Original Reader Response Page

All responses are unedited.

From: Ryann

Hey, whats up. I was just reading something from your Emails on NIN and to be honest I was kind of confused about some of the meanings people were trying to say. But what I got out of a few of them I totally agreed with. Were you trying to make the point that Trent Reznor is actually more powerful than he thinks? That once you start listening to him and getting attached to him, getting attached to the feelings you feel while listening to his music, he can sort of, somehow... control you? I have noticed this in many ways. One of my very close friends introduced me to NIN and I slowely changed. It would get to the point where I would listen to NIN and my friends would say "You have been listening to NIN , haven't you?" Assuming that the reason I was in a bad mood was because of the mood NIN put me in. And the sad thing was, they were right. I could have been having a wonderful day and actaully be feeling good about myself, and the second I would put my Cd player to "hurt" I would start crying. For no reason. My friend Sean has had the same expierinces. It got to the point where he was so sick of feeling shitty all the time that he broke every one of his NIN Cd's and vowed never to listen to them again. Anyway. I guess I just wanted to see what your opnion of all this is....

NIN is by far my favorite band in the world, but more times than one have I asked myself if in some way I was being brainwashed... or feeling things I wouldnt feel on my own. Have you ever noticed that if you listen to many NIN songs with your headphones on, and you listen very closely, more than once you will hear the words "I controll you." being repeated over and over? Well, thanks for your time. What do YOU think??

From: tim bailkowski

Congratulations on your achievement! This essay is comprehensive, well-researched and articulated with the semantic-savvy of a trained thinker. Further, based on the myriad responses, you've incited fans and anti-fans alike to share their thoughts, signifying true success of a scholarly article. Kudos!
As for my response, it's clear you've dissected The Downward Spiral with an acute lens. I think your underlying assertion- Reznor is using the music to depict a vicious and fusion of flesh and digital circuitry-is interesting and original. However, I disagree with your conclusion; The Downward Spiral is rather the map of one man's journey through the brambled forest of Nietzschian becoming.
It's starkly clear that this album is Reznor's response to reading Nietzsche. "Mr. Self-Destruct" introduces the critical element necessary to destroy the initial self, the first step of the becoming process. Lines like, "I take you where you want to go," and "I am the prayers of the naive" bring to the forefront aspects of our primary being that are deemed pernicious by Christian society, but essential to one on track to becoming an overman. And who can deny from where the inspiration for track #3, "Heresy" came?
There are numerous other examples throughout the album that support the influence of Nietzsche, which, to this point, doesn't contradict your assertions. It is, however, in your claim Reznor's music "positions technology as the product of social impulses to resolve all anxieties within a cyberspace of dead flesh, programmed minds and totalitarian control" that our views differ.
Reznor's use of technology in The Downward Spiral and his other albums/productions is not a destination of one trying to become/avoid being conjoined with technology, but the medium through which he depicts the pain of the journey to become. Throughout his texts, Nietzsche explains the enormous and multi-faceted pain involved in becoming an overman and the overaching difficulties, e.g., social denigration, lack of any external entity in which to believe (a reversal of conditioned behavior), associated with grasping the will to power. The dominating presence of conflict and chaos represented by sounds made with technology in The Downward Spiral is, in fact, an allegory of the what aspiring overman must endure on innumerable levels to achieve destruction of the self.
For me, the most poignant section of your essay was your treatment of "Hurt". I, too, view it as an audio landscape of a place beyond our world. There is Reznor, standing in a desert of isolation, a cryptic, desolate place where there is nothing except for the memories he has of the self he once was. This is a decisive moment for the overman (and also the point most stop reading Nietzsche, dubbing him the father of nihilism); Reznor, the "I", i.e., the overman, can wallow in his new-found nothingness or create an identity and an existence in alignment with his capacity to maximize the will to power.
As you describe in section III, Reznor doesn't resolve this conflict-he does not take the final step to becoming. And it here, the dialectical fulcrum between wanting to be and savoring the excruciating sensation of feeling so fiercely (although that feeling's flavor is abominable pain), that Reznor derives his energy. We see it in his videos, and especially his concerts; this is a performer who's not playing music, but reenacting a sort of philosophical and spiritual blue-balling of the self through a collage of melody, lyrics, visceral movement and grating, technologically-generated tension.
I apologize for not giving this more in-depth treatment. Unfortunately, full-time employment is not hugely conducive to prolonged writing, especially when there's work to yet be done. If you have the chance, would you please let me know why you wrote "Entertainment through Pain" (I presume it was an academic assignment of some sort-any detail would be helpful)?
Thanks again for providing me and many other NIN fans with some fine, thought-provoking material. It was a pleasure.


