The 1992 EP, “Broken” was Nine Inch Nails’ second release that was notably louder, heavier and overall manic. It spelled out the evolution from edgy synth-pop to manic industrial rock that would make their next album, “The Downward Spiral,” an instant classic. “Pinion” open’s the album like a blacksmith forging a sword, hammering out the imperfections before dipping the metal back in the flame. “Wish” immolates the listener with writhing, distorted guitars turned up to the maximum. The release would be critically shunned by many at the time but would later receive two Grammys and put NIN on the map.
Nine Inch Nails (NIN), specifically the work of lead creative Trent Reznor, has proven to be one of the most influential and offbeat bands of the ‘90s. Their music popularized industrial rock, spawning generic imitators as big as Axl Rose to adopt the sound. Reznor’s stubbornness to his vision led him to play and write all the instruments except drums which he programmed with a drum machine. The band only came together on tour or to help with the many schemes Reznor would come up with, like creating multimedia experiences for fans ranging from short films to a VR game to elaborate puzzles leading to the location of a secret performance. Inspired by David Bowie, Reznor wanted to create a public image that was simultaneously ubiquitous but mysterious. And NIN’s influence would have a bizarre reach in pop music, from direct samples like on Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” to subtle influences on stars like Billie Eilish. Reznor also called New Orleans home at one point, running Nothings Studio on Magazine Street not far from La Boulangerie today. He recorded artists like Pantera here before Hurricane Katrina solidified his decision to leave the city for the west coast.