc.) is the conceptual unity, progressing to a self-hating conclusion. That was a difficult sentence to write. This album sounds like it could have been recorded at the site of the earlier Manson murders. It sounds like it could have contributed the mindsets of later mass murderers, thus influencing a whole string of mass murders. It was and it did. 1/5

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Fri Aug 27 2021
5

Intentionally abrasive music that grinds, gnashes, and snarls are you. Reznor is putting his production skills on full display from the word "go", using dynamics as a tool to make the loudness hit harder than ever. Drums hit you like a punch, square in the jaw. The Downward Spiral also shows Reznor's flexibility, as he from loud, exciting bangers to slow, building jams that give room for experimentation. Reznor is not afraid to work outside the box, playing into the thematic elements of mental illness and mania. He does these magnificent pieces of songwriting with each song it's incredible. Like ever frame is a painting, every song is a case study. Bring March of the Pigs of music class and dissect that marvelous piece of work. I have no reservations about the "angsty" or abrasive bits of NIN. That's kind of the whole jam. I love it. I think the front half is stronger than the first half but overall it's the best stuff to come out of the 90's.

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Fri Sep 25 2020
2

More a concept album about being an angry 90s bro than anything else. Very much captures the time but also sounds dated for it. Some of the slower jams are pretty good. "Closer" continues to age terribly and sound edgy in the worst way possible. "Hurt" is obviously fantastic but skip to the Johnny Cash version.

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Fri Apr 15 2022
5

Lost my virginity to the album.

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Thu Mar 11 2021
1

Again not worth listening to. Liked the beat for Closer but did not appreciate the lyrics. There’s another Pass from this gal.

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Fri Apr 09 2021
5

Devastating and depressing in the best possible way.

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Thu Oct 08 2020
5

Younger me loved this record. Still think Johnny's version of "Hurt" beats this one, but Trent Reznor agrees so it's cool. Favorite tracks: "March of the Pigs", "Heresy"

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Fri Mar 05 2021
5

Well shit. This is the album that I've listened to more than any other over the last year. That means that I know it really well, but it's tough to rate because I'm kind of at the end of my love affair with this album (also the world is less depressing so it doesn't fit my mood as well). After relistening to it, fuck it. This is an outstanding album from beginning to end. Easily my favorite NIN album. 5/5

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Tue Aug 17 2021
5

Possibly my favorite album of all-time. A timeless masterpiece of modern music. 10/10

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Fri Oct 01 2021
5

This is quite simply one of the greatest albums ever written. It’s still jaw droppingly fresh and it’s nearly 30 years old. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times and still feel like I hear new things. It’s easily the simplest ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I’ve dished out so far

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Thu Nov 18 2021
5

I've always had a penchant for listening to songs on repeat, ad nauseum "Closer" was one of those songs Most of The Downward Spiral is a bit screamy for me, but it gave me "Closer" so I'm rating it high Noteworthy tracks : A Warm Place + Reptile

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Thu Jan 20 2022
5

January 20th 2022. The best of this album IMO: - Piggy - March Of The Pigs - Closer - Ruiner - Eraser - Reptile - The Downward Spiral - Hurt Raw, powerful, visceral, animalistic. Sexy. Twisted. Demented. I want Trent Reznor to whisper the word "piggy" to my ears over and over again. 🤫 Same for the lyrics of "Closer". The Downward Spiral song is driving me crazy. Phenomenal album. 4.5/5

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Sat Feb 10 2024
5

Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails is not just an album, but a sonic journey into the depths of despair and self-destruction. Recorded in the infamous house where Sharon Tate was murdered, the album reflects the haunting and violent atmosphere of its location. The music is a blend of industrial, rock, and ambient elements, creating a diverse and dynamic soundscape that ranges from aggressive and distorted to calm and melancholic. The lyrics are raw and honest, expressing the inner turmoil and pain of the protagonist, who spirals down from anger and addiction to depression and suicide. The album features some of the band's most iconic songs, such as Closer, a twisted love song that samples a heartbeat and a whip, and Hurt, a poignant and powerful ballad that was later covered by Johnny Cash. Downward Spiral is a masterpiece of musical artistry and emotional intensity, and deserves a full 5 stars.