My name is Manny,I am a very big die hard fan of nine incn nails.Ever since the first 1989 hit album,'' Pretty hate machine,'' came out I was indulged into listening to nine incn nails.It has forever changed my life;in the sense that I only listen to electronic music now,and dress in black to school everyday.After reading the following essay,I have to agree Trent Reznor is one of the most best singer and music writer of all time.He has influenced electronic music in a lot of wicked ways.What I mean is the electronic beats in all his songs kick ass.Despite the awesome beats,the lyrics in the songs are what make the music sound so great.If you really just think about what he says in his song,they make a whole lot of sense.It really makes you think hard about what life is really like.One song that really inspired me was '' Closer,'' the beat is so freakin awesome,especially when you are driving your car in the city really fast with the windows all rolled own.I am glad Trent had the balls to write and sing that song,despite all the horrible comments the public had to bash him with about the lyrics involved in the song.Sure the lyrics were dirty in '' closer,'' but come to think about I am glad someone like Trent put his foot down and showed the puplic they can go to hell if they think the song is too vulgar.What he says in the song,shows what really he feels and wants to do.It shows what all guys are really thinkin about through their dignified sexual fantasies.Most guys,when they see a hot chic,the first thing they think about is fuckin her like in animal.I can see where Trent was comming from when he wrote that song,It really expresses the true sexual nature of what guys really want.I mean why hide what you feel,someone like Trent Reznor really expresses sex magnificently through his wild sexual urges in most of his songs.Trent Reznor has really made music sound like what it really should be like,a wonderful job done.Nine inch nails will always be my favorite group.As of right now I desperately for the new albums release,I cannot wait to get my hands on it.To all the readers of this article please let me know some new info about the new albums release and what its like,just simply E-mail me.Also if you can please e-mail some cool pics and other info about nine inch nails,I would be really appreciated by it.Thank you.

From: Anon

This essay is very interesting. Surely a lot of thought and analysis has gone in such a complex article. But when it all comes down to it, it is full of shit. Yes full of shit not because Trent Reznor sucks or because the author is a NIN freak. It is full of shit because you try to place meaning onto something so trivial as a musical album. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of NIN, but when you try to place complex theories on an ALBUM, you either need a life, or you're just a complete imbecile. As for the readers who respond with "ooh yeah I never saw it that way" or "I know what you mean" go fuck yourself. The only meaning is what you derive from it. Enjoy the album, buy em all, they're great. go fuck yourself.

From: Dan Nero

Wow! I have always had a great appreciation for NIN in his ability to write great music and songs and have analyzed his lyrics for myself. You take it a step further as far as the musical changes and everything. I am very impressed (not that I am someone you need to impress) and writings like this could show a lot of people out there that it is not just a bunch of nobody, do nothing, go nowhere types of people who listen to them.

From: kitty

Although I think NIN music is interesting because the music is presented as pop style it has its basis in classical styles (i.e. the staccato beat in `March of the Pigs') which makes music from the last two albums (Broken and TDS) perfect for ballroom dancing, I find Mr. Reznor's work to be somewhat sloppy. This sloppiness comes through through careful observation which is the result of the cut-and-paste meth- od used by Reznor to piece together his compositions. So his work sounds a bit like a collage. The result is invariably a lot of little mistakes. I think he needs to work on `blending' the various components of of his pieces to make them more coherent.

From: Syntaren

This essay definitely brought me a new way of looking / listening at NIN's music. I've always believed that his (Reznor's) music was based upon some kind of thoughts, some kind of "deepness". I just never knew exactly what he was trying to say. Perhaps this essay doesn't answer all the question about NINs music, it does however wake you up to see this music from a different point of view, not just as this "devil-worshipping -shock-rocker" that media wants people to see it. Finally, I would like to thank you for putting this together.... It has helped alot...

