The Fragile

The Fragile

Infobox Album
Name = The Fragile
Type = studio
Longtype = digipak
Artist = Nine Inch Nails

Released = September 21, 1999
Recorded = 1998–1999 at Nothing Studios, New Orleans
Genre = Industrial rock
Length = 103:39 (CD) 112:20 (LP) 106:25 (CS)
Label = Nothing
Producer = Trent Reznor, Alan Moulder
Reviews =
* Allmusic Rating|3|5 [ link]
* "Entertainment Weekly" (A-) [,,270840,00.html link]
* Robert Christgau (B) [ link]
* "Rolling Stone" Rating|4|5 [ link]
Last album = "Closure" (1997)
This album = "The Fragile" (1999)
Next album = "Things Falling Apart" (2000)

"The Fragile" (also known as "Halo 14") is a concept double album by American Industrial rock act Nine Inch Nails, released in 1999 on Trent Reznor's Nothing Records. The album is Nine Inch Nails' fourth major label release and the fourteenth halo. The album continues the plot of "The Downward Spiral", despite the complete change in sound and style of the album. Instead of heavily distorted instruments, and gritty industrial sounds, the album relies much more on soundscapes, electronic beats, ambient noise, and heavy metal-laden guitar, such as in the single "Starfuckers, Inc." Reznor describes the album's plot and story as "a theme of things falling apart." Reznor has also said the album is bleaker than "The Downward Spiral", despite the more aggressive, depressing tone of that album. Many songs on the album borrow bass, guitar, and keyboard lines from other songs on the album; most notably "The Frail" piano becoming "The Fragile" guitar and the bassline used in "La Mer" reappearing in "Into the Void".


The album was not as much of a commercial success as "The Downward Spiral". Despite a strong start at #1 on the Billboard Top 10, the album quickly slipped out of the Billboard Top 10 only a week after its release, and Reznor was forced to provide funding for the subsequent North American tour out of his own pocket.cite journal | title= Rock's outlook bleak, but this Nail won't bend | author= Soeder, John |journal = |date=2000-04-09] The cover artwork was designed by David Carson.

The first single, "The Day the World Went Away", was released two months before the album. "Into the Void" and "We're in This Together" proved to be the album's most successful singles. The B-side track "Starfuckers, Inc." was released on the album as a track at the last minute Fact|date=May 2008, and became "The Fragile"'s last single.

Reznor described "The Fragile" in a 1999 interview:

The song "I'm Looking Forward to Joining You, Finally" is credited in the album's booklet as "for clara", suggesting that the song's topic, like "The Day the World Went Away", is about Trent's Grandmother, Clara Clark. Fact|date=May 2008

The song "Just Like You Imagined" was featured in trailers for the movie "300".

"The Fragile" was ranked #390 in the book 'The Top 500 Heavy Metal Albums of All Time' by Martin Popoff.

Critical Response

The majority of critics responded to The Fragile positively with major publications such as Entertainment Weekly and Spin bestowing large amounts of praise upon it. Entertainment Weekly awarded the album with an A- and Spin gave The Fragile a 5/5 in addition to rating it as their favorite album of 1999. However not all critics were as receptive. Among these was Pitchfork Media who, in their review, gave The Fragile the low rating of 2/10, criticizing the album for what they considered its overly melodramatic lyrics. Since its release, however, The Fragile has become a major favorite among Nine Inch Nails' fans with many considering it Nine Inch Nails' best work.


In support of "The Fragile" the Nine Inch Nails live band reformed for the Fragility tour. The tour began in late 1999 and lasted until mid-2000, spanning Europe, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and North America. [cite news
url =
title = Quite a Contrast
first = Doug
last = Elfman
work = Las Vegas Review-Journal
date = 2000-06-02
accessdate = 2008-02-01
format = fee required
] The tour consisted of two major legs, labeled Fragility 1.0 and Fragility 2.0. The live band lineup remained largely the same from the previous tour in support of "The Downward Spiral", featuring Robin Finck on guitar, Charlie Clouser on keyboards, and Danny Lohner on bass guitar. [cite web
url =
accessdate = 2008-02-08
title = Guitarist Robin Finck Leaves GN'R To Return To NIN
date = 1999-08-04
publisher =
] cite web
url =
publisher =
accessdate = 2008-02-08
title = Nine Inch Nails Line Up European Shows, But States Must Wait
date = 1999-09-28
first = Robert
last = Mancini
] Reznor held open auditions to find a new drummer, eventually picking then-unknown Jerome Dillon.cite web
url =
title = Jerome Dillon – New With NIN
publisher = "Modern Drummer"
accessdate = 2008-02-09
last = Rashidii
first = Waleed

In 2002, the tour documentary "And All That Could Have Been" was released featuring performances from the Fragility 2.0 tour. While making the DVD, Reznor commented on the tour in retrospect by saying "I thought the show was really, really good when we were doing it",cite web
url =
title = NIN Doing Fragility DVD
author = Saraceno, Christina and Austin Scaggs
publisher = "Rolling Stone"
date = 2001-06-08
accessdate = 2008-02-01
] but later wrote that "I can't watch it at all. I was sick for most of that tour and I really don't think it was Nine Inch Nails at its best." [cite web
archivedate = 2007-05-14
archiveurl =
url =
title = Access
first = Trent
last = Reznor
authorlink = Trent Reznor
publisher = Nine Inch Nails
date = 2004-07-21
accessdate = 2008-02-01