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Fri Nov 13 2020
3

Like the nick cage of music, everything either screamed or whispered

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Thu Mar 11 2021
3

Hello, old friend. I'm not too familiar with NIN, but I do like Trent Reznor, especially for his more recent work on film scores. I was telling Andrew I've listened to this twice before, both times because he recommended it (the second time I forgot I had already listened to it). Here on the third listen, I do find myself enjoying it more. Maybe it's because recognition is now on my side, as I remember a lot of the tracks. But it's a good album. Very abrasive sonically, very dark lyrically, but some songs still feature an unmistakable groove. There are a few tracks that I skip though, which prevents this from getting four stars from me. Otherwise this is a solid project. Favorite tracks: Reptile, Closer, Heresy, Hurt. Album art: Grimy and gritty I guess, but pretty boring. The earthy minimalism doesn't match the industrial, maximal music. It's recognizable at this point, but still a weak cover. 3.5/5

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Tue May 18 2021
2

I really didn't like this much. I guess it wass cool to the teenage angst in the 90s

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Tue Jan 19 2021
1

This album is too obviously crafted to unironically contain the lyrics: "I just don't care anymore" The songs are mostly dull, build up to nowhere, and I value my hearing too much to turn it up enough to actually hear the vocals on most of them. The highlight of the album is the final song, which is only interesting because Cash covered it.

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Thu Jun 03 2021
5

Not his best but still an amazing album.

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Sun Mar 07 2021
5

Not my favorite NIN album but still amazing!

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Sat Jan 23 2021
5

Love this album. Didn't even need to listen to it today. But I did.

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Fri Feb 12 2021
5

Another favorite! Amazing production. Sounds as fresh and new as it did when it came out.

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Fri Feb 05 2021
5

Gravat al poligon de Llinars

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Tue May 11 2021
5

Obra maestra del hard rock alternativo de los 90 y cumbre en la discografía de los NIN. Durísimo y desgarrador, hiperproducción ensordecedora de las que dejan heridas para toda la vida. Brutal.

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Sat Jun 12 2021
5

First couple tracks, it's pretty out there. Good though. Can tell its had a lot of thought put into it. I had already heard 'Closer' (limp Bizkit ripped it off). A lot of religious connotations. Last track 'Hurt' is one of my favourite tracks of all time. Liked it. 5/5.happily own it on vinyl

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Thu May 27 2021
5

Loved it, could be hard to hear it but is an awesome álbum

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Fri Jun 18 2021
5

The first CD I ever bought was the remix version of this album, so we go way back. Dark, sonically intense, noise in all the right places, and big dynamic shifts. Love it.

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Fri Oct 01 2021
5

Visceral, disgusting, disturbing, amazing. An album that makes me feel quezy but exhilarated every time I listen to it.

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Fri Oct 01 2021
5

Quite simply one of the greatest albums ever recorded. Masterpiece

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Sun Nov 07 2021
5

Wow I'm on a streak. I started this list because I wanted to discover new music but it's always a welcome surprise to get the classics I grew up on.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

Fantastic, don't think I've actually heard Hurt in context before and it makes it that much more powerful.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

Well, I'm not the Nine Inch Nails fan I was when I was 16, but it would be disingenuous to not give this album a 5. Trent's output after The Fragile has been largely terrible outside of Ghosts and some soundtrack work, but in the mid 90s, he was riding a creative high. Downward Spiral was more in tune with industrial's roots than a lot of his contemporaries like Skinny Puppy and Ministry but also comfortably couched in the alternative rock of the era. This was a great entry point and also a strong display of songwriting and cohesive theme and storytelling. It's not without its flaws, but it's a classic.

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Wed Nov 24 2021
5

Great music, designed to deliver emotion, which it does succesfully. Puching and gritty.

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Thu Nov 25 2021
5

A rich chocolate cake of indulgent angst, an absolute blast to listen to!