If I had to term this short essay of mine anything, I would term it, "The Healing Qualities of NIN". Before I get letters telling me that I am some freak, please let me say that I used NIN to help express the deep feelings of rage and hatred that I was feeling toward my mother. These feelings kept inside for about 10 years, then made worse when my mother made a statement to a hospital psychologist: "I have a 28 year old son who is completely useless." The pain that caused was enourmous, since I had worked over the past 7 years to build a relationship of some sort. Her statement brought that relationship to an abrupt end, and my inner rage began to surface in my favorite music.

Back in 1995, I had heard "Reptillian" (the remake on March of the War Pigs) I liked the song and it reminded me of mom. After November of 1996, when mom made her statement to the psychologist, I picked up "Pretty Hate Machine" and internalized "Head Like a Hole" By internalizing something, I mean that step beyond thinking of the song as a favorite. When you internalize something, you are able to pick up lyrics almost without thinking, you can sense every layer of a song. Knowing this will help you to understand what happened next.

By March of 1997, I bought both "Broken" and "The Downward Spiral" By early to mid April, I had internalized "Erased" and was using it to frame my response to everything mom had ever done to me. I initially was attracted to the song because of its intense layering at the beginning.

By late April, I had obtained a copy of "Further Down the Spiral" and internalized the instrumental reproductions of "Erased".

Mom died on May 23rd, but I still wasn't done. In late June. I internalized "The Downward Spiral" In July I internalized "Ruiner" especially the lyrics at the end of the song:

"You didn't hurt me, nothing can hurt me." "You didn't hurt me, nothing can stop me now."

I have used all of this to clense some of the pain of years of various abuse. Through NIN I express the emotions I was not able to when I was growing up. In a way, NIN is as much therapy as any conventional kind of therapy is.

Although the months around April and May were nasty, and I did terrible things mentally to myself with the music, now I would not give that up. It is as much a part of history now as the rest of my past is, and I would thank Trent for writing the music that made me able to do what I did, and go through the time I had to go through.

From: Shona
I think that closer is about purity through sin. I find it a compelling piece of poetry. Who of us hasn't wanted to hurt another person for our own gain. Trent seems like he would hurt someone simply to get closer to a God he seems to not believe in, yet alone love. I know a lot of people that believe in purity through sin. It is an interesting and disturbing thought, especially since I do attend a religious institution. I read an article once that trent was a non-practising mormon. Is this true? If it is, I understand a lot of ideas. I am Mormon. If anyone has any other ideas, please email me.

From: "Vinny B."

I just finished reading your essay at 4:10 in the A.M., and I must say, for that time of night it's a little heavy going (too many big words ... ). Anyway, I just thought I'd commend you on a very thoughful analysis and also for obviously devoting more care and time to something as rewardless as an internet essay than I ever have in my life! I'd just like to point out, as I am notorious for doing, that your essay did contain a few (less than ten I think) spelling and grammar errors. Nothing big, though, just thought you should know (and NO I'm not going out of my way to find flaws or anything). I must say my little pea brain is somewhat disturbed by your essay simply because I can never see what were once to me mere entertaining and meaningless songs and music videos in the same casual light again. Oh, well, perhaps it was time I honed my analitical mind somewhat. Anyway, I better catch a few z's, so TTFN.

From: Vinny B

After reading the (HUGE) list of responses I felt I had to add something to my own (submitted 17 minutes ago). First of all, to all those who would criticize the author's interpretation of Reznor and his music, I ... well, I have very little respect for you. The author is entitled to his opinions, as you are to yours, but to say that his interpretations are wrong, or, for that matter, absolutely right, is, to coin a phrase, "jumping the gun". The opinions expressed in the essay were intended for consideration only; in other words IF you aren't sure what Reznor and his lyrics are all about yet, try these opinions on for size. If you don't like them, don't keep them, if you do, thank the author, but always remember that these are all opinions, no matter how many agree or disagree with them, unless of course Reznor himself reads the essay and proclaims all ideas therein about him to be absolutely correct. ONLY THEN do you have any right to say that those opinions are absolutely right or absolutely wrong. THE FOLLOWING IS SIMPLY AN OPINION/BELIEF OF MINE WHICH I WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS: to all of the NIN "fans" who faithfully follow his music, lyrics, albums, personal trials & tribulations, et cetera, carrying on about how special and intelligent and ingenius and god-like he is - get a life! POINT: the name of the game is "money". That's right, Mr. God-boy Reznor isn't really out to tell you how the world is and inspire you and make you see the light, rather he is out to ENTERTAIN you in a way that makes you come back for more and thus put money in his pocket and clothes on his back and food on his table. In this age of the internet, the overlord of physical laziness, I'm surprised that so many of you can not simply lean back and be ENTERTAINED by the music and lyrics and on-stage (and -screen) antics without trying to analyze and criticize everything about them. When you drink juice, do you debate about where the fruit comes from? When you eat a hamburger at McD's do you inquire how the beef cattle are raised? When you see a cigarette ad do you wonder what exactly the featured smoker has to smile about? I don't. I would rather be flying than standing on the ground wondering how if given the choice. THE CHOICE IS YOURS. I am not saying necessarily that you should start a band exactly like NIN, but if you really think that everything about the lyrics and music and other forms of expression are so great, it might not be such a bad idea. Anyway, that's my gripe for now. If you are horrendously offended by this you are too easily offended. It's not like the whole world is going to read this and agree and then look at you and hate you, so why do you really care? (I sincerely hope you have something better to do with your time than send me hate mail.) Thank you for your time.

