Pass the Mustard • by Jacob Haas

The Downward Spiral: An exploration of the opening of a young mind

Nine Inch Nails album The Downward Spiral cover art

Growing up, I didn't have the same affinity towards music as I do today. My parents being very conservative and holding sway over the media that was allowed in the house, I simply didn't care to fight them or explain the ideals or genres that I may have been interested in.

In 1997, when I was able to drive, get a job, and had regular income, I was able to start exploring music without parental approval. Tuning in to the alternative/hard rock stations while driving opened me up to artist helped me catch up to modern music trends, and I decided that one of the first CDs I was going to buy with my own money was Nine Inch Nail's The Downward Spiral.

I remember hearing Closer on the radio, fully edited of course, and thinking, man, let's see what these guys are all about. I popped out to the mall, headed into The Wall (you know, back when all they sold was music and posters and not Funko Pops) and slapped down my $15 for a copy.

I don't even think I had a CD player in my car at the time, so I had to absorb my new music later that evening (and in the process established a new ritual) when no one else would hear. Hell, just the 'explicit lyrics' warning label on the cover would have caught me some heat.

I listened through the entire album twice, back to back, and my god, it violently absolutely destroyed my expectations of what music could be. That music, those lyrics, the driving industrial beats... it shook loose and emptied my head of the years of dogmatic, conservative, Neo-Christian nationalistic mentality that had been stuffed in there.

It was impossible to know at the time, but that evening was a changing point in my life.

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