When The Fragile, Nine Inch Nails‘ third full-length studio album dropped on September 21, 1999, fans flocked to record stores (remember those?) to pick up Trent Reznor‘s ambitious double album, which came five years after the massively successful Downward Spiral. It immediately shot to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, then plummeted to No. 16 the following week, marking the biggest drop in Billboard history at the time.
Regardless, the double album was a hit, and was certified double platinum on January 4, 2000. And no wonder. While it experienced a precipitous fall on the charts, The Fragile was widely lauded. SPIN’s review, for example, rated it a 9 out of 10.
“The Fragile is [Reznor’s] epic portrayal of the endless, aimless inner din,” wrote Ann Powers at the time. “A half hour longer than most horror movies, offering no pause for breath between its intricate, echoing tracks, the two-CD The Fragile is a good old-fashioned strap-on-your-headphones experience.”
The first single from the record, “The Day the World Went Away,” peaked at a respectable No. 17 on Billboard’s Hot 100. There were also several songs that gained attention, including “Starfuckers Inc.” and “We’re in This Together,” both of which made our list of Best Alternative Rock Songs of ’99.
With two discs of music to choose from, which of the album’s 23 songs do you think tops them all?
If that wasn’t hard enough, here’s a bonus question.