The Fragile (song)

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"The Fragile"
Album: The Fragile (Left)
Length: 4:35
Tempo: 143 BPM
Versions: The Fragile
The Fragile (Instrumental)
The Fragile (Deconstructed)
The Fragile (Still)
The Fragile (Bridge School Benefit)
Live: Fragility v2.0
Performance 2007
Wave Goodbye Tour

"The Fragile" is the sixth track—and the title track—on the Left disc of the 1999 double album The Fragile.





  • Bridge School Benefit Collection, Vol 4


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 Trent 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, Mellotron, 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)

Running Time: 4:48

Released exclusively through Apple Music and later on The Fragile: Deviations 1.

The Fragile (Deconstructed)

Running Time: 6:10

This is a remix by Keith Hillebrandt which was featured as a website-only download for a limited time on during The Fragile era, along with versions of "No, You Don't" and "La Mer." When the track was posted to, the description stated that according to Reznor, its structure was the inspiration for "The Frail."

The Fragile (Still)

Running Time: 5:12

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 It is performed mostly solo on a keyboard.

Song Credits

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.


"The Fragile" was a setlist rarity up to 2009. It made its debut appearance at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards, and appeared in encores four times on the Fragility tour. The song would remain very similar to the album version except somewhat louder.

"The Fragile" was not performed on the Live: With Teeth tour, but was performed by Trent Reznor solo at the 2006 Bridge School Benefit.

During the Performance 2007 tour, a modified Still version of the song was played for the song's few performances on the European spring leg.

The song returned to setlists during the NIN|JA 2009 tour, the only time it's been a setlist regular. Once again, it was performed similarly to the version on The Fragile.

"The Fragile" has not been performed since August 2009.


    She shines
    In a world full of ugliness
    She matters
    When everything is meaningless
    She doesn't see her beauty
    She tries to get away
    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

External Links

Previous track - "We're In This Together" Track 6 from The Fragile Left (CD), Side B (Vinyl) Next track - "Just Like You Imagined"
This page was last modified on 21 December 2019, at 15:20. This page has been accessed 102,168 times.