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7. Nine Inch Nails

The Fragile

  • Nothing/Interscope

Trent Reznor, the industrial art rocker behind Nine Inch Nails, has come up with a sprawling double disc that's filled with frenzy, fever, anguish, rage and paranoia — all wrapped into a devastatingly potent sonic attack. Awash in distorted keyboards, nearly unrecognizable guitars and crushing beats, the album provides a cacophonous counterpoint to the teen pop, rap, and hip-hop that have been dominating charts at the century's end. Of special note is a wondrous series of songs midway through the first CD, starting with the guitar maze of the title cut and continuing through the classical/industrial explosion on the instrumental “Just Like You Imagined,” the sonar propulsion of “Even Deeper,” and the chaotic “Pilgrimage,” which sounds like the score for a biblical epic in Y2K.

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