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Fri Dec 10 2021
5

Holy fucking shit!!!!!! Holy fucking shit!!!!!!!!!!!! What an incredible album. The whole thing. It's a full experience. One listen was not enough, I need so much more time with this album before I can understand and appreciate it fully. This rules so much. It's incredible. Every song is so strong. Closer is so overplayed, Hurt is so overplayed, I was not expecting to really care for either song when they came on, but every song works so fucking well when it's all put together like this. Every song is so important in the album. Every song is so great, it all blends together but absolutely stands alone. Mr. Self Destruct into Piggy is a masterful way to open an album, Closer into Ruiner is a really great transition and Ruiner overall is a really cool song with a lot going on. I don't want to go on for too long but I really can. There is so much here. This album is fantastic. I love it so much. So glad I got the chance to listen to it here.

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Sat Dec 25 2021
5

4.6 - It's funny how high school clicks have had such an impact on my musical diet even to this day. I should've listened to this album decades ago but it was a staple of the freaks and goths - groups I was too scared to associate with. I've always loved "Closer" - so much intricacy in the arrangement, and the razor edge in the lyrics appeals to a real sense of lust. Listening to the entire album, I hear Trent Reznor as a perfectionist who's painstakingly dialed in every sound, every moment to maximize impact. No detail is left examined and reexamined. But somehow it ends up sounding crisp, dynamic and dark.

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Tue Feb 22 2022
5

Yeah I love this album. Any music that has this primal feeling automatically gets some serious points from me. Another example: AVA by Model/Actriz. It has all the things that I tend to love. It has beautiful abrasiveness. It has some very interesting rhythmic ideas. It has lyrics that actually pull me into them! You cannot zone out when Trent is on the mic. This album makes me dance like a stripper and then feel really bad about doing so. That’s special.

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Fri Apr 15 2022
5

I remember all of the weird kids in middle school wore NIN and Tool shirts. And now here I am kinda loving both bands. It's weird how Trent Reznor combines so many sounds without sounding contrived. A song like Heresy has a pulsing beat and an intense screaming chorus, yet he manages to almost invoke tones of Prince in the verses. I never listened to this album until I was an adult, but I think if I would've found this at a younger (read: more angsty) age, I would've wore it out.

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Thu Jul 28 2022
5

I love The Downward Spiral. I love that it hits just as hard today, while I load my reusable earth conscience bags into my family car, as it did in 1999 sitting on my bff's floor doing our makeup to go check out guys at the mall.

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Tue Aug 16 2022
5

One I didn't enjoy back in the day but loved this time through

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Sat Sep 03 2022
5

Trent Reznor is the man who convinced me industrial music could be more than just a gimmick genre. It could be an art masterpiece. It's an album that reflects inner turmoil. On first listen, it's nothing but a wall of abrasive noise, but underneath lies layers of beautiful melodies and organization that we only get hints at times. At heart it's synthpop, with tracks like "Heresy" and "Closer" perfect for a dance groove at a rave with extreme moments that pull your attention toward the music. It's an incredibly emotional album, displaying feelings of hatred, confusion, and despair that no one else has really done before. I love the reoccurring motifs revisited in several songs which make the album feel complete as a concept album. The track ordering is well designed, with the first several songs showing the chaotic versatility that Reznor is capable of, and the last 5 songs a sense of hopelessness and despair in giving it all up. And the transitions in between are amazing. Some cuts are smooth, like the extended silence at the end of "March of the Pigs", but others can be sharp like the cut of the chaotic "Ruiner" into the mechanical horror show of "The Becoming" which fits with the themes of the protagonist's disorganized mindset. Despite being over an hour long, I wouldn't cut any songs, enjoying the whole experience from start to finish, although I could see how one could lost focus in the latter half. For me, it's a beautiful and introspective extended end. This might not even be my favorite album by NIN, but I'd argue it's their most complete and influential, and certainly one I'll revisit time and time again.

