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After 25 years, Nine Inch Nails’ flawed, brutally honest debut is still worth a listen

Nine Inch Nails’ debut album, Pretty Hate Machine, was released 25 years ago this week — October 20th, to be precise. It’s a pretty big milestone for NIN mastermind Trent Reznor — most who followed his career through the ’90s figured he would flame out in the self-destructive fashion detailed in his lyrics long before making it this far. But Reznor kept it together and has made a career out of continuously growing and mutating his act over the last few decades. Pretty Hate Machine now stands an intimate, personal view of an artist figuring out exactly who he’ll be, finding the key components of his sound, and making some entertaining missteps along the way.

For my part, I can’t wax poetic and pretend the milestone initially meant a lot…

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