From: Quiet Boy

I have come to think that the song Closer illustrates the idea of purity through sin. If you examine Reznor's train of thought (My whole existence is flawed, so I want to fuck you like an animal to get closer to god) you realize the song is much less about sexuality and more about a selfish attempt to achieve the theological definition of cleanliness by taking away someone else's. To purge sin by sinning.
And there's nothing wrong with that. If you were in prison, you would probably crawl through miles of sewage and kill several guards to achieve freedom. Such is the case on a more interesting, well-packaged (and even better marketed) song that we can all listen to remixes of in clubs. An unpopular idea made popular by mainstream and a prodigious musician.
But: could someone please tell me what Trent's fascination with Christianity is? He must be pseudo-religious to know so much about Christ and God, and to scream "God is dead" at the top of your lungs denotes that you ever believed in him in the first place. At one point or another in our lives we all stand at the edge of the proverbial cliff in the proverbial downpour, daftly daring our creator to come down and do what we tell them to or we'll jump, we swear. We're sick of God sitting up there smirking and constantly giving us the finger, or at least that's what it feels like.
Maybe he's like the rest of us- upset with one God or another for ignoring us, trying to decide whether he was created or born. Meant to be or a meaningless coincidence. I admire him for not trying to decide for us.
Enough trying to decipher it- it means something to me that no one else could ever understand. I think we're all that way. We all want to be closer to whatever. Good essay, by the way.

From: Landei Thims

thank you for posting your interesting essay on the www... i personally found it both enjoyable and informative. it seems to be an earnest effort at understanding the subject, something i cannot accuse too many NIN commentaries of being. your article helped me to understand the meaning and purpose of the album, and i kick myself for never having thought to examine it in light of the way the songs themselves are constructed. (the dangers of being too close to something, eh?) i am glad that someone has understood the importance of the song "the becoming" to the album; it always stood out in my mind, particularly it's theme of futile resistance to integration, but never before as embodying the main conflict of the album. you pointed out a concept i had always understood but could not articulate, that of the rivalry between reznor's voice and the synthesized music. as to reznor's role in the world of "industial" music, and whether or not his methods are "commercial", i would ask, "does it really matter?" i buy trent's albums because i love his music, the ideas it expresses an emotions it evokes. perhaps the only ones concerned with an answer to that question are trent's "fans" -- fearing that their icon has deserted them. the concept of being a "fan" in that way is to me absurd; i love nine inch nails with all my heart, the music is very dear to me, and i would certainly praise trent reznor for his musical work should i ever meet him; but for whatever reason he the music, it wasn't for me, or for anyone else. like all art, it was done for himself (and rightly so). that i or anyone else derives pleasure from the music or even a feeling of emotional identification is incidental to his reasons for making it in the first place. did he do so for his fans, or for money? i think the intelligent answer would be "he did it because it was in him to do, and he sells it because (like anyone else) he has to survive in a world based on the trading of currency. now maybe you could write us a treatise on the trashmouth magazine reviewers and the needy, idollizing fans who take thw whole thing just a bit too much to heart, eh? thanx again for a great bit of reading and some intelligent analysis.

