Fan Poll: Top 5 NINE INCH NAILS songs post-'The Fragile' | Revolver

Fan Poll: Top 5 NINE INCH NAILS songs post-'The Fragile'

See which NIN cut is sitting right where it belongs
nine inch nails trent reznor GETTY 2018, Han Myung-Gu/WireImage
photograph by Han Myung-Gu/WireImage

Trent Reznor is always creating. That much is sure.

The Nine Inch Nails founder recently revealed that he and longtime partner in crime Atticus Ross are launching a new multi-disciplinary company called With Teeth, which will be working on everything from film production, to fashion, to putting on a music festival, to co-creating "not exactly a video game" with Fortnite-makers Epic Games. Better yet, there's also hope for new NIN music, too, which got us thinking about the illustrious catalog of Reznor's industrial powerhouse.

While 1989's Pretty Hate Machine, 1994's The Downward Spiral and 1999's The Fragile are all landmark releases in their own synth-damaged, emotionally-cracked ways, there's also plenty of much awesome, angsty excellence to highlight through Reznor's 21st-century songwriting.

So, we asked Revolver readers to pick the single best cut from NIN's post-Fragile soundscapes. Check out the top five vote-getters below.

5. "Survivalism"

For all the exquisite brooding stitched into Nine Inch Nails' DNA, it's also fun to hear Trent Reznor and Co. cut loose and go into hyper-exaggerated, full-chaos mode. That's where "Survivalism" comes in.

Year Zero's first single technically rams through a series of harrowing images, highlighting anything from corporate greed to the "hi-def" ultra-violence of a rifle-cocking police state. It's concerning stuff, but NIN also sublimate their rage into a gleefully gang-sung, glam-dustrial fracas that sounds like Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life" just self-immolated within the planet's techno-organic core.

4. "The Background World"

At nearly 12-minutes long, "The Background World" is one the heftiest Nine Inch Nails studio tracks ever. It's likewise one of the band's most unsettling, even physically nauseating, works. And that's what makes it so great.

The beat anchors into the same kind of jet-black, creep-and-clank machinations that made "Closer" such an iconic NIN hit. There's some serious self-sabotage in here, though, as the groove progressively contorts itself into a disorienting, out-of-sync loop that refuses to play nice. Now this is a downward spiral.

3. "Every Day Is Exactly the Same”

"Every Day Is Exactly the Same" was the third and final single off 2005's incredible With Teeth album, and it was a huge hit — reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Modern Rock charts. Part of that obviously comes down to how undeniably smooth, slinky, and sexy its synth-bass-driven groove is.

On the other hand, it's a bleak song about a defeated soul resigning themselves to empty everyday drudgery ("I think I used to have a voice/Now I never make a sound"). No wonder it struck such a strong chord.

2. "The Great Destroyer"

"The Great Destroyer" is kind of a flip on "Every Day Is Exactly the Same." The world of this sneaky lil' synth-and-guitar piece still sounds emotionally iced over — Reznor whispering of how society is pumping "shit" in our heads to keep us apathetic — but Mr. Self-Destruct over here is patiently plotting how to burn it all down. Darkly inspirational stuff.

Also, is there any more perfectly winking Reznor lyric than the mega-prolific, forever-adored artist quipping: "I hope they cannot see/The limitless potential/Living inside of me?"

1. “Right Where It Belongs”

The shockingly austere and brutally heart-aching "Right Where It Belongs" is a highlight among highlights on With Teeth. And while it's not the record's loudest moment, the closing cut might still land the heaviest.

Reznor is all restrained anguish here, questioning his reality. A toy piano melody sounds like it's been stained by a million tears. There's a comically sarcastic burst of crowd cheers mid-song, the aural punchline more of a titanic gut punch. Its beautiful. So painfully beautiful.

For all those reasons and more, Revolver readers voted this to the top of the list of greatest Nine Inch Nails songs from the 21st century onward — right where it belongs.