Chronicling ‘The End of All Your Dreams’

Adam Steiner’s ‘Into The Never’ offers readers an in-depth, track-by-track overview of the seminal Nine Inch Nails release, ‘The Downward Spiral.’

Regardless of where ‘Downward Spiral’ sits within your personal rankings—I’d start my list with its follow-up, ‘The Fragile’—the cultural impact of the 1994 release is undeniable. But it’s nearly impossible to tell the story of this massive album without diving deep into the headspace of one Trent Reznor. To that end, Steiner tethers a vivid narrative surrounding Reznor’s writing and recording to his in-depth analysis of the record.

Over nearly three-hundred pages, Steiner recounts a treasure-trove of fascinating anecdotes and personal insights about the man (and his band) behind the record as well as the circumstances surrounding its creation. Dissecting the record song by song, the London-based author offers thoughts and insights on everything from the lyrical and musical components to how each song fits within the context of the greater album.

Steiner is clearly a skilled writer, but I couldn’t help but appreciate the level of personal investment with which he approached this project. Sure, ‘Into The Never’ chronicles one of the nineties’ biggest records, but Steiner’s take is anything but clinical. That being said, the author wisely rounds out his personal thoughts with a myriad of quotes, many from Reznor himself, infusing this text with objective credibility that might otherwise be lacking.

Additionally, there’s a ton of analysis focusing on the pop-culture landscape circa the mid-nineties—this is a crucial component of truly understanding the value and impact of what many consider to be Reznor’s masterpiece.

Obviously, Steiner writes from a fan’s perspective, but having experienced ‘The Downward Spiral’s massive popularity first-hand is hardly a prerequisite for enjoying this book. In fact, it could be argued that it’s the uninitiated who stand to gain the most from ‘Through The Never.’

While you only get one chance to hear a record ‘for the first time,’ Adam Steiner’s ‘Into The Never’ offers fans young and old a whole new way to experience ‘The Downward Spiral’—highly recommended.

2 thoughts on “Chronicling ‘The End of All Your Dreams’

  1. Epic commentary. I came back for more NIN content before the semester was up. This is such a professional blog, I feel like I can come here for an educated opinion on music. I wonder what its like for you… are you tortured by bad music and just completely euphoric when you discover something good? I feel like you may hear with different ears.

    Best of everything James. Glad I got to read your blog this summer.


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