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Fri Sep 30 2022
5

I love it. This whole era of NIN from Pretty Hate to Broken to this album... I was the poster child for their target demo, minus the divorced parents, and it worked completely. Nobody sounded like this. I still don't think anyone sounds like this. If someone asks you what industrial metal is you can just hand them this album. And yet it's more than that! If there's a nit to pick, it's that I've never felt the sequencing made for the optimal listening experience. From "March of the Pigs" on this album just does not miss a beat. I love those first three songs on their own! But I think they'd be better off dispersed somewhere else on the album. Would that break up the flow of the rest of it? Maybe. But I bet there's a solution. If there's a 2nd nit to pick it's that at times the lyrics are pretty damn basic. ("God is dead. And no one cares." Kinda low hanging fruit, no?) But I think those moments are surrounded by songs like "Closer" - which I was kind of floored by how well that song holds up after 8 thousand listens - and "Hurt" and "The Becoming" which I think are much more nuanced. And for real, that out of nowhere piano-driven line of "Doesn't it make you feel better?" in "March of the Pigs" might be my favorite moment of musical cynicism of the entire decade. I really enjoyed listening to this again. If Pretty Hate Machine isn't on this list because of Kid Rock then burn down the entire internet.

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Thu Oct 13 2022
5

Goddamn, this noise inside Trent's head. The first of his soon to be many magnum opuses, The Downward Spiral has become something of a vessel whose blood still flows with increasing speed nearly thirty years after its release. Regardless of the place that housed its gestation, shock over some of the lyrical features of the songs contained and the surprising grip it held over some of America's most revered musicians, this was the beginning of a bountiful road for Trent Reznor as he rose from respectable industrialist to one of the most acclaimed composers of our time.

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Thu Oct 13 2022
5

It’s been a while, but today we have an album I’m already somewhat familiar with. I think I peaked in strangeness a few years ago when I performed in a burlesque show to around 10 people, performing as a vicar that strips and turns into a leopard to the sound of Closer by Nine Inch Nails. Songs I already knew: all of them Favourites after listening: March Of the Pigs, Closer, Hurt Despite this not exactly being a new album, it feels it could easy be the soundtrack to a cyberpunk story. The music sounds far ahead of its time, blending aspects of metal and techno into something that just works excellently. You can also see how Trent Reznor went on to win Oscars for soundtracks. The lyrical theme is very emo - but before emo was really a genre. And instead of crying-angst, it’s very much punch-myself-in-the-face-angst without crossing the line into more cringy territory (cough… Limp Bizkit… cough). Overall, not only a great album to listen to when you need to release frustration, but a genuinely excellent album I can easily enjoy at any time. To my ears, this is perfection.

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Wed Dec 28 2022
5

An absolute masterpiece of texture, soundscape, and emotion. I'm even more upset at my high-school self for sticking my nose in the air at this type of music and missing out on going to see them live.

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Mon Jan 30 2023
5

This is an album that I have owned on CD since it was released in the 90s. As an angsty teenager, NIN was in constant rotation. They were my gateway to industrial music. When I was younger, I dug this album because it was abrasive and angry. It captured a lot of the emotions I was feeling at the time. The overall concept of the album was lost on me. As an adult I can appreciate the album tells the story of the destruction of man, his downward spiral. While I still listen to many of these songs today, I can admit, I have not listened to this album from start to finish in probably 20 years. It felt like I was visiting with an old friend. As a now 40-something, I can still appreciate this album's chaotic beauty. Nostalgia be damned. This album is still a masterpiece.

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Mon Feb 27 2023
5

Another album that I can't believe I haven't been listening to for years.

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Sat Mar 18 2023
5

Phenomenonenal album. It came out at a great time. 1994 was a year of love, lust, heart break, experimenting with drugs and self destruction but most of all being plagued by crippling depression that I hid from the world. Downward Spiral soundtracked those times. Thankfully it was a guide to getting through it all. Amazing music too

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Mon Jan 15 2024
5

Initial song is either terrible on Spotify or produced to intentionally be unsettling. Immediately understand what "texture and space" meant in the wiki entry. What great descriptive language. Really unsure about the album until roughly halfway through. Then it absolutely becomes incredible. 100% see why Raznor gets the production credits he now has. This album is incredibly well produced even if material and style are dark and heavy for my personal taste. One of the few concept albums that delivers on its premise fully. It starts so disorientating and then morphs into this angry, dramatic rise and fall. 100% puts me in the headspace even if my personal depression has more sadness and melancholy vs. the anger here.

