The most original thing about Nine Inch Nail's The Fragile is its cover. As for the music inside, either you're a member of one of the factions who love Trent Reznor (mopey teens, pseudo-depressed college grads, "angry" intellectuals) or you aren't (me), but there's no denying that when it comes to packaging, Reznor and company are brilliant.

The Fragile's cover consists of what looks like a wall of soap. Not the everyday bar you buy just to scrub your carriage, but the fru-fru kind, the clear, reddish-brown soap your mom tells you not to use while you're in the shower. This wall of lard and lye extends about three-fourths of the way up the cover, where it suddenly turns into a thin patch of black-and-white 3-D art. Between these two sections is half of NIN's logo, and this is where the cover becomes special.

Abstract cover art is nothing new; neither are covers missing their band's name. But The Fragile takes both of these ideas a step further by only showing half of the band's name. It says that NIN's fans are so rabid, so obsessed that they don't need a full logo. That Nine Inch Nails are so good, their fans can decipher anything. It's an incredibly arrogant statement for a record cover, but that's what makes it great. Trent Reznor may project himself as a wounded puppy angry at the world, but his ego is definitely larger than a double record, which is exactly the poseur stance that makes any rock god a god. Nine Inch Nails' merits as a band may be debatable, but Trent's merits as a marketer... well, there's no argument.