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

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Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor performing in 1994

Status: Partially Lost

Nine Inch Nails is a popular American industrial rock band founded in 1988 by singer/songwriter/instrumentalist 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 eventually leads to suicide. When the album was released, two tracks that were intended for the album were left off.

There is little known about one 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", an 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. 'Aphex Twin' James.

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 "Spiral" was reissued with bonus material in 2004 for its tenth anniversary, neither The Beauty of the Drug nor Just Do It was 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 'stained' is used in the lyrics.

In 2017, Nine Inch Nails released a four-disc vinyl-exclusive album entitled "The Fragile: Deviations 1". It consists entirely of instrumentals from "The Fragile", plus several previously-unreleased songs. Reznor stated that tracks with "(Instrumental)" were intended to have vocals at some point, and that "Those could be finished, a demo or just an outline." Rotation and Stained (if it is indeed a different song from Underneath It All) were not included.

Previously Unreleased Songs on The Fragile: Deviations 1

  • "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)

In the early 2000s, NIN went mostly quiet as Reznor set about getting sober from his drug and alcohol addictions. In 2004, it was announced that Reznor was working on a new full-length album under the title "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. The album ended up being scrapped, to be replaced by "With Teeth" after the themes changed during the writing process.[6]

It is unknown just how far along "Bleedthrough" was when it was scrapped, or how much if any material was reworked for "With Teeth".

However, some general concepts spoken of by Reznor show up in a few "With Teeth" songs, including Every Day is Exactly the Same and Beside You in Time has the phrase 'bleeding through'. NIN's 2016-2018 trilogy of releases, "Not The Actual Events", "Add Violence", and "Bad Witch" would later revisit the alternate realities concept.

With Teeth (Early 2005)

In 2005, NIN finally released their fourth full-length studio album, "With Teeth". Prior to that, the official website posted a poster in a .PDF format that contained titles and lyrics from the album. [7] Upon release, three songs from the poster were not apart of the tracklist: The Warning, Message To No One, and The Life You Didn't Lead. When a fan asked Reznor about these tracks on the site, he mysteriously replied only with a "?".[8]

During an interview before "With Teeth's" release, Reznor mentioned a song titled My Dead Friend that would also end up left off of "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".[9] The following NIN album was "Year Zero", but it does not include My Dead Friend. While it does have a song also called 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.[10]

Original Song for Twin Peaks: The Return (2016)

Nine Inch Nails' 2016 EP "Not The Actual Event" featured the song She's Gone Away, which was written specifically for an 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 bandmate Atticus Ross wrote a different song for the series. Twin Peaks co-creator David Lynch rejected the song and asked for something uglier sounding, leading to the creation of She's Gone Away.[11] Neither Reznor nor Ross mentioned what the original song's fate (or even name) was, whether it ended up on either "Not The Actual Events", repurposed for a future release, or simply scrapped for the time being.

References