Nine Inch Nails (partially lost songs from American industrial rock band; 1990s-2010s)

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Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor backstage at a concert, 1990s.

Status: Partially Lost

Nine Inch Nails is a popular American industrial rock band founded in 1988 by singer/songwriter/producer Trent Reznor. Over the course of the band's existence, there have been several songs that have yet to be released, either partially or completely.

The Downward Spiral (1994)

The Downward Spiral is a concept album released in 1994, revolving around the nameless protagonist's descent into self-destruction that ultimately leads to suicide. When the album was released, two tracks that were intended for the album were left off.

There is little known about the first of the cut tracks, "The Beauty of the Drug", and the only acknowledgment of its existence was in a rare phone interview with Reznor.[1] Further Down the Spiral, a companion album consisting of remixes of various Spiral tracks, contains a similarly-titled song called "The Beauty of Being Numb", though it is partially a remix of Spiral's "Mr. Self-Destruct" and partially an original song by musician Richard D. James AKA Aphex Twin.

In a 1995 article, Reznor said that Spiral's other unreleased track, a song titled "Just Do It", never finished being recorded. It was supposed to be a short track about suicide, with its only lyrics being "Just do it / No one will care".[2] Mark 'Flood' Ellis, who co-produced the album with Reznor, told Reznor that he had gone too far with the song and refused to have it included on the album, leading to its incomplete state.

When The Downward Spiral was reissued with bonus material (consisting of b-sides, demos, remixes, and some of NIN's soundtrack contributions) for its tenth anniversary in 2004, "The Beauty of the Drug" and "Just Do It" were not included in the bonus tracks.

The Fragile (1999)

The Fragile is NIN's third full-length album, this time being a concept album drawing from Reznor's depression and personal issues, released in 1999.

For a time, a photo appeared on the band's official website nin.com showing a CD case marked "the lost fragile tracks".[3] No tracklist is shown, however.

An image from The Fragility Tour Book shows two earlier versions of the album's tracklist,[4] both including three tracks that were not included in the final product: "Rotation", "Anomaly", and "Stained". However, "Anomaly" was later revealed to be an early name for "The Way Out is Through", which did end up on The Fragile.[5] It has also been speculated that "Stained" was a working title for the album's penultimate song, "Underneath It All", as the word 'stained' is spoken in the lyrics.

Things Falling Apart, a companion album to The Fragile similar to Further Down the Spiral, included the song "The Great Collapse". According to Reznor on the now defunct promotional website thingsfallingapart.com, "The Great Collapse" was yet another song meant for The Fragile that was left off.

The Fragile: Deviations 1 (2017)

In 2017, NIN released a four-disc vinyl-exclusive album titled The Fragile: Deviations 1. It consists entirely of instrumentals of songs from The Fragile, plus several previously-unreleased songs. Reznor stated that tracks with "(Instrumental)" in the title were intended to have vocals at some point, and that "Those could be finished, a demo or just an outline", giving no indication that those vocals would ever be released. "Rotation" and "Stained" (unless they were renamed) were not included.

The songs on The Fragile: Deviations 1 that were previously unreleased are:

  • "Missing Places"
  • "The March" (Instrumental)
  • "One Way To Get There"
  • "Taken"
  • "Not What It Seems Like" (Instrumental)
  • "Was It Worth It?" (Instrumental)
  • "Can I Stay Here?" (Instrumental)
  • "Feeders"
  • "Claustrophobia Machine (Raw)"
  • "Last Heard From"

Bleedthrough (Early 2000s)

During the early 2000s, NIN went mostly quiet aside from a few releases as Reznor set about getting sober from his drug and alcohol addictions. In 2004, it was announced that he was working on a new full-length album under the title of Bleedthrough.

Following the trend of the two previous albums, Bleedthrough would have been a concept album; specifically, it would deal with different layers of reality "bleeding" into each other like a dream within a dream, working as a metaphor for Reznor's recovery from drug addiction.[6] The album ended up being scrapped, to be replaced by With Teeth after the themes evolved during the writing process.[7]

Reznor has not stated how much of Bleedthrough was finished when he decided to scrap the album, nor whether if any of the material was reused for With Teeth. Rob Sheridan, then-art director for NIN, had already begun work on the album art and the cover was released before it was shelved.

However, some general concepts spoken of by Reznor appear in a few With Teeth songs, including "Every Day is Exactly the Same" and "Beside You in Time" having the phrase 'bleeding through' in the lyrics, and the final song "Right Where It Belongs" dealing with the idea of reality being "an elaborate dream". With Teeth would also tackle Reznor's feelings regarding his addiction and sobriety in a more direct, less metaphorical manner. NIN's 2016-2018 trilogy of releases, the EPs Not The Actual Events and Add Violence, and the EP-turned-album Bad Witch would later revisit the alternate realities concept.

