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Favorite Nine Inch Nails Album – Readers Poll

Trent Reznor
Sean Gardner, Getty Images

Today (May 17), we ‘Wish’ a happy 47th birthday to Trent Reznor, the mastermind behind some of the most darkly genius works of the last few decades as the leader of Nine Inch Nails.

For our Readers Poll today, we’re looking back on his work with Nine Inch Nails and debating the band’s best album. It’s hard to argue against his debut disc, 1989′s ‘Pretty Hate Machine.’ The industrial disc broke out with ‘Head Like a Hole’ taking off in 1990. The album also featured the club-ready lead single ‘Down in It,’ the haunting ‘Something I Can Never Have’ and the angst-driven ‘Terrible Lie.’

The 1992 EP ‘Broken,’ while technically not a full-length album, is standout work in the NIN catalog. The disc features NIN classic likes ‘Wish’ and ‘Happiness in Slavery.’

As good as ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ and ‘Wish’ are, ‘The Downward Spiral’ was the disc that put NIN on the mainstream map. You couldn’t go anywhere in 1994 without hearing ‘Closer’ booming through someone’s speakers. ‘March of the Pigs’ became a mosh pit anthem, and audiences embraced Trent at his most vulnerable with the set closer ‘Hurt’ that would later be covered by Johnny Cash.

It took five years to Trent’s next record, but 1999′s ‘The Fragile’ showed why with its double album-status. The disc went deeper than most of Reznor’s records, with ‘The Day the World Went Away,’ ‘We’re in This Together,’ ‘Into the Void,’ and ‘Starf—ers, Inc.’ among the highlights. After building a reputation for hardcore, in-your-face music, this double-disc showed some range with its more melodic take.

Another long delay followed, with ‘With Teeth’ arriving in 2005. The album title said it all as Reznor reclaimed the bite missing from ‘The Fragile,’ with cuts like ‘The Hand That Feeds’ and ‘Only’ delivering full-on attitude. ‘Every Day Is Exactly The Same’ showed Reznor digging into his introspective side again.

Fans wouldn’t have to wait long for ‘Year Zero,’ Reznor’s concept album. The 2007 disc showed the singer getting political with the single ‘Capital G,’ and rediscovering his hard-hitting roots with ‘Survivalism.’ The album has become a cult favorite for fans who’ve embraced the story and there’s still talk even now of Reznor adapting it for a television project.

‘Ghosts I-IV’ saw Reznor branching out on his own without the major label system tying him down, and it gave audiences an idea of how his next few years would go. The disc was primarily an improvisational and instrumental effort that the singer would introduce as an online-only pay-what-you-want release. It would eventually be released in physical form.

And finally, Reznor used the element of surprise again to provide fans with ‘The Slip,’ an effort that was issued for free. ‘Discipline’ proved to be the radio single, but the album was full of new gems like ‘Echoplex,’ ‘Head Down,’ ‘Letting You.’

So there you have it, a lot of great Nine Inch Nails material. Make your pick for the best Nine Inch Nails album in the poll below.

 

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