The Downward Spiral is the masterpiece by the multi-instrumentalist, Trent Reznor. It gave many a new look at music by showing the power of industrial music. Might I also say that Trent Reznor is responsible for creating the industrial music genre and inspiring hundreds of other musicians.
It's said to be the story of a nihilistic man through the journey of addiction. The album opens up with "Mr. Self Destruct", the introduction o the story and a setting for the album. Then it ventures to the song "Piggy". One line in this song, "Nothing can stop me now", is repeated in a couple other of the songs on the album, possibly representing destruction and power.
"Heresy", a very catchy song shows the protagonists nihilism when shouting, "God is dead and no one cares" and bashing Christianity. Then you come to "March Of The Pigs", the most energetic, fast paced Nine Inch Nails song to date. The lyrics also prove the power ego of the protagonist and his need for everything to come falling down and being responsible for it.
The next track, "Closer", gained public success and is one of the most erotic songs in the history of music. The beats are made to fit with the sadistic and sexual lyrics. The piano leads into "Ruiner", the center point of the album. The lyrics are more bashings on religion and humanity. Although, this song is known for it's guitar solo that almost sounds like something you'd hear out of Pink Floyd. Trent Reznor said that is what he wanted it to sound like in the first place.
"The Becoming" is a strange, but yet exciting song with disturbing sound loops and makes Trent's voice sound even darker.
"I Do Not Want This" is the leap in the downward spiral. It's deep and moody. It's the part in the story where the protagonists life starts going farther downward the spiral. Then the song goes straight to "Big Man With A Gun", a really fucked up song with fucked up lyrics. Although the song is all about rage, the album moves to a soft, ambient song after it called, "A Warm Place."
The spiral goes deeper with "Eraser". The beats and drums are made to give you that intense feeling. Although the lyrics are simple, they make the songs intensity fucking insane.
"Reptile" is the best track on the album lyrically and keeps the intensity of the album growing. Some people would describe the song as a David Lynch movie, or in other words a bizarre horror film.
"The Downward Spiral" is the track in which the protagonist is starting to hit rock bottom. The mood is darker and gives the emotion of hopelessness for the protagonist. I think this song is the climax of the album and the falling down of it.
The album ends with "Hurt", another song that is known the public and was even covered by Johny Cash. It is the ending of a depressing story with a sad ending. I don't think anyone can cover the song correctly without knowing the whole story of it and the album it was put on. The song is the most powerful piece on the record and leaves you silent for a minute or two.
This is the best I've heard sense I was six years old. not one track has gotten old.