From: nick
The thing that separates Trent from a lot of the other great and brilliant artists out there, is not that he just writes amazing lyrics, Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison (others of my favorites) wrote amazing lyrics, but Trent...He manipulates the music to a degree that the music alone creates the feeling, and by the time he starts singing, and the first two minutes of the song have played, you develop a deja vu of what Trent is singing, like "he already said this, didn't he?" Example: A warm Place, Help me I am in Hell, Reptile, and I do not Want This. Pretty Hate Machine is more music-to-help-the-lyrics type, while The Downward Spiral is pure imagery, with ANY track cut out, you still get the picture. I listen to it sometimes at night, and out of his three albums and all of his singles - except maybe the close r single and Fixed, This one creates a movie in my head unlike anything I had ever imagined before. The Closer video is very close to how I dreamt it, but I don't think it could ever be put on simple film. It must be an idea physically placed in someone's head - music. I don't think any band hasa ever taken me through a journey quite like NIN. And I consider myself a pretty varied listener: from Marilyn Manson to the Mama's and the Papa's, from even Vivaldi to Dayroom, I listen to it all. There is nothing like NIN.

From: Chris
Your essay was really thought out well... It's interesting how different people interpret the music differently, though. Some songs which lyrics I identfy with include Something I can never Have, Wish, Hurt, and The Perfect Drug. I interpret Trent (at least when writing these songs, especially TPD), as being in love, but being able to do nothing about it... That may be something which influanced his work. Another, such as yourself, interprets it as Man v Machine. Interesting how we all apply NiN to our lives...

From: Brian Ortbals

This essay spoke about everything that I have been hearing about Nine Inch Nails since I began listening to them about four years ago. This is by far my favorite band, and so I know a lot about them. However, very rarely have I read an essay from someone sticking up for them. The most recent article I read was in either SPIN or Details, I can't remember which one. It seemed as though the author wasn't sure wether to back them or to stand against them. It kind of pissed me off. I went to a preppy high school. I took shit all the time from the pieces of shit that think nothing more of NIN than Satanic. Bullshit. I am glad to read an article like yours.

From: Rebecca

I think everyone that doesn't understand NIN's, shouldn't listen to them. I've been listening to Trent's music for five years now. So I like to think I understand what he's trying to do. Trent is making music that he wants to be remember for.. Trent wants to be remember as an artist.. Not some guy that wrote some songs that didn't make people feel something.. Trent will be remember as someone who made points in his music. And also tells us something about him. I think people should try to understand and not put him down....

From: Andy Radzik

The main riff of "Closer" in fact permeates the entire album, climaxing on the track "The Downward Spiral." I belive that you neglected a possible point in the variations that exist throughout the album on that theme. So many wildly divergent songs contain the same theme, bringing to my mind an image of modern society which constantly reproduces the same concepts over and over again in a vain attempt to divine more truth from them. Since the riff is intro'd using the almost human sound of keyboards (the noise of a Moog or other synth insturment is much more human than a guitar-it resembles the noise heard by an en-wombed foetus) and ends on "The Downward Spiral" as a heavily distorted anti-human guitar...ah shit, I forgot my point.

From: Brie
Does anyone out there think that homoeroticism is relevant to Trent's perpetual aching? Manny of us have a "Need For More", the essence of which is probably related to deep repressions. Repressions that if enacted could cause serious harm to a person, but in the realm of the imagination can provide great relief. More to the point, why do you think Trent Reznor would allow himself to be viewed as he is in the Closer video: helpless, blind-folded, and bound? For some of us, words cannot do justice to the feelings such an image provokes. He should know that, if he doesn't. And I also see the Wish video as being the epitomy of a tease. I ask you, does he know his own power? What can motivated people do to more realistically explore this "extraordinary" issue?

From: AngryArtBoy
I am impressed (for the first time in months) with "a nin fan's" analysis of nin. I assume this was a college english project; it is deep, intellectual, respectful, and mature. There are a great deal of web sites I've visited in the last two days that advertise ignorance and blindness (not to mention a pathetically weak form of written verbal skills)

I argue that the peaceful moments of "The Becomming" are not sexual in intent; rather despirate attempts to get help from the one source of positive force left in "I's" existence.

Other than that, good writing.
Thank you for being intelligent.

