US CD single cover
|Single by Nine Inch Nails|
|from the album The Downward Spiral|
|Released||May 30, 1994|
|Studio|| Le Pig (Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles)|
The Record Plant, A&M Studios (Hollywood, Los Angeles)
|Nine Inch Nails singles chronology|
|Halo numbers chronology|
"Closer" is an industrial rock song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their second studio album, The Downward Spiral (1994). It was released on May 30, 1994 as the album's second single. Most versions of the single are titled "Closer to God", a rare example in music of a single's title differing from the title of its A-side. ("Closer to God" is also the title of an alternate version of "Closer" featured on the single.) Labeled "Halo 9", the single is the ninth official Nine Inch Nails release.
Industrial rock is an alternative rock genre that fuses industrial music and rock music.
Nine Inch Nails, commonly abbreviated as NIN, is an American industrial rock band formed in 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio. Singer, producer and instrumentalist Trent Reznor was the only permanent member until the addition of English musician Atticus Ross in 2016.
The Downward Spiral is the second studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on March 8, 1994, by Nothing Records and Interscope Records in the United States and by Island Records in Europe. It is a concept album detailing the destruction of a man from the beginning of his "downward spiral" to his death by suicide. The Downward Spiral features elements of industrial rock, techno and heavy metal music, in contrast to the band's synthpop-influenced debut album Pretty Hate Machine (1989), and was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Flood.
A promotional single provided by the label to radio stations included both long and short vocal-censored-i.e.: silenced profanity-versions.In spite of misinterpretations of the song as a lust anthem, "Closer" became Nine Inch Nails' most successful single up to that time, cemented Reznor's status as an industrial rock icon, and remains arguably his best-known song. Censored versions of the song and its Mark Romanek-directed music video received substantial airplay on radio and MTV.
Mark Romanek is an American filmmaker whose directing work includes feature films, television, music videos and commercials. Romanek wrote and directed the 2002 film One Hour Photo and directed the 2010 film Never Let Me Go. His most notable music videos include "Hurt", "Closer", "Can't Stop", "Bedtime Story" (Madonna), "Scream", "Criminal", and "Shake It Off". He also co-directed "Sandcastles" from Beyoncé’s Lemonade album. Romanek's music videos have won 20 MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Direction for Jay-Z's "99 Problems", and he has won three Grammy Awards for Best Short Form Music Video - more than any other director.
A music video is a short film that integrates a song with imagery, and is produced for promotional or artistic purposes. Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings. There are also cases where songs are used in tie-in marketing campaigns that allow them to become more than just a song. Tie-ins and merchandising can be used for toys or for food or other products. Although the origins of the music video date back to musical short films that first appeared in the 1920s, they again came into prominence in the 1980s when the channel MTV based their format around the medium. Prior to the 1980s, these kinds of videos were described by various terms including "illustrated song", "filmed insert", "promotional (promo) film", "promotional clip", "promotional video", "song video", "song clip" or "film clip".
MTV is an American pay television channel launched on August 1, 1981 that serves as the flagship property of the Viacom Media Networks division of Viacom headquartered in New York City.
"Closer" has been described as industrial rock, avant-garde, and electronic music. The drum track of "Closer" features a heavily modified bass drum sample from the Iggy Pop song "Nightclubbing" from his album The Idiot . The bass drum in "Nightclubbing" was from a Roland drum machine. The samples were produced using two Akai S1100 samplers, each with an expander (essentially four samplers). The samples were then combined with beats produced by a Roland R-70 drum machine. The production features sound effects such as a bass squelch, synth echo, and feedback growl.techno, and alternative rock. "Closer" uses elements of funk,
Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan, in the United States in the mid-to-late 1980s. Techno is generally repetitive instrumental music, often produced for use in a continuous DJ set. The central rhythm is often in common time (4/4), while the tempo typically varies between 120 to 150 beats per minute (bpm). Artists may use electronic instruments such as drum machines, sequencers, and synthesizers, as well as digital audio workstations. Drum machines from the 1980s such as Roland's TR-808 and TR-909 are highly prized, and software emulations of such retro instruments are popular.
