Broken (also known as Halo 5) is an EP that was released in 1992. Broken is the fifth official Nine Inch Nails release. Although it is an EP, it is usually considered to be the band's second major release after Pretty Hate Machine since it consists entirely of new material. It was followed later in 1992 by Fixed, a companion EP of remixes of the songs on Broken.
Inspiration: Conflict with TVT Records
Released in autumn 1992 on the heels of a major disagreement between Trent Reznor and his label, TVT Records, Broken was a major departure from Pretty Hate Machine. Trent Reznor said that during the long, arduous tour for his debut album, the songs became more aggressive when played by a band, compared to the process of studio recording. The stage often turned violent as a result of everyone releasing pent-up frustration and anger on their instruments. Thus, Broken sounds a lot more abrasive with the increased prominence of distorted guitars.
The influence of Reznor's conflict with his former label on Broken is evident in the album's packaging. After a long list of credits, it says, "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." These comments are more than likely directed towards TVT Records' Steve Gottlieb, who refused to let Reznor out of his contract, sparking legal battles between the two parties.
Audio texture and themes
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 particularly on the track "Gave Up". The lyrics are less of a departure; for the most part the themes involve angst, control and dependency struggles. Reznor said he wanted the album to be "an ultra-fast chunk of death" for the listener, something that would "make your ears a little scratchy".Template:Fact
- TVT Records / Interscope Records / Atlantic Records 7 92213-2 - CD
- TVT Records / Interscope Records INTD-92213 - CD Re-release
- "Pinion" – 1:02
- "Wish" – 3:46
- "Last" – 4:44
- "Help Me I Am In Hell" – 1:56
- "Happiness in Slavery" – 5:21
- "Gave Up" – 4:08
- "Physical" – 5:29
- "Suck" – 5:07
Broken was originally packaged in a fold-out digipak, containing the six tracks on a regular CD]and an additional three-inch mini CD with the two remaining songs ("Physical" and "Suck"). After Reznor discovered that some unscrupulous record store owners were removing the mini CD and selling it separately, Broken was re-released as one CD, with the bonus songs "hidden" on tracks 98 and 99, respectively, with tracks 7-97 each containing a second of silence.
"Physical" is a cover of the Adam & the Ants song "Physical (You're So)", originally released on the Kings of the Wild Frontier LP. In 1995, Nine Inch Nails performed "Physical" live with Adam Ant for two nights in a row. After Trent 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."
"Suck" was written by Pigface, whose ever-changing lineup once included Reznor. The original version appeared a year earlier on Pigface's Gub album.
- Martin Atkins - Drums
- Trent Reznor - Keyboards, Programming, Producer
- Chris Vrenna - Drums, Programming, Beats, Artist
The music video for "Gave Up" features a young Marilyn Manson playing guitar, appearing sans makeup and eye contacts. This was filmed before Reznor signed Manson to Nothing Records.
The controversial Broken movie was made for the first 6 tracks (minus "Last").
The press sheet released for Broken had a note from Reznor on it. The note reads as follows, with the original formatting preserved:
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 started out producing but I ended up
I'm not sure why
maybe I am what everybody 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
Charts and awards
- The record reached #7 on the Billboard 200. The track "Wish", which includes the lyric "fist fuck", won a Grammy Award. Reznor later joked that his epitaph should read: "REZNOR: Died. Said 'fist fuck' and won a Grammy." Template:Fact
- 1992 "Happiness in Slavery" Modern Rock Tracks No. 13
- 1993 "Wish" Modern Rock Tracks No. 25
- Nine Inch Nails' official site
- Halo 5 at NINCollector.com
- Halo 5 Lyrics
- Broken (US CD) at Discogs.com
- Broken (US Cassette) at Discogs.com
- Broken (UK CD) at Discogs.com
- Broken (UK LP) at Discogs.com
- Broken (BR LP) at Discogs.com