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Thread: Trilogy (NTAE, Add violence, Bad Witch) playing order/theories

  1. #31
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    I posted this in another thread but I hope it helps here. I used some apps to get the bpms. Hope this helps.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Destruct26 View Post
    I posted this in another thread but I hope it helps here. I used some apps to get the bpms. Hope this helps.
    Interesting that Burning Bright & Less Than, and The Background World & Shit Mirror have identical or near identical BPMs, and are the outro/intro pairs between the EPs. Thanks!

  3. #33
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    Trilogy (NTAE, Add violence, Bad Witch) playing order/theories

    I finally am trying my "basic as fuck" play-the-EPs-in-order playlist and it's almost perfect. I'm just not sure about The Background World. It's quite a stretch to have that in the mid-end of the album, but it's also not bad. It's weird but I can't figure out if it's the good kind of weird or not.

    As it is, this combo might not just be the best album since The Fragile for me but might actually be *as good as* The Fragile for me. Not that they are really similar in any other way but quality, a slowly unfurling sense of circular narrative, and pushing the envelope forward, which With Teeth didn't exactly do for me. Too early to tell though. Which is insane.

    Just gotta figure out TBW.

    I wonder if they'll actually do some kind of Pixies reboot thing and really re-release the EPs as one album? Seems less likely that they'll do that if they classified Bad Witch as an LP, you know? They wouldn't care where Bad Witch was on Spotify if they were gonna rerelease it in a half year as part of a long single disc anthology.

    EDIT:

    tl;dr: My tracklist is the EPs in order, but move The Background World to the end. It works perfectly, to me, and is as good as The Fragile. You can also keep em in order for a weird "10 Miles High"/"The New Flesh" feeling in the mid-end of the Trilogy album. I'd love feedback on this very basic idea. Thank you.
    Last edited by Pbgut; 06-20-2018 at 08:12 PM.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Collin View Post
    12 Tracks album. 16 felt too long and some songs felt cuttable to me.

    Cold & Black & Infinite


    1. Branches / Bones
    2. Shit Mirror
    3. The Idea of You
    4. God Break Down the Door
    5. Less Than
    6. She’s Gone Away
    7. The Lovers
    8. This Isn’t The Place
    9. Ahead of Ourselves
    10. Burning Bright (Field of Fire)
    11. Over and Out
    12. The Background World

    if that above album had dropped, I’d probably go as far to say that it’s the strongest NIN album since The Fragile.
    I don't like the idea of cutting any of the songs, BUT at least you included all of the best songs. Looking at that list also makes me realize how many killer tracks there are on these EPs. I honestly do think they are collectively the best NIN release(s) since The Fragile. And I loved Year Zero and Hesitation Marks!

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    This is the very best I could come up with, with going though way too many combinations....

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Collin View Post
    12 Tracks album. 16 felt too long and some songs felt cuttable to me.

    Cold & Black & Infinite

    Yes, you are right! It's called "Cold & Black & Infinite" :-)

  7. #37
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    After reading the new interview on nin.com, and relistening to the trilogy, I'm floored.

    The conclusion, the final answer, is that there's not one.

    Two years of cryptic clues, and aggressively trying to to find an answer to why we're here, ending in "We're animals that figured out math. There's no purpose or point or higher goal. We're a fluke."

    Fucking hell, man. This is like Metal Gear Solid 2 levels of intentionally misleading your audience to get your message across.

    Like, I'm away to do the dishes. But what's the point?

    Do you know what I mean?


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  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by GavinCollins420 View Post
    After reading the new interview on nin.com, and relistening to the trilogy, I'm floored.

    The conclusion, the final answer, is that there's not one.

    Two years of cryptic clues, and aggressively trying to to find an answer to why we're here, ending in "We're animals that figured out math. There's no purpose or point or higher goal. We're a fluke."

    Fucking hell, man. This is like Metal Gear Solid 2 levels of intentionally misleading your audience to get your message across.

    Like, I'm away to do the dishes. But what's the point?

    Do you know what I mean?


    Sent from my E6653 using Tapatalk

    The end of Year Zero always gives me this uncomfortable feeling of hopelessness and nihilism when I finish it.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven View Post
    The end of Year Zero always gives me this uncomfortable feeling of hopelessness and nihilism when I finish it.
    Man, the first time I got through YZ, and finished Zero-Sum, I didn't know what to do with myself for like an hour. I didn't stop thinking about that album for a long time.

    I'm having a similar feeling right now.

    I'd always call Year Zero my favourite album, but whatever the fuck this trilogy is, that's my new favourite album.

    What a ride.

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    Last edited by GavinCollins420; 06-21-2018 at 08:24 AM. Reason: Formatting.

  10. #40
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    I fucking love how this came together, both practically and metaphorically. I, too, am floored.

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    Trent's take on a collective existential crisis. Great for birthday parties.

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    Considering Trent's explanation of NTAE in the NIN.com interview, I would suggest that the three reversed TDS songs on the vinyl are meant to form sort of a prologue where we wind back to the point right after Eraser, where the protagonist screams "KILL ME!"

    Instead of Reptile, where the protagonist internally lashes out at a former lover, we get Branches/Bones where "her branches are the bones that break." The protagonist kills her this time, but is also aware that something is amiss as it "feels like I've been here before."

