Because Songs Matter


Sometimes you have your blogging day all mapped out and a news blip makes you scrap everything and bang out a post on the fly. That’s the case today so please excuse any grammatical errors and/or typos and if the thought processes feel disjointed I apologize….we’re going 100% stream of conscience and publish with this one.

Trent Reznor‘s debut album, Pretty Hate Machine, turned 20 years old. In lieu of typing out a bunch of historical facts and boilerplate bullshit you can easily find on Wikipedia, I thought I’d actually talk about the album and it’s relationship to myself.

As I’ve mentioned before, a large chunk of my formative “young adult” years were spent skulking the dance floors and hallways of the gothic/industrial clubs in my home state. While it has become increasingly popular within that scene to pan Trent Reznor over the years (I am as guilty as anyone else) the fact remains that everyone one of us owned and loved Pretty Hate Machine and most of us probably still do. Personally, I’ve long gotten rid of my entire industrial music collection but PHM was one of the albums I elected to keep.

While I still know every word to every song on PHM, listening to it as a 36 year old man is as much an Lose Weight Exercise in nostalgia as anything else. I’m not trying to say the album is dated cause that’s simply not true. Sonically, it’s stood the test of time much better than most of the music from that time (listen to Nitzer Ebb from that era and you’ll cringe). No, listening to PHM now is like sharing a beer with the person I used to be. So many memories are interlinked with that tracklisting. I can remember how my feelings were just a thinly veiled and raw as Trent’s lyrics were at that time. And while, admittedly, Trent gets whiny at times I can remember how right that emotion felt at the time, how it once felt like “The Only Time” could be my theme song, how I once put “Something I Can Never Have” on a mixtape I made for a girl in hopes she’d catch the message.

So yeah, when I saw Trent tweet that Pretty Hate Machine was turning 20 today all of those memories came rushing back and I decided that the Mat D. & The Profane Saints article could wait until tomorrow.

Happy Birthday.

Nine Inch Nails - The Only Time     

Nine Inch Nails - Down In It     

Nine Inch Nails - Sin     


  1. October 20, 2009    

    20? Jesus. That makes me….old. 🙁

  2. Scott Lakes Scott Lakes
    October 20, 2009    

    This is truly a fatal fucking reminder of who I used to be….

    (you see what I did there?)


  3. Torben Torben
    October 20, 2009    

    yikes, where is my walker

  4. dtotheatothevtothee dtotheatothevtothee
    October 20, 2009    

    Thanks….turned 30 this year & that was depressing enough…then I find out this album is 20 years old! WOW!! Time for a scotch! Hahaha!

  5. October 20, 2009    

    This album made the biggest impact on me ever, it was true genius in its time… but damn 20 years of my life where has it gone

  6. nick nick
    October 21, 2009    

    wow. feeling old for sure.

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