The music industry's public relations juggernaut has leapt into action this month, brainwashing music critics of all kinds, and causing them to speak with one voice: "The new Nine Inch Nails album is a masterpiece. A masterpiece. It's really a masterpiece." Say it with me, now.... In heaping praise on an album that breaks no new ground and shouldn't have taken five years to put together, they can't help but sound stupid. Observe.

Billboard: "At root, Reznor is a sensualist, a conjurer...." Great. So are Siegfried & Roy. If a white tiger starts showing up in this guy's next video, it's time to start worrying.

"...The ghost in his machines sings a siren song of dark, decadent beauty, proffering les fleurs du mal in sound." -- Billboard, later in the same sentence, describing what the French call a certain... je ne sais what.

"Even when Reznor gets carried away with his angst-ridden fantasies, The Fragile has enough rock power to make your teeth chatter." -- Rolling Stone, anticipating a spot on K-Tel's "Rock Power" compilation. Roughly translated, this sentence means, "Even when the album is almost comically overblown, it's still good because their publicist told me so."

"Terrifying silences and tuneless cacophonies, guitars awash in distortion, drum machines coarse and blunt -- these aren't the telltale signs of pop music." -- Matthew Cooke in the Seattle Weekly, under the bed hiding from those terrifying silences.

"When he's not shouting, Reznor finds subtler ways to sound bothered." -- Ann Powers, Spin. Subtler than shouting? Dunno, Annie, that's pretty subtle.

"He's tries to leap into an ocean of sound and end it all, but a breakbeat throws him back on shore." -- Powers again, bludgeoning us with a metaphor that might actually be less subtle than shouting.

"Trent's tortured like a criminal, reflecting on his sins is tortured -- forever. So, smart man that he clearly is, he's trying to maintain something despite the persistence of darkness, treat himself like a diabetic, carrying his medicine along with his poison, 'I'm straight/I won't crack.' Fragile... you see?" -- Marc Spitz, Spin. Okay, class, can anyone spot the sentence fragment? Better question -- can anyone spot a sentence in this mess? How can you spew out this kind of non sequitur and write for a national magazine?

One final note -- hats off to the organizers of NetAid for putting the Black Crowes, Counting Crows, and Sheryl Crow on the same stage. Flush with success, the promoters are thinking about using more than one page of their Rolodex when they book the next one.