NIN’s Best Albums: A Soundtrack to Rebellion!

Nine Inch Nails, or perhaps more precisely Trent Reznor, who was the only formal member of the group until 2016, have released some of the most moving and profoundly personal albums in the history of modern rock over three decades.

The uncompromising character of some of those albums may not be to everyone’s taste, but even their most vocal detractors can’t deny the great workmanship displayed throughout those albums.

The following is a ranking of all the albums released by Nine Inch Nail, going from worst to finest.

1. The Downward Spiral

Perhaps a no-brainer for the top spot, but very few fans would disagree with this choice. The Fragile by Nine Inch Nail may be their most ambitious project, but The Downward Spiral is without a doubt their best album.

The groove of “Closer” and the misery of “Hurt” are two of the album’s standout tracks. The tracklist reads like a best-hits collection.

It was by far their most commercially successful song, catapulting the band to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and No. 9 on the UK Albums Chart. Reznor’s best work is regarded as one of the albums from the 1990s with the most influence on music.

2. The Fragile

After releasing The Downward Spiral, it took Nine Inch Nails another five years to come out with The Fragile, but the wait was more than well worth it.

Reznor draws on his own experiences battling depression and substance abuse to portray the story of a guy who is spiraling out of control on this monumental concept album that spans two discs.

It did not receive the best reaction when it was released, but twenty years later, it is considered to be one of their most important works, with notable highlights including The Day the World Went Away, We’re In This Together, Into the Void, and Starf-kers, Inc.

3. Pretty Hate Machine

Nine Inch Nails’ first studio album, “Pretty Hate Machine,” was released in 1989, and it immediately showcased the band’s unique sound that set them apart from the competition. With a blend of angsty lyrics and danceable grooves, the album quickly gained popularity among both critics and fans alike.

Despite being vastly different from the band’s later projects, “Pretty Hate Machine” remains a must-listen for any NIN fan. The album’s success was evident as it reached No. 75 on the Billboard 200, proving that NIN was a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

With this impressive debut, Nine Inch Nails had set the bar high for themselves and their peers, and they would continue to push boundaries with their future projects.

4. Year Zero

After releasing the relatively straightforward and song-oriented With Teeth, Nail Inch Nails completely changed their sound for the album that came after it. Year Zero is a concept album that aims at the United States government by portraying a dystopian view of the year 2022.

It is a broadly ambitious and tremendously creative album that is a must-listen for anyone who loves a story as much as a song and is a must-listen for anyone who appreciates a story as much as a song.

It was a financial and critical success, ultimately reaching number two in the United States, number six in the United Kingdom, and the top 10 in several other countries.

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5. With Teeth

After the monumental task of 1999’s The Fragile, it took Nine Inch Nails yet another long time to eventually release its follow-up, With Teeth. It’s one of their sharpest, rockiest offerings to date, and one of their most unified, total albums.

The Hand That Feeds, Only Every Day Is the Same, and Beside You in Time are notable examples. Its aggressive style was positively praised by critics when it was released on May 3, 2005.

The band’s second No. 1 album in the US, it was equally successful commercially and was later given gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In countless more nations, it also made the Top 10.

6. The Slip

The Slip was Nine Inch Nails’ second album of 2008, and it was released only two months after the band had previously released Ghosts I-IV.

It may not be in the same league as their earlier songs, but it’s sinuous beats and jaw-dropping originality nevertheless make it essential listening for both casual fans and die-hard NIN aficionados alike.

The record was able to climb up to position number 13 on the Billboard 200 after receiving positive reviews from critics.

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7. Bad Witch

Trent Reznor is already into his 50s, but it hasn’t stopped him from having an insatiable appetite for trying out new things musically. On the most recent studio album by Nine Inch Nail, titled Bad Witch, he allows his creativity to run amok on tunes such as “God Break Down the Door” and “Play the Goddamned Part.”

The album has a feeling of being more alive than it would have otherwise because of its unfinished nature, even though it is quite raw and has some rough spots here and there. After its release in June 2018, it reached position No. 12 on the charts in both the US and the UK.

8. Hesitation Marks

Hesitation Marks” is Nine Inch Nails’ eighth studio album, which was made available in 2013. The band’s sound underwent a considerable transformation with this album, which adopted a more experimental and electronic feel than their earlier releases.

The album “Hesitation Marks” garnered favorable reviews from both critics and listeners, who complimented it for its originality and creativity. Important songs on the album include “Copy of A,” “Came Back Haunted,” and “Everything.”

The song “Hesitation Marks” demonstrated Nine Inch Nails’ capacity to develop their sound and keep breaking through barriers in the music business.

9. Ghosts I-IV

Nine Inch Nails’ “Ghosts I-IV” is a distinctive album that was released in 2008. The 36 instrumental tracks on the CD were produced throughout a demanding ten-week recording process. Each song features a distinctive sound, from background noise to industrial beats.

A 40-page booklet and a Blu-ray disc featuring high-definition surround sound mixes of the tracks were included in the deluxe edition of the “Ghosts I-IV” album.

The album received high praise from critics for its creativity and experimentation, and it demonstrated Nine Inch Nails’ capacity to produce a wide variety of sounds without straying from their distinctive sound. For any NIN listener who values the band’s capacity to push the frontiers of what is seen as traditional music, “Ghosts I-IV” is a must-listen.

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