From: "stef@"

leaving the praises for the essay to the others, i' d like to say this: you can find a million pages on the internet about poetry and music lyrics, and a very few of those who claim to be deeply touched by TR's words actually read them. So why don't we just admit that we like just nin's music and quit talking about so-called meanings? Poetry is dead when music began to be sang, leaving the task to describe to literature, and to evoke to music. What we like about nin is simply the feeling that something is coming out violently from a guy who has found a way to make it all convincing and to openly say 'i wanna fuck yopu llike an animal'. Lyrics take shape and meaning from music, but without it they are not truly valuable. Don't you believe me ? Then read the lyrics of an unknown band, and then listen to the record. If you really like it, you 'll be a liar by saying that words have the same meaning and beauty you found reading them the first time. What we found amazing is the emotional superstructure that nin music evokes. This structure is given by the circumstances around the group. We feel that someone with a never heard name as trent reznor, and with such a diabolic look cannot but be the personification of our unpleasant feelings, so try to get him carry any meaning we have to get rid of. So why try to give Closer the meanig of a prayer or of the description of a lifetime, as i would have said? To me, it suggested the expression of everything between birth (the initial hartbeat coming out of nothing) and death (the final climax of rage and pain that suddenly breaks in a simple and almost naive melody resembling the peace in rest, a melody that is taken again in The Downward Spiral song to get to feel the depth of the screamig of the dead suicides). The great thing is that this music gets me to feel something so close.

From: Nathaniel Smith

I found it refreshing that for once someone put together a truly unbiased analysis of the music of Trent. It seems in this day and age of growing apathy and violence that we tend to passify ourselfes toward the true intent and nature of Trents music. You have proven that the music of NIN is malicious, self-destructive, and puts himself as head of a rebellion against god, love, and society. Even though this is all true I must admit I love the stuff. I think it may be nature of man to love it. You as the listener become in command of a enigmatic, subliminal, godly, terrifying power. I challenge you as a listener to think about what is being said and not let it passively be absorbed into your values and nature.

name=Stephen Bedrin, bedrin@ascu.buffalo
I was very impressed with your analyzation of his work. It's good to finally see someone looking at his music in a serious and meaningful fashion. All I ever hear and see now-a-days are people putting him in a sex icon role and saying his music is "awesome to 'mosh' to". His work has meaning and body to it and I'm very happy to see someone seeing it that way. Thank You.

Name=P. Fz. McAnena, pfm@dcs.ed.ac.uk
Date: Sun Dec 3 15:10:11 MST 1995
While intelligent and quite coherently written, Michael Heumann's essay *Entertainment through Pain...* was nevertheless of questionable value: one cannot help but wonder how much of the meaning read into Reznor's work by the author was actually intentionally articualted by the artist, and how much was (rather pretentiously) squeezed out of the lyrics and music by Heumann himself. What, in other words, would Reznor himself think of this essay? Has he even considered some of the points made or is Heumann merely rationalising an art-form which, many would argue, simply does not require rationalisation by the very nature of its origins and philosophy - Rock & Roll?

name=Rob, rmohns@clarku.edu
Date: Sun Feb 25 13:37:22 MST 1996
I would simply answer to [the above] that I said the same thing to my English teachers in high school about "Great works of literature", and they didn't like that. :-)

Name=P. Fz. McAnena, pfm@dcs.ed.ac.uk
Date: Sun Dec 3 15:10:11 MST 1995
I wonder why the issue of Reznor's continual pig-references was not addressed.

name=Dustin, djd68264@gdi.net
Date: Mon Dec 4 12:41:09 MST 1995
I found the essay to be differ from what I was expecting. This is not to say that it was poor. Actually I found the essay to be informative. You did a nice job explaining how Trent fit into the music scene and defining how different aspects of this realm of music have become what they are today.
Basically I was looking for something simple about NIN. Info about Trent and his other members he tours with, motivations, inspirations, or whatever else that has fueled his vehicle for puting him whare he is presently. Future??

Date: Sat Dec 9 15:38:19 MST 1995
I took my time reading this essay one snowy winter afternoon while listening to TDS -- at one point a friend came into the room and startled the shit out of me!! (I had my headphones on, the volume cranked, and was very absorbed in my own thoughts about the music.

It was an interesting and pleasant read, though a bit wordy in places. I'll point my fellow Ninnies here....

name=monica, mmrice@rs01.kings.edu
Date: Sun Dec 10 16:45:16 MST 1995
I don't think I've ever read anything about NIN like this before, I think it was great. I never thought of "The Becoming" like that either, you really made me think about it.
Everyone has different interpretations of what NIN's lyrics and music mean, I personal don't think that you can put a strict, confining definition on the meanings. What you have presented here is terrific.
Are you always that intelligent?