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Tue May 07 2024
5

At the time of my listening this is my favorite album and is likely top for my 2024 play time on Amazon Music. A literal downward spiral put to music, this album is hauntingly angry. Lyrics are brutal, vulgar, but necessary to paint the picture of an addict that is spiraling out of control. Dark themes and imagery are present throughout the album. The instrumentals hold up to this day and some rather recognizable beats, riffs have been recognizable to me since I was a kid (Closer, Hurt, March of the Pigs). The anger and themes may not appeal to everyone but I consider the Downward Spiral a masterpiece concept album for it’s strong imagery and emotion. “Everyone I know goes away in the end.”

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Tue May 07 2024
5

crushing, dark, sick. definite must listen. I'd say the first five tracks are all incredible blends of accessible but still authentic industrial music. After that, not every track hits as hard. I enjoy the two ambient tracks (a warm place and the downward spiral) along with "big man with a gun" and the closer "Hurt" is a perfect song. I know everyone goes off on the johnny cash version but I prefer this one. I think each time i revisit and get more exposed I'm able to get through the back half easier as its not that the songs are bad (I like ruiner, eraser, reptile etc) but this genre/album is just a lot to take in for both its volume levels, sound palettes and subject matter. Definite a worthwhile listen but just prepare your ears.

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Thu Jun 17 2021
4

I learned a lot of things about this album today: that it was recorded in the Sharon Tate house, that it's more than Hurt and the "fuck you like an animal" song, and that you can hear shades of Reznor's future film soundtrack work in it. A lot more complex than I gave it credit for. Best track: Hurt

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Sat Jan 30 2021
4

This album is a doozie! Overall I appreciate the minimal/maximal approach they take, ebbing in and out of quiet understatement and overblown soundscapes. At a few moments some of the sexual aggression felt disturbing. Some excellent songs here though including some classics (Hurt, Closer), and a very good album.

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Mon May 17 2021
4

Noisy, dissonant, complex yet captivating, explosive, aggressive, beautifully discordant, dark and powerful

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Tue Nov 09 2021
4

I didn't properly appreciate Nine Inch Nails until a few years ago but I now think they/he are excellent. The sound design is always first rate. There's a lot of noise but that's usually underpinned by a strong groove or melody. Definitely music to get lost in. And obviously it's bleak AF, so there's points for that... I'll give it a 4 or 4.5. I don't think it maintains the same quality over the whole 65 minutes, but then it isn't easy to match classics like Closer and Hurt.

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Mon Jun 05 2023
4

4 Not the first album to chronicle a nervous breakdown - Pink Floyd’s The Wall had done so 15 years prior (and 20 spots ago on this list) - but the first to do so so viscerally and aggressively. If you weren’t prone to a breakdown before listening, you probably are now. This album is violent, and it was created in a setting of violence. Frontman Trent Reznor wrote and recorded this entire album at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles, CA - also known as the home that actress Sharon Tate and three of her friends were brutally murdered in by members of the Manson Family. And while those violent themes may be off-putting for some, somehow they’re blended with a cross-genre fusion of industrial music and introspective lyrics in such a way that, regardless of your typical musical taste, it’s hard not to find the album compelling, or even borderline catchy at times. While crude, lines like “God is dead/And no one cares/If there is a Hell/I’ll see you there” and “I wanna fuck you like an animal/I wanna feel you from the inside/I wanna fuck you like an animal/My whole existence is flawed/You get me closer to God” are about as catchy as the industrial genre can get. Speaking of the latter, despite its outright vulgarity (or maybe because of it), Closer is one of the best and most enjoyable songs here, second probably only to Hurt. However, because of the song’s success as a single, many see it as a glorification of primal sex and completely miss the contextual emphasis on self-loathing and mutilative tendencies. Honestly, I’m not sure which is better. On a slightly lighter note, I wrote this song in as a submission for my high school’s graduating class song. It didn’t win. The back half isn’t quite as strong as the first, though it does a great job of maintaining the palpably hopeless atmosphere throughout, ultimately culminating into one of the single best and most painful closings of an album of all-time in Hurt. And I’m sorry, but I have to say it - the original is better than Johnny Cash’s. Johnny Cash’s version is excellent and especially impactful when paired with the music video, but there's a well-crafted feeling of isolation in Nine Inch Nails’ version that evokes a sense of utter despair so well. I know Cash’s version isn’t necessarily meant to convey the same message or feeling, so maybe it’s not fair to compare the two, but ultimately the NIN version is the one I found myself coming back to more frequently. Great album, but not the kind you return to often (or at least I hope you don’t). Happy birthday, Dad!!