Track listing

The CD version is the shortest of releases, missing the "Appendage" from the cassette version of "Please" as well as extended versions that appear on the vinyl release. The vinyl release is the longest version of "The Fragile", containing tracks "10 Miles High" and "The New Flesh", songs later to be released on CD singles for the single "We're In This Together". The vinyl version is missing the "Appendage" which appears at the end of the "Please" cassette version and "With Decay" which appears at the end of "Ripe" on the CD and cassette versions. The vinyl version also contains extended versions of some songs. The cassette version of the album is identical to the CD pressing, with the addition of "Appendage" tagged onto the end of "Please". Presented is the CD track listing.

headline = Disc one ("Left")

all_writing = Trent Reznor, except where noted

title1 = Somewhat Damaged
note1 = Reznor, Danny Lohner
length1 = 4:31

title2 = The Day the World Went Away
length2 = 4:33

title3 = The Frail
length3 = 1:54

title4 = The Wretched
length4 = 5:25

title5 = We're in This Together
length5 = 7:16

title6 = The Fragile
length6 = 4:35

title7 = Just Like You Imagined
length7 = 3:49

title8 = Even Deeper
note8 = Reznor, Lohner
length8 = 5:48

title9 = Pilgrimage
length9 = 3:31

title10 = No, You Don't
length10 = 3:35

title11 = La Mer
length11 = 4:37

title12 = The Great Below
length12 = 5:17

headline = Disc two ("Right")

title1 = The Way Out Is Through
note1 = Reznor, Keith Hillebrandt, Charlie Clouser
length1 = 4:17

title2 = Into the Void
length2 = 4:49

title3 = Where Is Everybody?
length3 = 5:40

title4 = The Mark Has Been Made
note4 = Contains a 30 second hidden piece of "10 Miles High" in the pregap.
length4 = 5:15

title5 = Please
length5 = 3:30

title6 = Starfuckers, Inc.
note6 = Reznor, Clouser
length6 = 5:00

title7 = Complication
length7 = 2:30

title8 = I'm Looking Forward to Joining You, Finally
length8 = 4:13

title9 = The Big Come Down
length9 = 4:12

title10 = Underneath It All
length10 = 2:46

title11 = Ripe (With Decay)
length11 = 6:34

"The New Flesh"

"The New Flesh" appears on the vinyl version of "The Fragile" (1999), disc 1 of the European and Japanese "We're in This Together" 3-disc single, and the Australian "Into the Void" single.

In "The Fragile" era, [] released "The New Flesh (version a)" (1:22) and "The New Flesh (version b)" (1:07).

While "The New Flesh" has never been played live in the traditional sense, instrumental portions of "The New Flesh" crossfaded quickly into "Pinion" formed a prerecorded intro to the "Fragility" tour shows of 1999 and 2000. The snippet was included on the DVD version of "And All that Could Have Been" (2002). Sometimes the finale of the intro featured Trent Reznor screaming "give it to me, I can take it." The same combination was used in some shows of the 2006 "With Teeth" tour.


* Tom Baker – mastering
* Adrian Belew – guitars ("Just Like You Imagined", "The Great Below", "Where Is Everybody?")
* Heather Bennet – backing vocals
* Clinton Bradley – programming, technical assistant to Bob Ezrin, programming at mastering
* Buddha Boys Choir – choir, chorus, chant
* Buddha Debutante Choir – backing vocals
* Di Coleman – backing vocals
* Charlie Clouser – programming, atmosphere, synthesizers
* Melissa Daigle – backing vocals
* Paul DeCarli – programming
* Jerome Dillon – drums ("We're in This Together")
* Dr. Dre – mixing assistant ("Even Deeper")
* Bob Ezrin – album sequencing assistant
* Mike Garson – piano ("Just Like You Imagined", "The Way Out Is Through", "Ripe (With Decay)")
* Page Hamilton – guitar ("No, You Don't")
* Tracy Hardin – backing vocals
* Leo Herrera – engineer
* Keith Hillebrandt – programming, choir, chorus, sound Design
* Danny Lohner – drum programming, ambiance, synthesizers, guitar ("Somewhat Damaged", "Just Like You Imagined", "The Great Below", "Complication")
* Clint Mansell – choir, chorus
* Alan Moulder – producer, engineer, mixing
* Dave Ogilvie – engineer
* Brian Pollack – engineer
* Steve Albini – engineer
* Trent Reznor – vocals, guitars, cello, piano, synthesizers, programming, producer
* Elquine Rice – backing vocals
* Terry Rice – backing vocals
* Bill Rieflin – drums ("La Mer")
* Barbara Wilson – backing vocals
* Leslie Wilson – backing vocals
* Steve Duda – programming, choir, chorus, percussion, violin
* Eric Edmonson – choir, chorus
* Cherry Holly – trumpet
* Doug Idleman – choir, chorus
* Marcus London – choir, chorus
* Denise Milfrot – vocals ("La Mer")
* Judy Miller – backing vocals
* Gary I. Neal – backing vocals
* Matthew Nicholls– backing vocals
* Christine Parrish – backing vocals
* Adam Persaud – choir, chorus
* Martha Prevost – vocals
* M. Gabriela Rivas – backing vocals
* Nick Scott – choir, chorus
* Rodney Sulton – backing vocals
* Stefani Taylor – backing vocals
* Nigel Wiesehan – choir, chorus
* Willie – cello
* Mason Kemmer – violin, donair supplier
* Martha Wood – backing vocals

Chart positions



"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


External links

* [ Nine Inch Nails official site]
* [ A listener's guide to 'The Fragile']

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