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YMMV / Nine Inch Nails

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  • Anvilicious: Depending on who you ask, Year Zero is this.
  • Awesome Music: If you can get past the melodrama, quite a bit. Most fans admit that lyrics can enter the state of narm fairly frequently, (the chorus of "Where is Everybody?," especially) but state that the music itself more than makes up for it. There's enough great, fascinating music that it now has its own page.
  • Broken Base: Reactions to Trent Reznor's film score work range from outright hate (much of the film score community) to hyperbolic praise (pretty much everybody else).
    • A big contention among fans is whether any of the albums post-With Teeth are as good as the ones that came before. A lot of the contention comes from the fact that the lyrical content and especially Trent's vocal style are vastly different than The Downward Spiral and The Fragile (1999). The only releases with no mixed results were Not the Actual Events and Add Violence, which have become almost universally praised.
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    • Hardcore fans debate on whether or not Rob Sheridan's departure from the NIN Camp as a visual part of the band degraded it's imagery. Most people feel Trent has done well without Sheridan but most feel Sheridan's abstract, eye appealing and at times glitchy art style added more to NIN's music. The lack of information as to why Trent and Rob don't work together anymore also doesn't help.
  • Chorus-Only Song: "Closer".
  • Covered Up: NIN's version of "Physical" is now more famous than Adam Ant's original.
    • Just as Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt" is now more famous than the NIN original. Even Reznor himself admitted that Cash's version had blown him out of the water.
    Reznor: I pop the video in, and wow... Tears welling, silence, goose-bumps... Wow. [I felt like] I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn't mine anymore.
  • Critical Dissonance: The remix album of The Fragile, Things Falling Apart, was detested quite severely and harshly by critics upon release to the point where NME gave the album a bad review but then ended by giving it a 10/10 as a joke, but most NIN fans agree that the album isn't all that bad.
  • Ear Worm: Seriously, just try to get the drum patterns from each NIN song out of your head.
    • "Head Like a Hole", "The Hand That Feeds", "Survivalism", and "Capital G" are bound to get stuck in any fan's head.
    • "We're in This Together" is a hell of an earworm if you watched the very first teaser for The Avengers.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Live guitarist Robin Finck has always been the most popular member of the live band, and his return for both The Slip and Hesitation Marks was met with happiness from the fans.
    • Also, the demos of unfinished/rejected Hesitation Marks tracks from the deluxe version interview. Especially the first and second one.
    • And All That Could Have Been - not the live album, but the song from the companion EP Still - is an extremely popular somber piece among the fanbase, is a frequent entry on "Best Songs Never Play Live" lists.
  • Epic Riff: "Wish", "March of the Pigs", "Starfuckers Inc.", "My Violent Heart", and "The Warning".
    • And not just on the guitar. The bass riff shared in the songs "Into the Void" and "La Mer" are arguably some of the most memorable from the rhythm section.
    • The drums for "You Know What You Are?", courtesy of one Dave Grohl.
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    • Also on The Fragile (1999): "Somewhat Damaged", "The Day the World Went Away", the piano riff in "The Wretched", "We're in This Together", and "Just Like You Imagined" are all fantastic examples.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With Ministry. The two fanbases don't realize, however, that Trent Reznor is friends with Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen.
  • Fan Nickname: "AWITH ATEETHA!"
  • Friendly Fandoms: As of late, the NIN fanbase is crossing roads with the fanbase of Queens of the Stone Age, of all bands. Why? Trent Reznor has collaborated with them for their latest effort, ...Like Clockwork, and the two bands have toured extensively across Australasia.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • "Mr. Self Destruct" and "Big Man with a Gun" both have the same tempo (100 BPM) and similar melodies. It could be chalked up to coincidence if not for the fact that "Big Man with a Gun" is the moment where the protagonist becomes fully corrupted and seemingly irredeemable – the very thing foreshadowed in "Mr. Self Destruct". Also, "Mr. Self Destruct" and "Big Man with a Gun" open and close the first 'section' of the album (tracks 1–9, according to Trent).
    • The "imperfect loop" at the end of "The Background World" has 52 iterations, each decaying slightly and becoming more distorted. Trent was 52 years old at the time of the recording. The entire sequence thus comes across as a statement on ageing. A rare case of an insightful YouTube comment (by Scott Sparkman) may add further to the fridge brilliance behind the song:
      The reason people feel "uneasy" with the some 52nd loops is that there is a 1/10th pause in-between each sequence. Apparently, there's a musical science to this uneasiness people feel while listening to the loops.

