Look, ‘The Downward Spiral’ has ‘Closer’, ‘March Of The Pigs’, ‘Hersey’, ‘Reptile’, ‘Piggy’ AND ‘Hurt’. That’s enough for most albums to be remembered 50 years down the line. The Downward Spiral has about five more tracks on par with these, so needless to say its special. This album sounds completely different to ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ by the way with a total change from the synth-pop sound to more industrial, rough messy sound.
If you think of the person behind the lyrics and sound of the album while listening to it would would get a good idea of what Trent Reznor was going through at the time. He says in an interview in 1994 that the album is who he is. He went through some tough times, and that transferred itself into the album. By really listening to it (as you should with very album you spend money on) you hear a man in turmoil with a band helping him build around it. Its so gritty, its fucking loud, and it almost scrapes by you at times. Reznor has said in other interviews that it was easier to get people to listen to the whole album rather than let them hear one song. You can’t listen to ‘Closer’ and expect the album to sound just that way, because once you hear a track like ‘Mr. Self Destruct’ in all its madness you’ll be turned off. Its the album as a whole that that tells the story. Hearing one song and rating it would be like reading the last chapter of a book and saying its shit.
Of course I have to mention that tracks such as ‘Hurt’ are incredible. Johnny Cash took it and made it more appealing to the masses but that cover is one of the best covers ever too. Reznor really lives in that song, it couldn’t be more honest which makes it kind of terrifying to listening to in depth. He sings “Nothing can stop me now ‘cos I just don’t care anymore” in ‘Piggy’, an excellent song that threatens to tip over the edge but actually runs through perfectly. Its hard to know what to expect once he says this because he could go crazy, so it sets an exciting tone for the rest of the album. ‘A Warm Place’ showcases their softer side in what is a short but sweet instrumental track that can almost be used to unwind, which is strange in an album like this. I’m not lazy because I enjoy writing these, but I won’t go any further in the way of decribing each song because it geuinely is the album that is special.
I took a chance when I bought ‘The Downward Spiral’, it wasn’t really a sound I was into at the time but I figured that such a well respected group and man must have something special to offer. Its always good to broaden your scope with music because it can change the way you see everything, there’s loads of bands I wouldn’t have dreamt of listening to when I was 18 but now I own multiple albums of their’s. Someone has given a year or two of blood sweat and tears to put an album together so its important to remember that and respect it. And yes I know that might include someone like Biebs (shudder). So if you see a picture of Trent Reznor looking like a lunatic you shouldn’t avoid him, just take a look at where he’s coming from because its a crazy and wonderful place!