I think we decided to dedicate December to talking about our favorite albums, right? Well, I dug deep to find one of my all-time (still) favorite albums. I don't listen to it all the time anymore, but I still get a lot of pleasure out of "Pretty Hate Machine" by Nine Inch Nails. Sometime around 1995, Nine Inch Nails got very popular and almost mainstream, but before that, they projected this amazing edginess, that I think influenced a lot of people that came after them.
1989 was a little early for me (I was nine), but I benefited a lot from having an edgy older brother. My brother was into all kinds of cool music. I still can't figure out how he knew all these cool bands- we lived way out in the sticks and this was wayyy before Al Gore invented the internet for us all to enjoy. But anyway, when he made his big switchover to CDs (circa 1993) I was the lucky recipient of his wonderful cassette collection (Cure, NIN, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, everything).
I think a good test for an album's quality is if it sounds as good to you now as it did when you were an angsty fourteen year-old. This one passes! Listening to it now, it still seems amazing. If anything, my added years only make me see how good and pure the music actually was. Like, when Trent Reznor sings, "Seems like salvation comes only my dreams / Can this world really be as sad as it fucking seems?" those lines seem really good and pure and honest to me still today.
1. Head Like a Hole
2. Terrible Lie
3. Down in It
5. Something I Can Never Have
6. Kinda I Want to
8. That's What I Get
9. The Only Time
The video for "Head Like a Hole" (from MTV, there might be an ad for a couple seconds before it starts):