Date: Tue Dec 12 21:20:10 MST 1995
I think the essay is definately the best I've ever read about Trent Reznor. Boy, how did you ever get into his head like that and figure him out?? I find Trent truely amazing. Definately one of the most interesting people, if not the most interesting person in the world; so in depth!! Trent is the best!!!!! NIN Rule!!!

name=Tormentee, sparkg@wave.co.nz
Date: Mon Dec 18 04:16:01 MST 1995
To everyone out there who says Trent is a god - HE IS NOT! Sure, he may be a talented musician who is brilliant at expressing the dark side of the human psyche, but he is not the only person in this world capable of doing this. There are many others just like him who are just as talented and enlightened as him, but he is one of the few who have become internationally famous. Trent is cool, but he is not a god.

Date: Thu Dec 21 03:28:56 MST 1995
I think it's really great there are other nin-fans/addicts out there, but I got a few questions about your other musical intrests: What do you like about PJ Harvey? And where are records like blood and gold(nerve) in your hitlist? Well I just have to keep reminding myself nobody's perfect (except me maybe) I just got one other question:where can I get things like NIN-video's living in a retarted country like Belgium(Ithink I'm about the only one over here into them).

Date: Thu Dec 21 06:37:42 MST 1995
I enjoyed your article, but have two questions. One, why didn't you talk about his constant reference to pigs, and two, what is the bands name symbolic of-maybe it ahs something to do with the fact that Jesus was crucified with nails that were nine inches long?

name=piggies in the dirt
Date: Mon Dec 25 14:26:38 MST 1995
Trent is God for all matters. The words "piggy" and "pigs" are refering to the Manson killings, Manson wrote the words pig and pigs must die in blood on the wall. The killings has a feel in Trents music.

Date: Thu Dec 28 19:15:03 MST 1995
wake up people trent is not a god, not talented and not a musician. people just need to learn to look at the bright side and not focus on evil all the time we need to love again and try to understand people how will we learn to unify against the system if we rebel against ourselves and not care for any one else how can you call trent god if he can not even help himself we all have pain and trent wants to change because if you listen to him he is not happy lets all cash in on our pain now

Date:Sat Dec 30 19:53:05 MST 1995
Despite what people think, Trent Reznor is not a God. His music and lyrics are supposed to tell you how he is feeling. He is meerly expressing himself. What I hate more than anything are posers. They say that they like bands like Nine Inch Nails but they have really never heard any of there music. They just like them because they are popular. The real fans (like me) despise them. AS for the article, I thought it was very well written. (I got to meet Trent and Robin by the way).

name=Eric Draven, davidp@athenet.net
Date: Mon Jan 1 14:15:10 MST 1996
Although I only glanced over your essay, I found certain parts that peaked my interest. This essay helped me to better understand " the downward spiral". The explination of the "I" and "You" theme throughout the entire album made me say to myself " Ahhhh, so that's he 's talking about." I was especially interested in the explination of "Hurt". When I first heard the song I thought it was kind of catchy, so I went and bought the album because I had heard "March of the Pigs" and "Closer" and they too appealed to me. "Hurt" and "A Warm Place" are two songs that, in a sense, give the album mood-swings. I would really would liked to have seen an analysis of "A Warm Place", I don't know maybe you did, as I said, I only skimmed the essay. All in all I found the essay extremely informative and I will probably tell my other friends who are NIN fans to read this essay for the reason that it makes the music more enjoyable.

name=Clint Nielsen,gellis@ocs.mq.ed.au
Date: Tue Jan 2 21:16:42 MST 1996
I think that you have basically told the truth about the history and background of Reznor and Industrial music. I am very glad that someone has finally realised that Reznor isn't just a big sook, looking for attention where ever he goes and exploiting his image. Pearl Jam are like this and have unfortunately been tied in with NIN somewhere along the line. Thanks for explaiNINg the true NIN.

Date:Tue Jan 2 00:42:26 MST 1996
I really liked your essay. Your english is excellent not that you probably care or anything. Your essay brings to mind what I want: I believe NIN's stuff should be taught in school as a great piece of literature. You have explained it very deeply and intelligently. I wish I could express my thoughts like you but everything that is in my head never comes out right. Very impressive piece of work. I really enjoyed and I could hear parts of the songs as I read your essay. Maybe, in the future, if you have time, write an essay about "broken". I believe NIN's stuff goes down as a classic in 20th century literature. Maybe something my kids or their kids will be reading in the future as part of their english class. Once again, nice piece of work and it is good to see an intelligent person spending time to do good.

