Talk:Broken

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No mention of the film of the same name? Even though this never saw wide distribution, there should be a mention of the film Reznor put together. The film gives the songs a thematic twist, suggesting that the EP is a trip into the life of a killer. This also suggests that "broken" was Reznor's first true attempt at a concept album, something he would quite successfully pull off with his next major studio release, "The Downward Spiral."

The movie "broken" opens with the camera out the car window as the killer seeks his victim. A random man is picked off the street and kidnapped. Strapped to a chair and later hung from the ceiling by his hands, the victim is beaten, stripped, torn apart, stabbed, opened up, and variously mutilated in between each video from the "broken" EP.

"pinion," an instrumental, sets an unsettling emotion both in terms of audio and video (and marks a strong departure from the musical style of "Pretty Hate Machine," suggesting a reason that "pinion" is the opening song of every concert since the "Downward Spiral" tour). The tone set by this song would go on to be trademark Reznor composing, using sounds to denote a sense of dread or uneasiness. The video moves through a dingy shop, down corridors and through doors to a disgustingly dirty toilet. Down the drain along with the flushing of the toilet, the camera travels along pipes, finally revealing the person, fully and tightly wrapped in a shiny black straitjacket, whose mouth is attached to the end of the pipe. Toilet water breaks out around the mouth as the body writhes in what one can only assume is agony.

The motivation for killing seen in the lyrics of "wish" hints at the futile world the killer sees all around him, what would later manifest itself throughout "TDS." The video shows the band performing inside a cage. Despite what should be a means of protection, the crowd surrounding them are barely kept at bay by the cage. By the end of the video, the band is at the mercy of the savages that have been grabbing at them and obviously wanting to tear them up the entire time. There's a symbolic battle between impulses and actions here that add to the concept of the album.

The film "broken" did not contain the video for "last," though the lyrics fit in with the theme of a killer's journey to some kind of justice. "last" shows a narrator that doesn't believe in the longevity of relationships. This is a narrator who doesn't care much about the world around him, who only cares about immediate satisfaction (through sex or other means). This is the killer losing touch with humanity by losing concern for relationships with others (again, an idea prominently seen in "TDS").

The video for "help me i am in hell" is not included in the film "broken," either. Instead, there's a black screen while this song plays. It's been suggested that Reznor gave friends copies of this film with different spots blacked out. This would make tracing any leaks back to specific people much easier. The later-released video for the instrumental "help me i am in hell" continues the feelings created in the music of "pinion" and the words of the preceding songs. We see a man in a glass cage, similar to those in a museum. The room is full of flies and this man is sitting down to a steak dinner, complete with a glass of red wine. The flies all around the room, on the food, and in the drink bring a layer of queasiness and discomfort to the scene. In relative comfort the man eats and we marvel at how he can possibly treat his current situation as smoothly as any of us would be in our own living rooms. The title "help me i am in hell" takes on new significance in the context of the movie, where the victim of a brutal murder is forced to watch these videos that almost act as a confession of the person who is killing him.

"happiness in slavery" shows a man preparing himself for something by removing his clothing and washing in what seems a ritual fashion. We find out very soon that this man voluntarily endures similar torture to what the victim in the film lives through. This hints that perhaps even victims of torture can find happiness in the life they (shortly) lead. It also frighteningly posits that the victim in the film volunteered for his torture somehow, even though the selection at the beginning appeared to be random. The final shot of the video, after the previous gentleman has been reduced to ground beef by a torture machine in the middle of the room, shows Reznor walking in wearing the same clothing as the man in the beginning. The implication is clear that Reznor's character will find the same fate.

"gave up" is the final confession and realization of the killer and the video shows that: a criminal brought to justice in the legal sense. Though it is a dehumanizing trip (this video is interrupted by shots from the film, scenes of the victim's horrible final moments showing a killer who very simply is not a human being anymore), the killer is caught and the lyrics to the song suggest that it was his own doing: "after everything i've done i hate myself for what i've become / i tried / i gave up / throw it away" This video shows police investigating refrigerators and freezers filled with previous victims in various stages of decay and cannibalism. The killer is hanged at the end, with his head flying off screen in the final seconds.

The film, along with the accompanying videos from the EP, shows a horrible vision of a murder victim and the killer's trip to consciousness. The killer feeling regret is not likely, given his smug smile during the execution scene. What the killer "gave up" on may have been any number of things, but it's not probable that this shows a killer who realizes how wrong he has been. There's a lesson here, but it's not a positive one and not one that most people would care to acknowledge. For the most part, we'd like to believe that these kinds of things don't happen in our world, neither symbolically nor literally. --Tsguitar 19:04, 23 February 2007 (PST)

Broken Movie. Pomte 20:42, 23 February 2007 (PST)

"Do the math"

Tracks 7 thru 97 all contain 3 seconds of nothing. Do the math: four and a half minutes after "Gave Up" and you reach "Physical (You're So)."

That phrase in the "Track listing" section feels a bit out of place. It kind of ruins the article's tone, and I believe we should edit it. --Wizfan, the man who erased the capital H 14:56, 15 January 2008 (PST)

I agree with you. I changed the wording so that it isn't as condescending. Plus, on my old, old CD player, tracks 7–97 are 1 second long each. So the length of the dead air really depends on the player being used.--leo3375 19:07, 15 January 2008 (PST)
Thank you. I also did some editing myself ("thru" -> "through"). BTW, could you take a look at the "Broken movie" description written above? Am I wrong, or does it mention of a video clip for "Last"? Is there a music video for "Last"? --Wizfan, the man who erased the capital H 01:37, 16 January 2008 (PST)
[EDIT] I almost forgot: nincollector.com also mentions that the tracks 7-97 are 1 second long each, so I guess you're right.
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