Broken

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Halo 5 - Broken
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For the short film based on the album, go to Broken Movie
Broken (also known as Halo 5) is an EP released in 1992. Although not technically so, Broken is usually considered Nine Inch Nails' second major release after Pretty Hate Machine since it consists entirely of new material; it was followed later that year by Fixed, a companion EP of remixes of the songs on Broken. Music videos were shot for each song with the exception of "Last," "Physical," and "Suck." These videos were included on the second part of the Closure VHS set. Peter Christopherson also compiled these videos along with an alternate version of "Gave Up" into what is known as the Broken Movie.

Inspiration

The release of Broken followed on from a major disagreement between Reznor and his record label at the time, TVT Records, and the influence of the conflict is evident in multiple aspects of the record. After the credits in the packaging, a line 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." This is most likely directed towards TVT Records' Steve Gottlieb, who refused to allow Reznor out of his contract, resulting in a legal battle between the two parties. Trent Reznor has also stated that during the Pretty Hate Machine Tour the songs grew more aggressive when played by a live band compared to their studio counterparts. Violence on-stage also became a common feature at their shows as a result of the band venting pent-up frustration and anger on their instruments. Consequently, Broken sounds much more abrasive and harsher with the increased prominence of distorted guitars, amongst other things.

Audio Texture

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 noticeably on the track "Gave Up". Reznor said he wanted the album to be "an abrasive, hard-to-listen-to thing...I wanted to make a record that the first time you hear it you don't like it, but you might want to hear it again, but by the third time it's pretty cool. By the fifth time, you really like it and possibly by the tenth time you're not sick of it and now it all makes sense"

Track listing

  1. "Pinion" – 1:02
  2. "Wish" – 3:46
  3. "Last" – 4:44
  4. "Help Me I Am In Hell" – 1:56
  5. "Happiness In Slavery" – 5:21
  6. "Gave Up" – 4:08
    Tracks 7 to 97 are one second of silence
  1. "Physical" – 5:29
  2. "Suck" – 5:07

Bonus Tracks

The first 200,000 copies included a 3.5" CD with the bonus tracks "Physical" and "Suck" in a small envelope inside the digipak. After discovering that some unscrupulous record store owners were selling the bonus disc as a separate entity, Reznor had the format changed and the EP was re-released as a single CD, with the bonus tracks occupying track numbers 98 and 99. Tracks 7 through 97 all contain 1–3 seconds of dead air, leaving a gap of 1:31–4:33 between "Gave Up" and "Physical". For the vinyl release, the main tracks were released as a 12", with the bonus tracks on a 7" contained inside the album sleeve. Reznor has explained why the tracks were released as they were: "It was a way to distance them from the other music because it wasn't part of the same mind set. Unfortunately, the risk involved is, with radio being as conservative as it is, I knew they would jump on "Physical" or "Suck" because they're a bit more digestible than the other stuff, so I've tried to make them as obscure as possible."[1] In 1995, Nine Inch Nails performed "Physical" live with Adam Ant for two nights in a row in New York City. After Reznor 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."

Album Credits

  • Writing, performance and production: Trent Reznor
  • (2,3 and 6) Production: Flood, Trent Reznor


Caution: Not for use with mono devices


The sound on this recording was influenced by my live band in 1991 featuring: Richard Patrick, Jeff Ward, James Woolley

  • Studios: Hell (New Orleans), Royal Recorders (Lake Geneva), South Beach Studios (Miami Beach), Village Recorder (Los Angeles), A&M (Los Angeles), Pig (Beverly Hills)
  • Mastering: Tom Baker at Futuredisc
  • Merchendise: Paul Steels, Jerry Long
  • Legal: Michael S. Toorock
  • Booking: Gerry Gerrard for Intertalent
  • Publicity: Sioux Zimmerman


  • Thank you: Jimmy Iovine, Ross Earls, Island UK, Eric Greenspan, Rick Rubin, Joe McEwen, Seymour Stein, Susie Tallman, Mark O'Shea, Ian Copeland, A&M Studios and Kevin Westenberg, Sheira Rees-Davies
  • No thanks: You know who you fucking are


The slave thinks he is released from bondage only to find a stronger set of chains.

  • Sleeve design and photography: Gary Talpas for Black Sun


  • ©1992 Leaving Hope and ©1992 TT Music, Inc.
  • 7 written by A. Ant ©1980 CBS Records, Inc.
  • 8 written by T. Reznor/Pigface ©1991 Thumbless music, Leaving Hope and TVT Music, Inc.

Press Sheet

An A4-sized press sheet included with the 12" vinyl promo includes the following passage from Reznor:

Broken was secretly recorded from march to august 1992 in a variety of locations
without the permission of
the record label
to ensure it could fester without Divine intervention
now They just leave me alone and let me do what I want

"Broken was a hard recording to make
Broken is an ugly record made during an ugly time in my life
Broken marks phase three of nine inch nails: the becoming
I am starting to realize what this is all about
and I don't like it

Flood starting out producing but I ended up
I'm not sure why

maybe I am what everbody seems to think I am♠

nine inch nails is still not a real band with real people playing real instruments
there will be no touring for Broken

I am starting work on my new full-length recording - The Downward Spiral - which I
hope will be finished the beginning of 1993

some will come along for the ride, some won't
Trent Reznor, 1992

Discography
Previous release - "Sin" Halo number: 5 Next release - "Fixed"