Nine Inch Nails has gone through so many variations that it’s easy to recommend. I’ll break down all the major releases.
Pretty Hate Machine is very 80s poppy, with a little industrial sound to it, but overall, pretty easy to listen to. Broken is very harsh, almost metal. Downward Spiral is a concept album, telling a story like Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and Hurt is on that. The Fragile is more of a fan-only kind of preferred album, lots of instrumentals, and really kind of all over the place (one of my favorites, just because of the variety). With Teeth is his return to sobriety, and it’s less keyboard-y and more like a regular guitar bass drums kind of band. Year Zero is another concept album, and I love it, because it’s a lot like Broken in its harshness, but definitely more chaotic, but where Broken focuses on guitars, Year Zero focuses on keyboards. Ghosts is a 36 track instrumental only album, and I love it, but it’s not as approachable. And The Slip is a mix between Year Zero and Ghosts in its theme and feel. So yeah, take your pick, it really depends on what you’re in the mood for.