Empire Of Angst
Trent was the man who single-handedly kicked the MTV generation in the balls with dark, angry industrial metal that (for once) didn't sound like a gaggle of escaped mental patients running riot in a recording studio. Alongside releasing instant classics like "Broken" and "The Downward Spiral", he gave a little-known upstart musician-slash-performance artist going by the name of Marilyn Manson a platform from which he would bitch-slap America's "Moral Majority" and invade the nightmares of god-fearing Christians for years and years to come. As of this writing, Reznor's music industry clout is a curious mix of fan loyalty and cult of personality, not unlike fellow auteur Richard D. James, who could drop his pants on-stage, piss on his audience, and still come away with a regular paycheck.
Trent at the office. Gold brix were shat.
While his contemporaries maintain their edge by drawing on abusive history, soul-crushing addictions or straight-up insanity, Reznor has proven himself extraordinarily resourceful by needing no such tasteless gimmick. After humble beginnings as a garden-variety white boy, by his own admission he owes his booming career to one instance of being emotionally wounded by a female.
Then again, Johnny "I AM A MOTHERFUCKER" Cash covered a Nine Inch Nails song and promptly died. Just sayin'...
When suckling the red-raw teat of the dramacow grew somewhat stale two decades later, Trent wandered off the beaten path and masterminded another concept album -- Year Zero -- whose accompanying Alternate Reality Game proved infinitely more entertaining than the cacophony of weaponized electronica that made up the actual album. One could be forgiven for thinking Year Zero was a cynical ploy to screw over his greedy record label, except for the fact Trent took the project seriously enough to pour millions of his own cash into the marketing campaign. Srsly, wtf dood?
That IS "and then". Trent's stint in rehab stripped him not only of his vices but virtually everything that made him a world-class icon -- rage, contempt for subtlety, dreams of running a piece of rent metal across the eyeball of humanity -- all the fun shit, really. Rather than giving the world what it's been waiting for since before we ushered in the new friggin' millenium -- namely more of the loud, angry, vintage Nine Inch Nails -- instead he's been throwing his sizeable weight behind (of all fucking things) the Internet, championing the infamous tubes as the alternative to dealing with the wretched villainy of major music labels.
And he got hitched.
Buy the box set and move on with your lives, people.