      My friend, who was a musical theorist in college, listened to Background World and said that this is a very unusual pause, as it cuts off the musical bar before finishing the bar, only to start back at the beginning. It's a very sudden, unnatural stop in music and the ear picks up on it quickly. He said this "bar gap" leaves the listener feeling as if there was one or two more musical notes to be played, "ghost notes", yet the notes never play.

      To not be able to hear those last few ghost notes, topped with the fact that each new bar becomes increasingly granular due to the drop in Hertz, gives the average listener a sense of anxiety. My friend said that Reznor and Ross did all of this deliberately. They want the listener to feel an encroaching fear.
  • Gateway Series: Nine Inch Nails is a lot of people's entry point into Industrial music.
  • Growing the Beard: While Pretty Hate Machine is beloved, many think that NIN started to really come into their own around the Broken EP or The Downward Spiral.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The music video for "Came Back Haunted", which was directed by David Lynch, features quite a bit of imagery reminiscent of the third season of Twin Peaks, which would air four years later. Combined with the fact that they lyrics could easily be applied to Agent Cooper's story in that season, it almost sounds like a retroactive Filk Song for the show.
  • Ho Yay: Quite a bit.
    • Trent has a quite a bit of Ho Yay *and* Foe Yay with protege Marilyn Manson, much to the joy of Slash Fangirls everywhere.
    • Trent used to make out in public with Richard Patrick, the first live-guitarist, whenever they wanted to get rid of someone. They also had the habit of jumping on each other during live shows.
      • The fact that Richard's nickname was 'Piggy' also puts several songs on The Downward Spiral in an entirely new light.
    • To say nothing of Trent's relationship with his long-time assistant and roommate, Chris Vrenna, who was probably the closest thing NIN ever had to another official member until 2016.
  • Hype Backlash: Hesitation Marks got this with audiophiles after Reznor released an audiophile master of the album, free for anyone who bought the main album off the NIN website. Then the waveforms were examined, with clipping still obvious on the audiophile version, and the dynamic range of both versions were measured: The main version comes in at DR5. The audiophile version: DR6. Excitement quickly changed to backlash for releasing something as "audiophile" when it was not.
  • Internet Backdraft: The length and classification of Bad Witch being an "album" really seemed to get people's panties in a bunch. There's multiple arguments in regards to Bad Witch being the shortest NIN release whether or not it classifies as an EP. No really. It got so bad that even Trent showed annoyance and frustration at how people were complaining about it, leading to the infamous "SUCK MY ENTIRE COCK!".
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: Around the Broken era, NIN were gaining more popularity and some original fans decided they were getting too "mainstream".
    • Trent himself believed in this trope after the band hit it big with The Downward Spiral, being disillusioned with things like other bands imitating his sound.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Misaimed Fandom: Truly epic amounts of this surrounding The Downward Spiral as a whole. It's basically Trent exploring his nastiest impulses (hedonism, violence, Rage Against the Heavens, etc.) for 14 songs and exploring how things would end if he actually gave in to them (hint: not well).
  • Narm: Trent is a tremendous producer and composer, but even fans know how his lyrics can fall into Wangst sometimes:
    • "Closer", mainly because of the chorus.
    • "The Only Time"'s lame pun: "My moral standing is lying down."
    • The chorus to "Where Is Everybody?" which rhymes off words ending with "ing" and not much else.
    • From "Something I Can Never Have": "Grey would be the color, if I had a heart."
    • The monkey noises in "Head Like a Hole".
    • "Getting Smaller" has this weird mid-verse flip-out: "I've got my arms A FLIP FLOP FLIP FLOP FLIP! I got my head on a shpriiinga."
    • "That's What I Get": "How can you turn me into this? After you just taught me how to kiss... youuuuu?"
  • Narm Charm: A large portion of the lyrics — especially during the eras of The Downward Spiral and The Fragile — often play up the angst factor all its worth. Most fans love the songs anyway.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • All of the music videos made for the Broken EP are likely this and/or Nightmare Fuel.
      • The "Pinion" video shows a dirty flushing toilet connected to a network of pipes that ultimately deposit into the mouth of someone in a black rubber suit strapped to a wall, either feeding the waste to them or drowning them in it. Either thought is equally unsettling to imagine.
      • The video for "Help Me I Am in Hell" shows a man enjoying a meal of steak and a room full of thousands of flies.
