In other news (and people, get used to it, because it's all about Nine Inch Nails for the time being), Trent Reznor sums up what made The Fragile such difficult listening: "I can see now, clearly I was on a slippery slope headed to disaster. I couldn’t think and I was terrified. I couldn’t think clearly enough to write lyrics, really, and I didn’t have great lyrical concepts, but I could improvise in the studio indefinitely, and that record grew into this big blob of what it is, because that’s what I could do at that time - that’s the best thing I could do. I listen to it now...and I feel proud of that record, but it feels really weird to me, because it’s like, I know I’m about to walk off a cliff after I finish that record, and I can now hear insights."
I am so fucking glad he's feeling better. When that record came out, I listened to it a few times, and then had to put it away. I heard all of his usual genius there, but in a lot of ways, it was a much scarier and more shattering record even than his full metal paean to self-loathing and destruction, The Downward Spiral. The Downward Spiral was a hermetically sealed and flawless masterpiece; the emotion was extreme, but the form was 100% control. The Fragile felt courageous to me, in that it felt like less of a hard, protective casing, but there was a losing battle afoot, I could hear it, and I hated to hear that the trajectory was still downward. I wanted him to be well, and I was worried that he'd never pull it out, so that record gave me a sort of a sick feeling. I worry, people! Because, you know, I don't have enough to worry about with my own business.
I'm feeling totally gay about how stupid with excitement I am to hear the new record, and how ridiculously, mind-bogglingly thrilled I am to see his show at the end of May. It's totally epileptic and freakish, as predicted. I find it really embarrassing, because like nearly all of my hugest favorites, there's something too big and too (melo)dramatic about Trent Reznor and his bag of tricks. Here's the thing, though: listening to Nine Inch Nails is like reading Wuthering Heights: if you keep a distance from it and don't really give it your heart, it looks like a silly gothic romance - melodramatic and over the top; but, if you really picture the scene, and imagine Heathcliff frothing at the mouth over Katherine's dead body, and then let the emotional violence, self-hatred, and resulting evil sadistic behavior really sink in, and then add in the fact that everything that's so ugly and frightening in it is born out of the disappointment of true, bone-deep love, then it's a pretty fucking brilliant book. That's how Trent Reznor is: a bit over the top and loaded with drama, but at heart, full of the best thing there is, and my friends, even if it makes me the biggest gaywad on earth, I'll never deny that I FUCKING LOVE THAT ABOUT HIM beyond all sense and reason, and with the white hot passion of 1000 burning suns.