Alternative rock is a style of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and became widely popular in the 1980s. In this instance, the word "alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream rock music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or simply the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music. At times, "alternative" has been used as a catch-all description for music from underground rock artists that receives mainstream recognition, or for any music, whether rock or not, that is seen to be descended from punk rock. Although the genre evolved in the late 1970s and 1980s, music anticipating the sound of the genre can be found as early as the 1960s, with bands such as The Velvet Underground and artists such as Syd Barrett.
Funk is a music genre that originated in African-American communities in the mid-1960s when African-American musicians created a rhythmic, danceable new form of music through a mixture of soul music, jazz, and rhythm and blues (R&B). Funk de-emphasizes melody and chord progressions and focuses on a strong rhythmic groove of a bass line played by an electric bassist and a drum part played by a drummer, often at slower tempos than other popular music. Like much of African-inspired music, funk typically consists of a complex groove with rhythm instruments playing interlocking grooves that created a "hypnotic" and "danceable feel". Funk uses the same richly colored extended chords found in bebop jazz, such as minor chords with added sevenths and elevenths, or dominant seventh chords with altered ninths and thirteenths.
Radio edits of "Closer" were created by muting the vocal track for the duration of each deleted obscenity.
Lyrically, "Closer" is a song about self-hatred and obsession, but to Reznor's dismay, the song was widely misinterpreted as a lust anthem due to its chorus, which included the line "I wanna fuck you like an animal". [ citation needed ] "Come on dude: 'I wanna fuck you like an animal'?" remarked Mötley Crüe drummer and The Downward Spiral contributor Tommy Lee. "That's the all-time fuck song. Those are pure fuck beats – Trent Reznor knew what he was doing. You can fuck to it, you can dance to it and you can break shit to it."In 2003, VH1 ranked the song at number 93 in its countdown of the "100 Greatest Songs of the Past 25 Years." The song was ranked at the number 2 position on AOL's "69 Sexiest Songs of All Time," mostly due to the explicit frankness of the chorus.
Self-hatred refers to an extreme dislike or hatred of oneself, or being angry at or even prejudiced against oneself.
Fixation is a concept that was originated by Sigmund Freud (1905) to denote the persistence of anachronistic sexual traits. The term subsequently came to denote object relationships with attachments to people or things in general persisting from childhood into adult life.
VH1 is an American pay television network based in New York City owned by Viacom. It was originally created by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, at the time a division of Warner Communications and the original owner of MTV, and launched on January 1, 1985, in the former space of Turner Broadcasting System's short-lived Cable Music Channel.
In July 2009, the song was voted in at number 62 on Triple J's Hottest 100 of all time, and in 2010 it was number 42 on Pitchfork Media's Top 200 Tracks of the 90s.
The music video was directed by Mark Romanek and first aired on May 12, 1994, having been filmed in April of that year. It was cut down from its original length to 4:36. The video was popular and helped bolster the success of the band. Set in what appears to be a 19th-century mad scientist's laboratory, the video's imagery involves religion, sexuality, animal cruelty, politics, and terror, including:
Several times, Reznor, wearing leather pants, floats and rotates through the air, suspended by invisible wires. There are also scenes of Reznor being blown back by a wind machine while wearing aviator goggles.
These images were inspired by the work of Joel-Peter Witkin,as well as by the Brothers Quay's animated short film Street of Crocodiles . For the television version, certain removed scenes were replaced with a title card that read "Scene Missing," and the instances of the word fuck being edited out were accompanied by a stop in the video motion, making it appear as if the stop was a result of defective film (this was supposedly done to make sure the flow of the song was not affected). According to Romanek, the video was filmed using "a slightly out of date film stock but it was still a contemporary film stock."
They had stopped making it three years before and we found some of it. All the new color film stocks have this T-Grain, like little Ts that are interlocking. The film stock we used had the original old granular grain. The new stocks are just really modern looking, really sharp, really contrasty, very fine grain. We didn't want that. Normally you don't want to use that kind of stock because the colors will be off. It does have a shelf life but in this case we didn't care, the more fucked up it was the happier we were.
The unedited version of the video was shown on Playboy TV's music video show Hot Rocks in 1994. In mid-2002, the unedited version aired on MTV2 as part of a special countdown showcasing the most controversial videos ever to air on MTV. This countdown was only shown late at night due to the sexually explicit imagery of "Closer" and several other videos.