      • "Happiness in Slavery", the most (in)famous video, shows a man stripping naked and situating himself in a device that graphically eviscerates his body (inducing both great pain and pleasure), including ripping off his penis, and ends with the man being ground to provide fertilizer for a garden of some sort.
      • And for that matter, the Broken movie. It's made to look like a real snuff film, complete with a decaying, grainy shot-on-video aesthetic and lots of Jitter Cam. Besides that, it features the killer slicing up a random victim he has strung up by his hands, dousing him in gasoline possibly fisting (FIST FUCK!) and/or defecating on him, and at the climax, chopping off his penis and (for lack of a better word for it) fucking the stump before hacking him up with a chainsaw.
    • "The Downward Spiral". The detuned guitars, the watery droning noise, the flies, the screaming, the ugly, clipped backing music in the distance... The lyrics...
  • Painful Rhyme: Quite a few.
    • "Where is Everybody?"'s chorus deserves an award. It's essentially a List Song of words ending with -ing and Trent tries his hardest to stress every single syllable during the song's slow beat. "TRY-AH-YING AND LY-AH-YING, DEFY-HUH-YING, DENY-UH-YING..."
  • Sampled Up: The mournful banjo tune on Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road"? That's from "34 Ghosts IV."
  • Second Verse Curse: "Closer," "Head Like A Hole."
  • Signature Song: "Closer" is the top candidate, but "Head Like a Hole", "Wish", "Hurt", and "The Hand That Feeds" are also common. 2017 threw in "She's Gone Away" due to their appearance in Twin Peaks.
  • Song Association:
    • "Came Back Haunted" appeared in Gran Turismo 6.
    • "Copy of A" appeared in FIFA 14.
    • "The Warning (Stefan Goodchild & Doudou N'Diaye Rose Remix)" and "The Mark Has Been Made" appeared in Need for Speed: Undercover.
    • "1,000,000" and "Discipline" (both from The Slip) appeared in Midnight Club: Los Angeles.
    • "The Hand That Feeds" appeared in Midnight Club 3.
    • "Hurt" is used in the ending of the second season of Rick and Morty.
    • "She's Gone Away" got this after a full performance of it was featured in an episode of Twin Peaks — though apparently, the song was specifically written to be used on the show.
    • "Just Like You Imagined" was used in promos for 300.
    • "Eraser", including it's remixed version "Eraser (Denial; Realization)" was used in one TV spot for 300: Rise of an Empire.
    • "We're in This Together" was used in the official trailer for The Avengers (2012).
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: All of his albums have gone through this on some level, particularly more recent ones. Apparently, now that he's gotten clean, is married with four kids, is, in his own words, the happiest he's ever been, and his music isn't as full of angst as it once was, Trent's lost his mojo, which carries some Unfortunate Implications.
  • Vindicated by History: Fan response to The Fragile was rather lukewarm despite strong reviews, most likely because it wasn't as heavy as The Downward Spiral and didn't have a song with a chorus as memetically popular as "Closer". However, a few years later fans have started to judge it on its own merits and its now considered to be Reznor's best. Trent seems to have picked up on this.
    "The Fragile is weird because when it came out it felt like everyone hated it to me, and now it feels like it's everyone's favorite album, fan-wise."
    • With Teeth also appears to be gaining more and more popularity nowadays. When it came out, it was considered one of his worst to date. Some fans, however, think it's a good album to introduce others to — because, let's face it, most of Trent's discography is a bit too far on the 'weird' end of the scale for people to get into easily despite his success — and recently, it appears to be earning more credibility and more people are considering one of their favorites now than there were back then.
  • The Woobie: Trent Reznor, full stop. Putting aside Wangst, you feel for the man. Does reach a Earn Your Happy Ending considering he became sober, got married, and has four kids now. And ya know, he got ripped.
  • What an Idiot!: The protagonist of The Downward Spiral's premature celebration at the end of "Ruiner". "You didn't hurt me... Nothing can hurt me... You didn't hurt me... Nothing can stop-" *cue "The Becoming"*
  • Win Back the Crowd: A number of NIN's recent releases had received mixed reception from fans. Not the Actual Events has been almost universally beloved.
  • Yoko Oh No: Trent getting married and having kids pretty much blew up the fangirls (and boys, as seen here). Fans blame his wife for him ending NIN as a touring project (indefinitely, though) despite the fact that he's expressed interest in trying something new years before even meeting Mariqueen, and create off the wall theories like "they're both on drugs!" among other things. Just go on YouTube and check out one of the songs in their band How to Destroy Angels and read the comments. It gets pretty ridiculous.


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