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Mon Nov 13 2023
4

I guarantee that there are very few people in this world who could recall (let alone quote) this, but once upon a time, I actually said to someone, "I used to listen to NIN - Pretty Hate Machine was the best. But Trent sold out, man. The Downward Spiral Sucks." I look back upon those days and I simply wish there had been a wiser man around who could have caned me for my ignorance. I have to admit that of all the things that shame me in my life (and there are quite a few), this was one of the big ones. However, as usual, I am going off track.

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Sat May 04 2024
4

Dark and brooding, furious and horny, desperately nihilist but oddly life affirming in its pure heavy catharsis. NIN combines the moody goth synth sounds of Depeche Mode with the relentless intensity of Big Black. This is like a prototype for Nu-Metal, minus the rapping: the grooves that turn into riffs, the confessional verses that turn into tortured screaming choruses, the fusion of metal and electronica. Reznor's efforts to explore mood and texture are a huge success, this is an album you can see when you close your eyes: rust, char, ooze, scratches scrawl and scar...you know, goth shit.

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Sun May 12 2024
4

Having an industrial noise rock tune from a depressive album like this become a sex anthem is a pretty good job.

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Sat Jan 30 2021
3

Trent Reznor certainly has a unique and original sound. And this is probably his strongest album. I used to own this album and a couple NIN Eps back when I was a teenager but ended up trading them back to get something else cause there was just never a time/place to play them. I give him big points for his sonic inventiveness in incorporating samples and noise and all that texture/atmosphere but I find the relentlessly dark/heavy mood and lyrics to be absolutely exhausting/draining by the end. I'd probably enjoy this much more as an instrumental album. Amazing that "closer" was a hit single. That post "Nevermind" era was incredible the way it opened the floodgates for things like this to at least temporarily become part of the mainstream.

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Wed Dec 07 2022
3

Very industrial. Unique sound. Lyrics are cringe AF at times.

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Sat Feb 20 2021
2

Not good. I hate the songs that talk about sex because I know from Hurt that he knows how to write songs, he just chooses to be shitty.

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Sat May 22 2021
2

Too indistinguishable from noise, but Closer

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Mon May 10 2021
2

Not my cup of tea. Some smart transitions, but it didn't make itself an enjoyable and memorable experience given my music taste

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Tue May 18 2021
2

Ehh interesting enough. Just not my style

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Mon Oct 03 2022
2

Everything about this album, even the chaos, feels like a purposeful choice with a specific point of view. It's emotional and demands attention. That being said, a lot of this album makes me feel a little ill. The opening lyrics of Closer make me deeply uncomfortable. The whole album is about self-destruction but that song and Big Man with a Gun very explicitly detail how that self-destruction violently drag others down too and the glorification of those darker thoughts have always left me on edge.

