The Fragile (song)
"The Fragile" is the sixth track—and the title track—on the Left disc of the 1999 double album The Fragile.
This is the original album version as it appears on The Fragile. Opening with a distant e-bow guitar drone from the end of "We're In This Together," the first verse soon enters, characterized by live drums incorporating the use of a floor tom with a tambourine on top, a simple bassline, and Reznor's soft vocals. The first chorus features merely the new bass riff and drum rhythm accompanied by sequenced synthesizer layers below Reznor's repetitions of the phrase, "I won't let you fall apart." The second verse returns bass riff and drum pattern return with new percussion loops underneath, soon giving way to the second chorus' loud guitars and shouted vocals. These all stop at the end of the phrase, interrupted by a staccato synthesizer melody that ushers in layers of strings and out of tune percussion under Reznor's quiet, desperate vocals. This bridge continues as Reznor repeats "and picking," fading out quietly as distorted guitars bring in the return of the chorus progression and drums beneath a guitar solo playing the same melody as the piano progression in "The Frail." This leads into a final repetition of the chorus, all the instruments and vocals stopping suddenly at the end of the phrase and leading into "Just Like You Imagined."
The Fragile (Instrumental)
Released exclusively through Apple Music.
The Fragile (Deconstructed)
This is a remix by Keith Hillebrandt which was featured as a website-only download for a limited time on nin.com during The Fragile era, along with versions of "No, You Don't" and "La Mer." According to Reznor, its structure was the inspiration for "The Frail." The track is currently available for download at the remix.nin.com website.
The Fragile (Still)
This stripped-down version is on Still, which was originally packaged with the Deluxe Edition CD of And All That Could Have Been and is curently available through NIN.com. It is performed mostly solo on a keyboard.
The Fragile (Bridge School Benefit)
In 2006 Reznor played his only full solo performances at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit. In this performance Reznor played piano but was backed by a string quartet. This version is similar to the Still version of the song. This version was released on the digital-only album The Bridge School Collection, Vol. 4.
When played during the Fragility tours and the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards, the song would remain very similar to the album version except somewhat louder. During the Performance 2007 tour, a modified Still version of the song was played. The song returned to setlists during the NIN|JA 2009 tour, once again performed similar to the version on The Fragile.
She shines In a world full of ugliness She matters When everything is meaningless Fragile She doesn't see her beauty She tries to get away Sometimes It's just that nothing seems worth saving I can't watch her slip away I won't let you fall apart She reads the minds of all the people as they pass her by Hoping someone can see If I could fix myself I'd— But it's too late for me I won't let you fall apart We'll find the perfect place to go where we can run and hide We'll build a wall and we can keep them on the other side …But they keep waiting …And picking… It's something I have to do I was there, too Before everything else I was like you