I've been listening to this album for about a year and a half, and I've learned something new about it every time. Easily the best album ever created by a single human being, or by any amount of people.

For those who don't know what it's about, the songs are all in chronological order about a heroin junkie's life, and how it goes into a downward spiral, ending with suicide.

1. Mr. Selfdestruct - The first track, describes how heroin rules everything, which is the beginning of the protagonist's journey into hell. Crazy and destructive, is one hell of a metal track.

2. Piggy - Contrasts from the first track, as it's very relaxing and jazzy. The heroin alters his mood, and changes his personality.

3. Heresy - The drug causes his life to start declining, and he loses his faith in religion. One of my favorites, it's a mid paced synth based song.

4. March of the Pigs - Another fast paced metal song, he feels paranoid and vulnerable, like everyone is trying to get a piece of him, and society is bringing him down. He lashes out in a rebellious and violent attitude, blocking everyone out of his life, leaving him alone.

5. Closer - Everyone knows this song. The " I wanna fuck you like an animal" song. It's slow and demonic, fitting the mood of the lyrics perfectly. Heroin makes everything seem less satisfying, and the only pleasure he gets in life is the drug itself, and fucking his girlfriend. He doesn't even like her anymore, he just has sex for the pleasure of it.

6. Ruiner - Not really sure what this one's about, I think it's about depression in general.

7. The Becoming - Describes his new, twisted personality. His voice is different from the earlier songs, he sounds more demented and psychotic now. Listen to the line "The me that you know, he doesn't come around much." His schizophrenic split personality develops, in classic Gollum fashion.

8. I Do Not Want This - A tense, dark sounding song. It's about how he recognizes his change, and it's scaring him. He doesn't want to become a madman. He just wants a normal life again. During the chorus and the ending, his crazy side comes back out. The song end with the lines, "I want to know everything. I want to be everywhere. I want to fuck everyone in the world. I want to do something that matters."

9. Big Man With A Gun - This is the climax of his violent dementia. All it is him saying how he wants to rape and murder someone.

10. A Warm Place - The only instrumental on the album. It's very peaceful and relaxing, but different from Piggy, as the emotions are untouched by drugs, and it's about him thinking "what have I done." It's obvious from the melancholy sound of it that he feels depressed and lonely, and wishes he could have done things differently.

11. Eraser - Another one of my favorites, it starts with mechanical factory noises. The intro is a symphony of disturbing sounds that goes on for 2-3 minutes. The lyrics are about how he wants to die, for someone to kill him and end it all.

12. Reptile - My absolute favorite of the album. It has a sinister, mechanical mood about. The beat is composed of shotguns cocking and firing, and a reptile thing screaming. Best. Beat. EVER. After all these suicidal thoughts and depression, the protagonist feels like he has nothing to lose. Remember how I said in Closer that the only the he feels pleasure in is Heroin and his girlfriend? Well, turns out his girlfriend is a cheating whore, and he found out. She dumped his ass for someone else. That can't be good.

13. The Downward Spiral - This song is very disturbing. He kills himself at the end of this song. " I couldn't believe how easy it was. I put the gun in my mouth... bang. Now every fucking thing is fixed".

14. Hurt - This song is a little confusing in respect to the last one, but it's a beautiful piece. I think it's something like this; if he could see his entire life in 2nd person, then this is what it would be like. He realizes that heroin is what caused all of this pain, and he wishes he could take it all back, and heal all the people that he hurt. I think it's directed at the listener, to be a better person, not to be like him. Treat other people like human beings, the way they should be. Not as sex objects, or things to claim and kill.

Anyone that hasn't heard this album needs to, however note that it is one of the most controversial albums of all time. If you don't think you can handle it, then don't listen to it. It takes an open mind to truly appreciate it for what it's worth. Trent Reznor is a lyrical, and musical genius. His work his inspired me in general music so much. It teaches you to respect other people for who they are, and to keep an open mind. Something that today's culture and people desperately need to do.
I want to hear your opinions on this album and artist. Is he a true musician that stands out from the crowd, or a raving perverted lunatic that needs to be locked away?

I also want to know if you have a different interpretation of the songs, or the album meaning. Feel free to discuss.