Acclaimed Albums – The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 209/250Title: The Downward Spiral
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Year: 1994
Position: #165

For the last decade, I have had this tradition to have something not Christmassy on as I am wrapping gifts. Previously I watched Terriers, Justified or a true crime documentary like Mommy Dead and Dearest – this year I went for a bit of different tact by going with my first listen of The Downward Spiral. It’s a weird image, Nine Inch Nails playing with the Christmas lights on as I wrap presents – but I cannot say that it didn’t keep the energy up.

I know there is one friend of mine in particular who’ll be very happy that I finally gave this album a go as he has some of this in a playlist with Britney Spears (you know who you are) – I also know there’s a work colleague of mine who’ll once again be mildly confused and impressed that this is entering my rotation (same guy that I mentioned in my post about Wu Tang). Then again, this may be as hard and distorted as I go with music before it becomes mood dependant.

In terms of genre, when I saw that this was ‘industrial rock’ I wasn’t expecting the filthy seduction of ‘Closer’ or the techno-influence in ‘Heresy’ and ‘Ruiner’. Obviously I knew that ‘Hurt’ was coming as a closing track as, other than the soundtrack to The Social Network, that’s the only Trent Reznor song that I know and that’s only because of the Johnny Cash version.

This album is angsty and horny and I think I might be in love with it. This is the sort of music that I really should have been listening to as a teenager, rather than discovering it at the age of 30. But I’ve found it now – this weird album that feels like if Prince had decided to make an hour of angst-riddled grunge-influenced industrial rock.

This is probably the final album I’ll be covering in 2019, which means I’ve fallen shy of my target from the beginning of the year. Still though, progress is progress and it’s very possible that I could be done with this cut of the list by Christmas 2020 (or June 2021 as the posts go up). As long as there are other albums I enjoy as much as this one, this could be a dash to the finish line.

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