Broken

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Halo 5 - Broken
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Broken (also known as Halo 5) is an EP released on September 22nd 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. The EP was recorded in secret, in order to avoid interference from TVT Records.

It was followed later that year by Fixed, a companion EP of remixes of the songs on Broken. The typeface used on Broken (and Fixed) is Akzidenz-Grotesk Black, which was also used to create the Nothing Records logo.

Track listing

Broken is available for download on iTunes and Amazon MP3.

CD

  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
  7. -   97.  Silence
  1. "Physical" – 5:29
  2. "Suck" – 5:07
  • On digital versions and certain CD versions of Broken, "Physical" is track 7 and "Suck" is track 8.

12" Vinyl

     A1  "Pinion" - 1:02
     A2  "Wish" - 3:46
     A3  "Last" - 4:44
     A4  "Help Me I Am In Hell" - 1:56
     A5  "Happiness In Slavery" - 5:21
     A6  "Gave Up" - 4:08

Bonus 7"

     A  "Physical" - 5:29
     B  "Suck" - 5:07

  • This was later reissued by Interscope with A1-A5 on the first side and A6 with "Physical" and "Suck" on the B-side. Copies of this version are the only ones still available, and are pressed in and shipped from Brazil. That same track layout was also used on the cassette version.

Bonus Tracks

"The last two tracks were leftovers from a 12" that should have been released when we did lollapalooza, but due to record labels.... ...so, i thought they were good enough to be released, but did not fit with 'broken', so, i wanted to give them away but keep them separate from the EP, so, i came up with the 3" CD idea, but, my record label informed me that it cost so much to manufacture that they could not break even EVER regardless of sales, so, i compromised and allowed the first 250,000 to have the 3" CD, and the rest to have them on tracks 98-99 (so nobody would be ripped off)."

—Reznor [1]

"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."

—Reznor [2]

Broken Movie

For more information, see Broken Movie

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 a very violent and extreme long-form video 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. A direct reference to Gottlieb appears in one of the music videos for "Gave Up", where the words "FUCK YOU STEVE" can be spotted on a computer screen.

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."

In an interview with Keyboard Magazine in 1994[3], Reznor elaborated on the EP's unique guitar textures:

"Broken, for example, had a lot of that super-thick chunk sound. Almost every guitar sound on that record was me playing through an old Zoom pedal, direct, and then going into Turbosynth. Then I used a couple of key ingredients to make it sound unlike any real sound in the world, and layered about four of them together. By then, it wasn't a guitar anymore. It's an awesome sound."

In an interview with Alternative Press in 1993[4], Reznor discussed the writing and instrumentation:

"I tried doing an album that I actually just wrote on guitar rather than my tried-and-true method of a drum machine and keyboards. So with the exception of 'Happiness in Slavery' all songs were written on guitar. I was gonna make it totally stripped down to guitar, bass and drums but as I started it I realized I could easily fall into another trap. What might sound interesting to me - because I'm not used to it - may sound like a garage band to the world. So we just took the three instruments and sampled 'em, fucked with 'em, processed them. It's kind of overboard, we did go crazy. It's kind of dense, too dense. It's over analyzed - every song has 20 diffe