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4.7 out of 5 stars 286 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 18, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

As a placeholder between the full-length Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral, Broken packs a serious punch. Angrier and less poppy than Machine, this EP is full of noisy hooks, if such a thing is possible (check out that guitar riff on the full-throttle "Wish"), and much closer aesthetically to the industrial subgenre that informs Trent Reznor's music. As song titles like "Help Me I Am in Hell" suggest, Broken is a work of undiluted rage, which is, of course, a big part of its appeal. --Genevieve Williams

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Pinion
  2. Wish
  3. Last
  4. Help Me I Am In Hell
  5. Happiness In Slavery
  6. Gave Up
  7. Silent
  8. Silent
  9. Silent
  10. Silent
  11. Silent
  12. Silent
  13. Silent
  14. Silent
  15. Silent
  16. Silent
  17. Silent
  18. Silent
  19. Silent
  20. Silent
  21. Silent
  22. Silent
  23. Silent
  24. Silent
  25. Silent
  26. Silent
  27. Silent
  28. Silent
  29. Silent
  30. Silent
  31. Silent
  32. Silent
  33. Silent
  34. Silent
  35. Silent
  36. Silent
  37. Silent
  38. Silent
  39. Silent
  40. Silent
  41. Silent
  42. Silent
  43. Silent
  44. Silent
  45. Silent
  46. Silent
  47. Silent
  48. Silent
  49. Silent
  50. Silent
  51. Silent
  52. Silent
  53. Silent
  54. Silent
  55. Silent
  56. Silent
  57. Silent
  58. Silent
  59. Silent
  60. Silent
  61. Silent
  62. Silent
  63. Silent
  64. Silent
  65. Silent
  66. Silent
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  68. Silent
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  75. Silent
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  90. Silent
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  93. Silent
  94. Silent
  95. Silent
  96. Silent
  97. Silent
  98. Physical
  99. Suck

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 18, 1992)
  • Original Release Date: September 22, 1992
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nothing
  • ASIN: B000001Y5J
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (286 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,035 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 9, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I must admit that I am not your average industrial metal rock fan, having grown up with Hendrix and the Doors and pushing 50. I picked up NIN's "Broken" on a whim in a drugstore sale bin and I can barely believe how this music has taken a grip on me. I love cranking it up on the commute home from work. It has a way of clearing out the mental cobwebs that no other music even comes close to. Some hear anger in this stuff. I hear a destructive, apocalyptic joy strangely combined with rage. It makes me want to scream, not in anger but in raw exhultation, a kind of celebration of being alive even though trapped in career and suburbia - true "Happiness in Slavery".
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Format: Audio CD
I'm sure you've heard the story behind this album, but I'll tell it again anyway. Pretty Hate Machine became a surprise hit. While it never broke into the top fourty it stayed in the top 100 for over a year, which is quite a feat. TVT felt that if they had more control over the music Trent recorded, than they could have an even bigger hit. Obviously Trent was not happy with this. This album was recorded secretly and is basically his "f**k you" to TVT. This is easily his angriest album, but if you can look past the angst you'll find a great mini-album.

This is not only his angriest album, but also the only one that would really fall into a Metal category. You can tell that Trent had been listening to a lot of Ministry around this time, because it sounds pretty much like their heavier albums with better singing. That's not to say that it's a total rip-off, though. These songs are a lot catchier than Ministry was in their industrial-metal prime, and have a more melodic feel to them. There are also no political messages or samples, which were, and still are, a big part of Ministry.

The album opens with Pinion, a short instrumental that repeats the same 6 chords over and over. It begins almost silent with something that sounds like the wind in the background, but as the song goes on it gets louder and louder until it finally becomes undistorted. 3/5

Immediately after the last few chords of Pinion, Wish begins with a very memorable drum beat. This is probably the most well known song on the album. It has an interesting music video, and it won a Grammy for best Heavy Metal song of 1993. It's easy to see why. It follows Trent's signature loud-soft-loud plan, and it's as good as any of his heavier songs. 5/5

Next is my personal favorite song on the album, Last.
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Format: Audio CD
When Nine Inch Nail's debut album "Pretty Hate Machine" (1989) was first released, it was greeted with little fanfare or commotion. Over time, however, through word-of-mouth, the album caught on. In the early 90s it became an underground and college favorite. Through constant touring and the emergence of the popularity of alternative rock in the early 90s, Nine Inch Nails started to take off. While fans eagerly awaited Trent Reznor's proper follow-up, they eagerly devoured the stop-gap EP "Broken" (1992).

While "Pretty Hate Machine" went for straight-forward industrial beats, "Broken" is far heavier, more aggressive, with more guitars. While the club/techno crowd may have been more receptive to the debut, "Broken" is an EP that would just as likely appeal to metal fans. Equal parts metal and industrial beats, "Broken" can be seen as a prelude, or a sneak preview of what Reznor would unveil two years later with his masterpiece "The Downward Spiral" (1994).

Clocking in slightly past the half-hour mark, with eight songs (two tracks are hidden, two are instrumentals) "Broken" is pretty short. But the EP is so angry, so aggressive, with no reprieve; the shortness in length probably works for the best.

"Broken" features the NIN classics and concert staples, "Wish," "Gave Up," and (the hidden track) "Suck." The lesser known "Last," "Happiness in Slavery," and a cover of Adam Ant's "Physical" (also hidden) are no less memorable. Instrumentals "pinion" and "Help me I am in Hell" help round out the CD.

Back in 1992 when CDs were relatively new to consumers, having ninety-one silent, second-long tracks separate the final two songs from the first six may have been cool and inventive. Now, however, it seems kind of pointless. Still, it's no big deal.

If you are a fan of NIN, "Broken" is just as essential to own as any of the studio albums.
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Format: Audio CD
So we've got good old Trent writing songs for this new EP after the immensely popular and widely accepted Pretty Hate Machine (which will be further referred to as PHM). I think the reason why this album is so much different that his other stuff is because he was excited. He said to himself, "Oh, now that this real band and I are playing together, I'll let everyone in on the creative process." So he and Danny Lohner (lifetime friends) began to write stuff for Broken, originally meant to be a single for the song Happiness in Slavery. Here's the my low-down on all the songs on a 10 base rating scale.
You pop in the CD and you say, "What the hell? Why don't I hear anything?" Then after you check your speaker cables, you can distantly hear this faint "Perfect Drug"-like guitar. Then there are some words that are hard to understand. Basically this one and a half minute song is just a build-up into something fantastic, which is Wish.
Let me tell you, I first bought NIN's live CD and I loved this song. It was so different and so rocky and cool. I was really excited to pick up Broken so I could hear what the original recorded cersion sounded like. At first, I liked it better live, but then as I started listening to it, the perfection that was recording un-live was just so good. This heavy vocals and the crunching guitars are an excellent contrast to the tapping of the snare drum during the chorus. The lyrics are a tad poor though, for Reznor, who is, in my opinion, the best lyricist on the planet.
I was very much so into this song when I first picked up the CD, but then after listening to it so much, I realized that guitar-work was pretty damn tedious and the lyrics even repeated once.
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