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Nine Inch Nails Music blog

Nine Inch Nails: a beginner's guide

Curious about industrial rock pioneers Nine Inch Nails, but don't know where to start? Here's ten essential tracks chosen by readers to ease you into Trent Reznor's world
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Photograph: Ethan Miller/Reuters
Nine Inch Nails Music blog

Nine Inch Nails: a beginner's guide

Curious about industrial rock pioneers Nine Inch Nails, but don't know where to start? Here's ten essential tracks chosen by readers to ease you into Trent Reznor's world

Jon Cronshaw

Mon 8 Jul ‘13 09.52 EDT First published on Mon 8 Jul ‘13 09.52 EDT

Ahead of the release of Nine Inch Nails' new album Hesitation Marks this September, we asked readers to help compile a playlist of ten tracks for people who have never listened to the band before. Here's what they came up with – listen via the YouTube playlist, or click each song title to view the individual track.

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1. The Hand that Feeds

One of Nine Inch Nails' most polished pop records – a perfect fusion of dance beats and fuzz-laden guitars. Tripmywire says "It's catchy, confident and certain to make a beginner dance!"

2. Head Like A Hole

The opening track on debut album Pretty Hate Machine is a favourite in rock clubs the world over. WarHoleRadTimes loves the song's "skyscraper-sized angst, pulsing electro rhythms, and eardrum shattering noise."

3. Closer

For jsinkersole, Closer is "sexy as hell and slightly sinister." With its unabashedly explicit lyrics, it's probably not the best song to find yourself singing at work.

4. March of the Pigs

From second album The Downward Spiral, March of the Pigs brings together industrial rock influences and whimsical jazz piano. Frightened Rabbit say it encapsulates "both sides of NIN in one, brutal and tender."

5. La Mer

Melodic and frenetically detailed, for @sukeyyy, "it's got to be their ultimate instrumental, showing off Trent's less abrasive, more relaxed and groovy side."

6. Wish

From the band's Broken EP, its unflinching sonic barrage makes it one of their heaviest tracks. BluetapesUK says "it sounds like computers playing Ace of Spades."

7. Something I Can Never Have

With its haunting piano and raw vocals, this is one of the stand-out tracks of their debut album. For ArchieWhit, it captures the very essence of the band: "beauty, sadness, machines, anger."

8. The Perfect Drug

Originally feature on the soundtrack to David Lynch's Lost Highway, The Perfect Drug saw Reznor push the drum and bass genre to its limits – it also has one of the coolest music videos of the 90s. n_mcguinness says it "represents the length and breadth of NIN."

9. We're In This Together

It's a track that crackles and broods before bursting out into one of the biggest rock choruses ever written – it's a song that needs to be played loud. Eddasaurus says it's "accessible, but unconventional."

10. Hurt

Many people think that this song was written by Johnny Cash – many people are wrong. Hurt shows Reznor's song-writing at its peak. For Maarten Schermer, "Hurt has a great balance between harshness and beauty, something it seems Reznor has consistently strived for. And it's one hell of a song."

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