Every week, I get into certain moods when it comes to music where I consistently listen to the same bands until I change it up a week later. That was definitely the case this week as for some reason I was in the mood to listen to some Nine Inch Nails. So for this week’s album of the week, I chose the album Pretty Hate Machine. The album was released on October 20, 1989 and it was the debut album from the band that at the time featured Trent Reznor (vocals, arranger, programming, production, engineering), Chris Vrenna (programming, digital editing), and Richard Patrick (Guitar). The album was very successfu for the band as it peaked at number 75 on the Billboard Top 200 charts (it spent 115 weeks on the charts) and it went 3X platinum. According to one report, it was the first independent record to achieve platinum status ever. A lot of it sounds immature to me now. At first it totally sucked. I became completely withdrawn. I couldn’t function in society very well. And the LP became a product of that. It’s quite small scale, introverted, claustrophobic – that’s the feel I went for.” That is what Trent said in 1991 when he reflected on the album.
1. Head Like A Hole– A track that starts off sounding like your prototypical industrial song before it kicks in to a perfect marriage of drum machine beats and angst. This was the second single off the album and one of the more popular tunes. 5/5
2. Terrible Lie– One of my favorite tracks off the record that sounds a machine press with synths and cool electronic beats in a track about a man who is losing his faith in God due to his universe crumbling. 5/5
3. Down In It– A cool industrial dance track that reminds me a little of Ministry with the sound in a track that could be about Bipolar disorder. 5/5
4. Sanctified– that industrial beat with a cool ass bass line that always catches my attention in a track about a woman who has complete control over him. 5/5
5. Something I Can Never Have– a brilliantly eerie track with that ominous piano playing with the machine like drum beat in a track that talks about unreciprocated love. 5/5
6. Kinda I Want To– The track has such an 80’s dance beat to it in a track that is about a man struggling with a tabooish (devilish) temptation. 4/5
7. Sin– a very industrialized Depeche Mode like track that talks about sexual temptations once again. 4/5
8. That’s What I Get– Another synth heavy track with effects in a track about being heartbroken. 4/5
9. The Only Time– a bass driven track with the synth beats in a track about the infatuation with a new girl. 4/5
10. Ringfinger– This track contains samples of Prince’s Alphabet St and Jane’s Addiction’s Had A Dad in it and its lyrics deal with not being able to please your loved one. 4/5
My Final Thoughts– I have to be honest and say that I am a huge fan of the first half of the album over the second half as you can see from my grades. Nevertheless, I still think this is one of my top three Nine Inch Nails records of all time. He literally opened the doors to industrial in mainstream America with this record. There are so many classic tracks on this album that it’s very hard to dismiss it’s importance. I am going to give the album 4.3 stars out of five for a final grade.