For Nine Inch Nails, remix albums are just as important as studio releases. With Further Down the Spiral and Fixed, collections of remixes of songs from The Downward Spiral and Broken, NIN reconfigured its music to the point that it created new songs altogether. And with Things Falling Apart, NIN mastermind Trent Reznor attempts to deconstruct the songs from last year's The Fragile and explore new avenues of expression (the album includes one previously unreleased track and a cover of Gary Numan's "Metal"). But where The Fragile aspired to embrace abstract electronic music (doing so with varying degrees of success), Things Falling Apart regresses to Reznor's industrial past.
Most of the 10 tracks on Things Falling Apart don't improve upon their originals. Skinny Puppy's Dave Ogilvie makes "Starfuckers, Inc." more dancefloor friendly with his remix, but it sounds too much like he's trying to evoke Downward Spiral-era NIN; Keith Hillebrandt's remix of "The Wretched" tweaks Reznor's voice, but after a promising beginning collapses into whispering vocals and industrial noise; and Adrian Sherwood, a producer best known for his experiments in dub, also goes industrial by amplifying the drilling synthesizers of "Starfuckers, Inc." Danny Lohner and Tel Aviv fare better with their remix of "Where Is Everybody?" which pairs Reznor's echoing vocals with a buzzing bass line, and a remix of "The Frail" by the duo known as Benelli (Joshua Eustis and Turk Dietrich) opens with a string section and then adds Aphex Twin-like bleeps. It's the perfect remix, in that it's actually more adventurous than just about anything on The Fragile.