In 2006, "Closer" was voted number one in a VH1 Classic poll titled "20 Greatest Music Videos of All Time."
In retrospect, Reznor said of the video that "The rarest of things occurred: where the song sounded better to me, seeing it with the video. And it's my song."
The unedited video is included in Closure , The Downward Spiral (DualDisc), Directors Label Volume 4: The Work Of Director Mark Romanek and VEVO, and it is available for download from the United States iTunes Store under the band's page. Behind-the-scenes footage with commentary by Romanek is included in Closure (DVD) and Directors Label. It is also available on YouTube, and was previously flagged there before this restriction was lifted.
"Closer" had some radio airplay before it was released as a single. This factor increased within weeks, leading Interscope to release the song as a single in May 1994.
When it premiered, the single charted on several Billboard magazine music charts; debuting near the bottom spot of the Billboard Hot 100 , it missed the Top 40 spot (peaking at No. 41). It crawled to No. 11 on the Modern Rock Tracks, and went on to reach No. 35 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, No. 29 on the Dance Music/Club Play Singles, and No. 29 Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales, this is the band's first crossover hit and remains their most popular song to date. It was a massive success in Canada on the Canadian pop charts and the Alternative 30 charts both hitting No. 5.
The version of "Closer" on the single is 13 seconds longer than the album version; on the album, the piano tune at the end of the song is abruptly cut off in order to segue into the next track, "Ruiner". On the single, the piano and background sounds of "Closer" are allowed to play out longer.
In addition, the U.S. CD single contains five guest remixes of "Closer", a remix of its fellow The Downward Spiral track "Heresy", an instrumental track "March of the Fuckheads" (unrelated to "March of the Pigs"), and a cover version of Soft Cell's song "Memorabilia", from their 1982 EP Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing . The UK single releases contain the same tracks split between two discs (each sold separately). A cassette single was issued in the U.S. and Australia, pairing "Closer" with a live-performance version of NIN's previous single, "March of the Pigs".
The single’s cover artwork was done by photographer Joseph Cultice.
|No.||Title||Remixers / contributors||Length|
|1.||"Closer to God"||5:05|
|7.||"March of the Fuckheads"||Adrian Sherwood||4:43|
|8.||"Closer (Further Away)"||5:45|
|Disc 1: Further Away|
|3.||"Closer (Further Away)"||5:45|
|Disc 2: Closer to God|
|1.||"Closer to God"||5:05|
|4.||"March of the Fuckheads"||4:43|
|2.||"March of the Pigs (Live)" (appears to be the live rerecording from the music video)||3:12|
|2.||"Closer (Further Away)"|
|1.||"Closer to God"|
|2.||"March of the Fuckheads"|
Other versions in other formats and countries have the same track listing as the U.S. CD release.
|Australia ARIA Charts||3|
|Canada RPM Alternative 30||5|
|Canadian Singles Chart||5|
|UK Singles (OCC)||25|
|U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks||11|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||41|
During the Self Destruct and Fragility tours, bassist Danny Lohner and guitarist Robin Finck joined Reznor on keyboards for the song, with Reznor performing an extended synth solo.
There are performance videos of "Closer" on And All that Could Have Been and Beside You in Time .
In the tours following the release of With Teeth , Nine Inch Nails performed a shorter version of "Closer" with the keyboard solo played as a guitar solo and a breakdown incorporating a portion of "The Only Time," a track from Pretty Hate Machine . Two performances of this version of the song appear on Beside You in Time .
Michael Trent Reznor is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and film score composer. He is the founder, lead vocalist, and principal songwriter of the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, which he founded in 1988 and of which he was the sole official member until adding long-time collaborator Atticus Ross as a permanent member in 2016. His first release under the Nine Inch Nails name, the 1989 album Pretty Hate Machine, was a commercial and critical success. He has since released nine Nine Inch Nails studio albums. He left Interscope Records in 2007 and was an independent recording artist until signing with Columbia Records in 2012.
Nothing Records was an American record label specializing in industrial rock and electronic music, founded by John Malm Jr. and Trent Reznor in 1992. It is considered an example of a vanity label, where an artist is able to run a label with some degree of independence from within a larger parent company, in this case being Interscope Records.
