What’s This Playlist All About? The NIN mastermind cherry-picks from his own catalog to gift us with a soundtrack for soaking in the beautiful sadness of solitude. His only tip: “Darkness optional but recommended.”
What Do You Get? Reznor’s bleakest but most seductive instrumentals, mostly from his film scores with main collaborator Atticus Ross. There’s no shortage of minor keys, moaning drones, and endless black holes of white noise. The mood is not all nihilistic, though; in fact, the way the songs flow—patiently, almost placidly—allows for ample moments of blissful reflection.
Darkest Moment: There’s something truly disorienting about the weirdly pitched drones weaving through Reznor’s soft piano jabs on “Soft Trees Break the Fall” from The Social Network. It’s even more terrifying to think about listening to this while scrolling through Facebook.
What Did He Forget? While a few tracks from the underrated Still are here, that release’s glistening finale “Leaving Hope” would have been a fine addition. But perhaps that one’s better with the lights on.
Should You Dare Play This in the Presence of Others? We wouldn’t. This stuff can take you to dark places you never knew existed.