With Teeth (2005)

In 2005, NIN finally released their fourth full-length studio album, With Teeth. Prior to that, the official website posted a .pdf poster that contained titles and lyrics from the album.[8] Upon the release of the album, three songs from the poster were not included: "The Warning", "Message To No One", and "The Life You Didn't Lead". When a fan asked Reznor about these tracks on nin.com, he replied only with a "?".[9]

During an interview before With Teeth's release, Reznor mentioned a song called "My Dead Friend" that was also nowhere to be seen on With Teeth. Once again, a fan asked him on the official site, though this time he claimed that several unused songs had "found a home on the next record".[10] The following NIN album was Year Zero, and my "My Dead Friend" is nowhere to be seen. While it does have a song titled "The Warning", as Year Zero is a dystopian concept album with themes not touched upon in With Teeth, it is unlikely to have much to do with the With Teeth outtake. Fans speculate that "My Dead Friend" was retooled into "This Isn't The Place" off of NIN's 2017 EP Add Violence, though Reznor claims that it was written for his late friend and fellow musician David Bowie, who died in 2016, long after "My Dead Friend" was first mentioned.

Finally, two other outtakes from With Teeth, "Non-Entity" and "Not So Pretty Now", were played live during the Live: With Teeth 2005 tour. Reznor said that the studio versions might surface one day, which came true when they were released as part of the NINJA 2009 Summer Tour EP from ninja2009.com, a website made to promote the 2009 joint tour of NIN and the band Jane's Addiction. Though the site is long gone, the EP itself can be found through Internet Archive.[11]

Alleged Pre-Release Versions of With Teeth (2004)

In January 2020, a CD titled With Teeth Tentative Sequence and dated December 23rd 2004 was listed on Ebay with a starting price of one cent.[12] According to the images on the listing it included songs later included on With Teeth itself, but with some differences in names: "Getting Smaller" is called "Getting Smaller Every Day", and "Cages", which according to one article from 2005[13] is an earlier name for "Right Where It Belongs". A fan asked Rob Sheridan on Twitter if he knew anything about the CD, and he replied that it must have been a CD he made that was sent out to various music industry people and potential collaborators. He however only speculated what was contained on the CD itself, saying that it was probably earlier mixes of the songs and not radically different demos. The auction on the CD ended January 24th, with a winning bid of $1,201.66. It has not been leaked online, though someone on the Internet Archive tried to pass off different remixes from the now defunct official NIN remix site remix.nin.com as an upload of the CD.[14]

The same month the Tentative Sequence listing appeared, a user named Richard Sester on the Facebook group 'Nine Inch Nails collecting and trading' posted photos of a two-disc set of songs for With Teeth, dated November 30th 2004.[15] The art is similar to what was used for the Tentative Sequence. The first disc contains several songs from With Teeth, with demo versions of "All The Love In The World" and "Getting Smaller" (again as "Getting Smaller Every Day"). The second disc includes demos of "Non-Entity", "Not So Pretty Now", "Home" (a bonus track that was previously only released on European versions of With Teeth, before being included on the 'Definitive' vinyl release of the album in 2019), as well as three never before heard of demos: "Cover It Up", "Good Day", and "The End". Sester claimed that he had received the CDs from a friend of his cousin's that worked at NIN's then-record label Interscope.[16] Most interestingly, he also claimed that "Cover It Up" had the same instrumental - with different lyrics - as "The Idea of You", a song that appeared on NIN's 2016 EP Not The Actual Events (it should be noted that "The Idea of You" and several tracks off of With Teeth feature live drumming provided by Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters). Like the Tentative Sequence, this double CD has not surfaced onto the internet, and its legitimacy has been questioned by NIN fans due to Sester not uploading any clips of the songs.

Reznor himself has yet to comment on these alleged CDs.

Original Song for Twin Peaks: The Return (2016)

The EP Not The Actual Events features the song "She's Gone Away", which was written specifically for the eighth episode of the-then upcoming TV series Twin Peaks: The Return. In a Q&A session at the 2017 Riot Fest, it was revealed that before writing "She's Gone Away", Reznor and band mate Atticus Ross wrote a different song for the episode in question. Twin Peaks co-creator David Lynch rejected the initial song and asked the duo for something uglier-sounding, leading to the creation of "She's Gone Away".[17] Neither Reznor nor Ross mentioned what the original song's fate (or even name) was, whether it ended up on Not The Actual Events, repurposed for a future release, or simply scrapped for the time being.

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