And All That Could Have Been is a double album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on January 22, 2002 by Nothing and Interscope Records. The live album contains music recorded during the Fragility v2.0 US tour in 2000. Disc one is a live album of most of their normal set list of the time, while disc two contains a studio album titled Still, containing "deconstructed" versions of previous Nine Inch Nails songs and some new material. The double DVD set, sold separately, includes video recordings of the songs performed on the CD, as well as additional song performances and footage from the tour.
The Fragile is the third studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released as a double album on September 21, 1999 by Nothing and Interscope Records. It was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and longtime collaborator Alan Moulder. It was recorded throughout 1997 to 1999 in New Orleans.
Broken is the first extended play (EP) by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. It was released on September 22, 1992, by Nothing, TVT, and Interscope Records. The EP was produced by frontman Trent Reznor and Flood.
Fixed is the second extended play (EP) by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. It was released on December 7, 1992, by Nothing, TVT, and Interscope Records. It serves as a companion release to Broken (1992), and includes remixes by Coil, Danny Hyde, JG Thirlwell, and Butch Vig, as well as then-live band members Chris Vrenna and James Woolley.
"March of the Pigs" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their second studio album, The Downward Spiral (1994). It was released on February 25, 1994 as the album's lead single.
"We're in This Together" is a three-disc single by industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails for the song of the same name released in 1999. It is the 15th official Nine Inch Nails release and is a single for the album The Fragile.
"Head Like a Hole" is a song by the American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released as the second single from the group's debut album, Pretty Hate Machine.
Closure is the first video album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on November 25, 1997. The double VHS set consists of one tape of live concert and behind-the-scenes footage from their Self-Destruct and Further Down the Spiral tours and one tape of music videos.
"Happiness in Slavery" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their debut extended play (EP), Broken (1992). It was released in November 1992 as a promotional single from the EP. The song takes its title and refrain from Jean Paulhan's preface to Pauline Réage's 1954 erotic novel Story of O. "Happiness in Slavery" peaked at number 13 on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.
"Hurt" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their second studio album, The Downward Spiral (1994), written by band leader Trent Reznor. It was released on April 17, 1995 as a promotional single from the album. The song received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Song in 1996, but ultimately lost to Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know".
"Wish" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their debut extended play (EP), Broken (1992). It was released in 1992 as a promotional single from the EP. The drumming on the track was performed by Martin Atkins.
Prick was an American industrial rock band, founded in 1992 in Los Angeles by guitarist and songwriter Kevin McMahon, after his first project Lucky Pierre disbanded. The first line-up of the band featured McMahon on vocals and guitar, Chris Schleyer on guitar and Andy Kubiszewski on drums. The band was known for its glam rock and new wave influences.
"The Perfect Drug" is a song by Nine Inch Nails written for the David Lynch film Lost Highway and appearing on the Lost Highway soundtrack as well as a single from the score in 1997. Remixes of the song were released in an EP, "The Perfect Drug" Versions.
"Mr. Self Destruct" is a song by American industrial rock act Nine Inch Nails. Written by frontman Trent Reznor, co-produced by Flood and recorded at Le Pig in 1993, it is the opening track of The Downward Spiral (1994), and predicts the album's "ugly" aesthetic and mostly "angry" tone. The song also gives a lyrical background of the album's protagonist.
"Piggy" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their second studio album, The Downward Spiral (1994). It was written by Trent Reznor, co-produced by Flood, and recorded at Le Pig. It was released in December 1994 as a promotional single from the album. The song is known for being Reznor's only live drumming performance.
Recoiled is an EP by Coil and Nine Inch Nails described as "A compilation of Coil's unreleased work for Nine Inch Nails" and "outtakes from the remix sessions from Fixed, Closer to God and Further Down The Spiral". It was released on February 24, 2014, via British record label Cold Spring. It was released posthumously after the deaths of the two original Coil members, Peter Christopherson and John Balance. Danny Hyde, a former employee and engineer of Coil, was responsible for the leaking of these tracks to torrent sites and licensing them to Cold Spring. The release is composed of variations of previously released remixes, which appeared on the albums Fixed, Further Down the Spiral and the "Closer to God" single.
No less than director Terry Gilliam has called Crocodiles the greatest animated film of all time, and it served as a direct inspiration for the music video for “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails.
"Hot Dog"... takes on Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor in what Durst has described as a parody of NIN...