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Tue Feb 28 2023
2

I thought I liked Nine Inch Nails more than this. I didn't listen to them much outside of their hits. Most of this is just muddied with too much going on and poor mixing. The production sucks. I thought my headphones were fucked up when I put this on. Hey, let's have 23 "instruments", and crank them all to 11. Then we'll turn the vocals down to 5. That was probably smart actually because most of the lyrics sound like a 14 year old wrote them. I still can't help but get nostalgic when Closer comes on. A Warm Place was by far the best track. Beautiful ambient piece without any vocals to ruin it. 9/10 for that track. Obviously, Hurt is another one to pull from the wreckage here. I can't for the life of me figure out why this album is so beloved by anyone outside of depressed teens. It's not unlistenable, but it's also not good. I was pretty relieved when it was over. 5/10

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Mon Apr 01 2024
2

I'm sorry I know a lot of you guys fw Trent but I'm gonna be honest I don't really get it. Most of this stuff is barely listenable.

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Thu Apr 04 2024
2

Tbh, it was a pretty hard listen for me. sounded more like 9inch nails on a chalkboard TO ME. i’ve listened to obscure artists/bands so i’m willing to give them another shot but it was rough.

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Fri Apr 05 2024
2

Too dark and angry for me. But cool to see early Trent and hear nuggets of what he gets to years later.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
1

Sorry, just not my cup of tea. I don't enjoy the screaming and dissonant tones and explicit content.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
1

I know there is a lot of love for trent and nine inch nails but I didnt enjoy the album.

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Tue Jan 19 2021
1

Bad, can’t understand anything

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Sun Jan 17 2021
1

Couldn't stomach it. Too noisy, too much of an assault. Life's too short and there's too much good music to bother persevering!

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Wed Mar 10 2021
1

Just typical Trent Reznor/NIN music. Never my thing. Closer was the best song on this. Hurt was also on this. 3/10.

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Sun Jan 17 2021
1

Oh dear! The Becoming was the first track to play on my shuffle. Don't know if I will be able to listen to the whole album? A Warm Place was ok, but like every other track it featured a lot of industrial noise. Difference between noise and music? Mainly 'listened' to this whilst drying my hair, so hairdryer drowned out most of it.

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Wed Feb 24 2021
1

I think this album would make a great soundtrack for a Fast and Furious movie but I did not enjoy listening to it.

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Wed Feb 24 2021
1

Lots of nope - I gave it a shot

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Wed Feb 24 2021
1

So I’ve actually heard this one before and remembered hating it. There were moments where the drums made me feel like I was almost listening to music but.. no I still really don’t like it. Still can’t believe Johnny Cash was like - yea I could cover this.

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Mon Mar 29 2021
1

A bit too heavy for me, i don’t really enjoy the vocals on most tracks, I prefer more melodic music. Though I can appreciate the industrial drum sounds. I really love “Closer”, it feels so funky and I can hear the influence of that song on bands like AWOLNATION.

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Sun Apr 25 2021
1

I don't really get it. Not my sort of thing.

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Wed Nov 10 2021
1

I'd been meaning to listen to this album for years, so was intrigued when it came up as today's album. Listened, and it's dreadful. Tuneless angsty vocals, inane lyrics that a 12 year old could have written. Exact same bag of tricks as that other 90's gimmick Marilyn Manson.

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Mon Dec 04 2023
1

1/5. If you enjoy listening to rhythmic static over the course of an hour, then this is the album for you!

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Wed Dec 27 2023
1

What a horrible, ugly album. This is the epitome of ugly, dirty, grungy, edgy, "I hate god", postmodern trash. Trent is too lazy to hire a real drummer, so he uses an awful drum machine. The whole album just sounds like static with screaming. The whole thing is just an effort to piss off social conservatives. And if that was the goal, Reznor succeeded. Robert Bork was correct to point to this album as an example of cultural decline. It's meaningless, nihilistic, and adds no value to the world. If you disagree with me, consider this. "If there are so many religions, gods, beliefs, etc., how do we know which one is real?", says the postmodernist. Answer: the one you hate. NIN takes the beauty of cathedrals, the peace of a loving family, the community of a church, and angrily spits at all of it, childishly spewing shock content in an edgy nihilistic rage. If you find yourself wondering why we no longer build cathedrals and all modern architecture is horrifically bereft of beauty, the answer lies in the postmodern trash as exemplified by this album's degeneracy.

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