Record Review - 4 December 02 2000
Given Trent Reznor's difficulty recording last year's highly-anticipated double album The Fragile, it's no surprise he's take a break to hang out with friends and screw around a little. And that's just what he offers with Nine Inch Nails remix follow-up, Things Falling Apart. In addition to remixing some songs himself, Reznor employs the efforts of bandmates Danny Lohner and Charlie Clouser, as well as outside producers Alan Moulder, Keith Hillebrandt, Adrian Sherwood and others. What results is a more light-hearted take on the same heart-wrenching Fragile tracks that took so much out of Reznor originally.
Many songs remove most or all of the lyrics for a largely instrumental approach, including the disc opener, a grooved-up version of "Into the Void" retitled "Slipping Away." A remix of "The Wretched" keeps the chorus, but reduces it from a shout to a whisper while playing a Nirvana-like loud/soft/loud game with the song's dynamics. The first of three remixes of "Starfuckers Inc." sound like NIN remixing Lords of Acid, with its revved-up beats, bombastic bass and sirens blaring. Other tracks, such as a string-quartet version of "The Frail," take a more minimalist approach and stay focused on the original's most basic musical components. A cover of Gary Numan's "Metal," which could easily have come from The Downward Spiral had Numan not beaten Reznor to writing it, is among the highlights. Despite its considerable charms, though, these reworkings and interpretations are destined to be of more use to Reznor die-hards than casual listeners.