#tbt Nine Inch Nails / Pretty Hate Machine (1989)
Ah, the 70’s. For a decade that gave us some really terrible music, it really made way for some great, innovative stuff in the 80’s. Out of the ashes disco gave way to house and some really innovative electronic pop acts. Bands like Cabaret Voltaire and Depeche Mode were making sad music with synthesizers, which almost seemed like a contradiction at the time, but melancholy always prevails. It was from this cloth that Nine Inch Nails was cut. Working nights as a handyman and cleaning toilets at a studio, Trent Reznor wrote a demo album by himself, playing all the instruments on the record. TVT picked it up, Reznor tapped Flood and Adrian Sherwood to produce, and voila, a seminal album was born. The record was abrasive, romantic, angry, desperate, loving, and sad. Hidden samples from Queen to Jane’s Addiction littered songs. The roaring guitar had an electronic edge that seemed to fit perfectly with the keyboards. But most of all, Trent Reznor’s vocals spoke to a generation of people who realized how depressing the 80’s really were under the all the brightly colored neon clothing and cheesy sitcoms. The sonic equivalent to a cocaine hangover, Pretty Hate Machine set precedent for electronic albums to come, including the Downward Spiral. If you haven’t heard this album yet, don’t waste any time and click the video below.