Date: Sat Jan 6 11:52:27 MST 1996
I love sex-n-pain. i love to make you cry for it all to end, but when it does are you really the same. no....every cell in you now longs and groans for my my my........... i knbow you love it take it again, take more.
thats ok ---i'll take you anyway-your soul that is and your all too.

Admission one; I haven't read this essay yet. I'm running out of money in a pay per minute internet cafe, but I'll have an internet link proper based based in Leeds/York, England in a month or so. Admission two; I'm jobless and fairly poor. Interest is I'm signing a contract next week to work for an independant film company making a documentary about subcultures in the 90's. Admission three; I'm a big NIN and TPV fan. Can I use any of the above article? Anyone around Leeds/York want to meet for conversations, ect? Watch this space an email addrress if interested? Hope to hear. Cheer up. life gets worse!

name=Kelly, sechnet@c-zone.net
Date: Sat Jan 6 19:51:42 MST 1996
I dont doubt that you put a lot of thought into writing this essay. I only actually read the first section of it though, because I didn't want to always interpret songs your way. Iwas afraid that reading on would ruin the way I understand trent.

name=Chloe D. B., chloe777@aol.com
Date: Sat Jan 13 14:07:18 MST 1996
I thought your paper was interesting because although I am a NIN fan and do my own disecting of the lyrics, you went a step further and actually analyzed the sounds and how they added to the meanings of the songs. I'll never see the song "closer" in the same way!

name=Darren R. Baker, dbaker@bconnex.net
Date: Tue Jan 16 01:35:50 MST 1996
This essay was an excellent, excellent piece of material. It does disconcert me, however, to see fools putting idiotic comments. Don't waste what little brain power you have left making stupid comments! I wonder if Mr. Reznor reads this stuff? He has a degree in computer somethingoranother from somewhere. He must be on the 'Net'.;|

name=Moss, kucecj@sncac.snc.edu
Date: Wed Jan 17 19:59:35 MST 1996
I liked the work on the whole, but I think that it actually has less to do with a fascination with machines than you give it credit for. I think that the album was primarily concerned with expressing conflicts occurring within Reznor's mind. The whole flow of the album seeems to indicate his responses to a stream of events occurring in his life. Something unpleasant happens in his life (we can only guess at what), and he responds initially with a stream of "I don't care, nothing can stop me now," a complete denial of the situation itself. As this reaction fades, the conflict causes great doubt as to the fundamental principles he was in contact with for probably most of his childhood... Heresey is simply an extension of "How can there be a God if the world is so cruel?", a simple 'crisis' statement that everyone goes through at some point or another. March of the Pigs, to me, is simply a fight to regain something that he has lost, and in "Closer" he manages to get it, at least to some extent. He completely opens himself ("through every forest, above the trees/within my stomach, scraped off my knees/i drink the honey inside your hive/you are the reason i stay alive"), his sudden openness is met only with denial, to result in "ruiner," elicting a similar response as that of "piggy." After all this, we come to The Becoming, which I interpreted very differently. I think that The Becoming is actually about a conflict between reason and passion. The Machine is the base, fundamental desires and impulses that he has been acting on, conflicting with the "reasonable" reactions he thiks he should be having. He starts out as winning against his drives, but later they seem to be eating away at his mind: "it won't give up it wants me dead/goddamn this noise inside my head." I think that the references of wires and machines are just physical representations of the schizmed parts of Reznor's (and indeed, everyone's) mind (we've all done things that we knew we had to do even though it caused us pain. It's the same thing.) "I do not want this" is about the battle lurking inside his mind, losing against himself. "Big man with a gun" is a mustering of strength, repressing the entire battle in favor of something that makes sense, hate, leading up to "eraser," where again the passions and drives have won through the reasons, and the schizm reestablishes itself: "break you/lose me." I see the changes from "reptile" to "hurt" to be just a sinking into despair and sorrow- soneone looking back on events that shouldn't have happened and feeling truly miserable about the whole lot. Anyway, getting off my soapbox, I just liked your essay a lot, and thought I'd use this opportunity to express my feelings on the subject. Keep up the good work!
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