Broken (Nine Inch Nails EP)

Broken (Nine Inch Nails EP)

Infobox Album
Name = Broken
Type = EP
Artist = Nine Inch Nails

Released = September 22, 1992
Recorded = March to August 1992 at Hell, New Orleans; Royal Recorders, Lake Geneva; South Beach Studios, Miami Beach; Village Recorder & A&M, Los Angeles; Pig, Beverly Hills
Genre = Industrial metal
Length = 31:32
Label = TVT/Nothing
Producer = Trent Reznor, Flood
Reviews =
* Allmusic Rating|4.5|5 [ link]
* Robert Christgau rating-Christgau|neither [ link]
Last album = "Pretty Hate Machine" (1989)
This album = "Broken" (1992)
Next album = "Fixed" (1992)

"Broken" (also known as "Halo 5") is the second major studio release from American Industrial rock act Nine Inch Nails. The EP was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Flood. Although it is an EP, it is usually considered by fans and criticsweal to be the band's second major release after "Pretty Hate Machine" since it is over 30 minutes in length and consists entirely of new material. It is considerably heavier and takes much more influence from industrial metal and noise rock than "Pretty Hate Machine", which was more oriented towards synthpop.


After the commercial and critical success of "Pretty Hate Machine", TVT Records pressured Trent Reznor to record another radio-friendly album that had potential successful singles. Steve Gottlieb, the CEO of TVT Records, was insistent that he would not release anything other than an album much like "Pretty Hate Machine". This led to Reznor demanding his label to terminate his contract, because he felt like their meddling was hindering his musical integrity. This argument between his label led Reznor to disappear for a few years, where he was, in fact, recording his new EP, which he planned to make much heavier, and a precursor to his future album "The Downward Spiral". During this time, Reznor used a variety of aliases to stay hidden from label interference.citationneeded|date=August 2008

In 1992, Trent Reznor returned from hiding and presented his label with "Broken". The 8-track EP was much heavier, because Reznor claims that during the "long, arduous tours for Pretty Hate Machine, the songs became more aggressive when played by a band, compared to the process of studio recording."citationneeded|date=August 2008 The concerts for "Pretty Hate Machine" often turned violent as a result of band members releasing their frustration and anger on their instruments. His label was hesitant to release the album, but saw potential successful singles in "Wish" and "Happiness in Slavery." So, despite protests internally on the label, the EP was released in September of 1992.


After the EP's release, it sold well. The lead single "Happiness in Slavery" received moderate airplay, but its music video, which depicted Bob Flanagan being pleasured, tortured, and killed on a device led to MTV banning the video. This stunted the single's growth; but the single "Wish" was much more successful with an aggressive live performance on the music video, and the single winning a Grammy for Best Metal Performance. Trent Reznor said about winning the Grammy that on his gravestone, he wanted it to read "Said Fist Fuck, Won a Grammy."citationneeded|date=August 2008

Not long after the EP's release, rumors of a Broken "movie" surfaced, which was rumored to be a snuff film with all of the songs playing to a scene. The real video for "Gave Up" would prove to be part of the official video, as well as the videos for "Happiness in Slavery" and "Wish". The video would, however, be released a part of the "Closure" VHS, which was released after "The Downward Spiral". Due to "Gave Up"'s graphic substance, a mainstream video of the song being performed at Le Pig studios by Trent Reznor, a young Marilyn Manson and Richard Patrick was released to MTV.

The influence of Reznor's conflict with his former label is evident in multiple aspects of the EP. After a long list of credits, the packaging reads, "no thanks: you know who you fucking are" followed by "the slave thinks he is released from bondage only to find a stronger set of chains." These comments are likely directed towards TVT Records' Steve Gottlieb, who refused to let Reznor out of his contract, sparking legal battles between the two parties. At the beginning of "Physical (You're So)," Reznor whispers, "eat your heart out, Steve." In a music video for "Gave Up," a computer monitor reads "fuck you steve". [cite web
url =
title = gave up
author = arkmay
work = new sweat to drown me in
date = 2001-02-21
accessdate = 2007-03-10


On this EP, there are louder mixes and more distortion on every instrument, including a classic Mellotron MKIV (originally owned by John Lennon), which can be heard most particularly on the track "Gave Up". The album was much more "metal" than his previous album, obviously taking influences from industrial metal bands like Ministry. The lyrics are less of a departure; for the most part the themes involve angst, control and dependency struggles. Reznor said he wanted the album to be "an ultra-fast chunk of death" for the listener, something that would "make your ears a little scratchy".Fact|date=February 2007

Track listing

"Except where otherwise noted, all songs by Trent Reznor."
#"Pinion" – 1:02
#"Wish" – 3:46
#"Last" – 4:44
#"Help Me I Am in Hell" – 1:56
#"Happiness in Slavery" – 5:21
#"Gave Up" – 4:08

  • "Physical (You're So)" (Adam Ant) – 5:29
    #"Suck" (Martin Atkins, Paul Barker, Trent Reznor, Bill Rieflin) – 5:07

    Note: Tracks 7–97 are second long silent tracks.

    Bonus tracks

    "Broken" was originally packaged in a fold-out digipak, containing the six tracks on a regular CD and an additional three-inch mini CD with the two remaining songs ("Physical" and "Suck"). After Reznor discovered that some unscrupulous record store owners were removing the mini CD and selling it separately, "Broken" was re-released as one CD, with the bonus songs "hidden" on tracks 98 and 99, respectively, with tracks 7-97 each containing a second of silence (three seconds per track on the UK release).

    The UK vinyl release was a one sided 12" which featured the six main tracks. The two bonus cuts were issued on a 7" single given away inside the EP in a white die-cut sleeve.

    "Physical" is a cover of the Adam & the Ants song "Physical (You're So)", originally released on the "Kings of the Wild Frontier" LP. In 1995, Nine Inch Nails performed "Physical" live with Adam Ant for two nights in a row. After Trent introduced Adam Ant and Marco Pirroni on the second night, Adam Ant proclaimed to the audience, "It's nice to be on stage with the best fucking band in the world."

    "Suck" was written by Pigface, whose ever-changing lineup once included Reznor. The slower, sparser, radically different original version appeared a year earlier on Pigface's "Gub" album. Live, Pigface usually plays a version similar to Broken's, as evidenced by the super-group's various live recordings ("Welcome to Mexico, Asshole," "Glitch," etc.). However, their interpretation emphasizes the bass, de-emphasizes keyboards and computer effects, and lacks Reznor's "I am so dirty on the inside" break down. Reznor's song also "does" include Pigface's shout of "Suck! Suck! Suck!" after "How does it feel?", except it is faintly whispered on the cover version.

    The writing credit for "Suck" caused a minor controversy. Whereas the Pigface albums list all contributors to each of the songs, in this case "Atkins/Rieflin/Barker/Reznor" as listed on Gub, the credit on "Broken" say "written by t. reznor/pigface". On the later Pigface release Truth Will Out, the writing credit for the song is "whatever trent says---really---no shit".

    Album personnel

    * Martin Atkins – drums on "Wish"
    * Tom Baker – mastering
    * Flood – production
    * Trent Reznor – writing, performance, production
    * Chris Vrenna – drums on "Gave Up"

    Charts and awards




    External links

    * [ Nine Inch Nails official site]
    * [ "Halo 5" at]

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