"The Day the World Went Away" (single)

By Chip Midnight for Swizzle-stick.com on July 1, 1999

It's been two-and-a-half years since industrial posterboy Trent Reznor released the "The Perfect Drug" single from The Lost Highway soundtrack and over five years since the release of the last full-length Nine Inch Nails CD, The Downward Spiral. This week marks the release of Nine Inch Nails? first single ("The Day the World Went Away") from one of the most anticipated CDs of 1999.

Among the hoards of NIN releases, "The Day the World Went Away" is one of the slower numbers. It builds slowly until the fuzzy guitars kick in 30 seconds into the song. They last only a few seconds and don?t reappear until the last minute of the 4-minute song. Not a bad track, though it doesn?t really offer anything all that different from the material on The Downward Spiral.

It is the second song on this 3-song CD single that really brings together the sound from The Downward Sprial and Pretty Hate Machine (can you believe this gem was released in 1989!). "Starf**kers, Inc." is another slow-to-build song with a 30-second intro of white noise before kicking into a programmed bass line. This song is close to "The Perfect Drug" in style with a chorus that sounds like "Head Like a Hole" or Ministry's "Stigmata." Reznor even tosses in a nod to Carly Simon (!) when he sings, "You're so vain/I bet you think this song is about you/Don't you, don?t you, don't you?" He then explodes into a "Don't You?!? Don't You?!? Don't You?!?" rage as the backing vocals kick into the chorus, "STARF**KERS! STARF**KERS!" The song continues to explode until the last second when somebody yells "Goodnight" over the sound of a clapping audience.

The third track is a (quiet) remix of "The Day the World Went Away," and, in Reznor fashion, he offers an extended variation on the song with more keyboards and more white noise samples.

It's always hard to tell what a full-length will sound like based on the release of teaser tracks. It?s kind of like watching a movie preview and trying to guess what the movie is about. You can make your best guess, but 9 times out of 10, you don?t get the whole picture until you see the movie in its entirety. I have a feeling that?s what Reznor has done here - he's offered a sample, but the best is yet to come.

Transcribed by Keith Duemling

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