    What we subsequently get is an alternate, unrealized and more violent ending to the story of TDS. And to Trent's story. Remember he could have killed himself in 1999, and quite possibly earlier, but that's not how it went down. These are not the actual events.

    It explains the Reptile lyrics on the PC as bits of the actual events "bleeding through," and it also sort of explains the impetus for using the Still artwork. Out of all the artwork Trent could have chosen, he went for the art of an EP recorded when he was arguably at his lowest point as an addict.
    Last edited by Fred; 06-21-2018 at 09:44 AM.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred View Post
    Considering Trent's explanation of NTAE in the NIN.com interview, I would suggest that the three reversed TDS songs on the vinyl are meant to form sort of a prologue where we wind back to the point right after Eraser, where the protagonist screams "KILL ME!"

    Instead of Reptile, where the protagonist internally lashes out at a former lover, we get Branches/Bones where "her branches are the bones that break." The protagonist kills her this time, but is also aware that something is amiss as it "feels like I've been here before."

    What we subsequently get is an alternate, unrealized and more violent ending to the story of TDS. And to Trent's story. Remember he could have killed himself in 1999, and quite possibly earlier, but that's not how it went down. These are not the actual events.

    It explains the Reptile lyrics on the PC as bits of the actual events "bleeding through," and it also sort of explains the impetus for using the Still artwork. Out of all the artwork Trent could have chosen, he went for the art of an EP recorded when he was arguably at his lowest point as an addict.
    Holy. Shit.

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  14. #44
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    @Fred that's some next level shit. Could this also be what the "rearranging of songs" concept eluded to? Not that the tracks of the trilogy would be rearranged but that certain parts might be inserted to previous works to create an alternate ending.
    Last edited by cdm; 06-21-2018 at 10:01 AM.

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    That'd make sense, yeah. Hats off, Trent and Atticus. This is how you concept album.

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  16. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred View Post
    Considering Trent's explanation of NTAE in the NIN.com interview, I would suggest that the three reversed TDS songs on the vinyl are meant to form sort of a prologue where we wind back to the point right after Eraser, where the protagonist screams "KILL ME!"

    Instead of Reptile, where the protagonist internally lashes out at a former lover, we get Branches/Bones where "her branches are the bones that break." The protagonist kills her this time, but is also aware that something is amiss as it "feels like I've been here before."

    What we subsequently get is an alternate, unrealized and more violent ending to the story of TDS. And to Trent's story. Remember he could have killed himself in 1999, and quite possibly earlier, but that's not how it went down. These are not the actual events.

    It explains the Reptile lyrics on the PC as bits of the actual events "bleeding through," and it also sort of explains the impetus for using the Still artwork. Out of all the artwork Trent could have chosen, he went for the art of an EP recorded when he was arguably at his lowest point as an addict.
    Makes sense. Considering the backwards tracks as a rollback, a few timelines could be made from it.

    For example the rewind between NTAE and AV, just after thinking everything is fucked because of himself, he's in denial, it must be the world. We must go back, consider it differently. But then goes the loop of the Background World. And this time it's not a rewind, it's a dive into the truth.

    But alternate events after eraser.. wow.

  17. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by henryeatscereal View Post
    I also thought that the three albums as released tell a story about "past", "present" and "future" of mankind.
    Not for anything but afer reading the NIN.com interview i think my idea wasn't that far off...

    - The first EP is about (an alternate) "PAST"
    - Second EP is about (a strange and problematic)"PRESENT"
    - Third EP is about a (bleak) "FUTURE"

  18. #48
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    I posted some of this in another thread but it's relevant here, too.

    I don't think there was ever an ARG, even with the original third act of us living in a simulation. I think there was a concept to the whole story that was being explained through the cover art, and they enlisted 42 Entertainment to help them tell that story, because it was more complicated than a Pink Floyd kind of thing and had more narrative to it.

    There are two levels to the whole trilogy: a larger, global questioning about who or what humanity really is, and a more personal story about who Trent Reznor really is: is he really a self destructive addict just waiting to be exposed again, or was that a blip caused by a feeling of isolation that he no longer has? Obviously, they overlap, and the same set of lyrics can be used to examine both stories.

    The "simulation" that the trilogy was originally going to go full bore on was an extension of the idea that this is a continuation of the arc of Trent's life in the mid-late 90s and early 2000s. As he says in the interview, he plays with the idea that his current life and personality is an illusion covering up a person who, really, is self-destructive. The family stuff, the late-in-life happiness: what if none of that is really him? This is why "The Lovers," a song we know is specifically about imagining a relapse, is on the album that introduces the simulation idea as both a metaphor for alternate Trent and a literal explanation for humanity's woes through the cover art.

    And we don't know how it was going to end originally, but the duality of Trent and also all of humanity got radically simplified: the duality isn't really there. Any positivity is an illusion. It doesn't matter who Trent really is, because we're all just animals. Of course we elected Trump and have become more tribal and racist with the internet: we're not enlightened. The third act, instead of being about living in a simulation of sobriety or of society and civilization as a whole, is replaced with one where the only simulation is in our heads. We're just advanced apes. And sometimes apes can be pretty okay, considering. And sometimes ... not.

    On the more global scale of the story, originally, AV wasn't an alternate explanation, it was *the* explanation - we're in this simulation together! But as it is it's just a possible angle on why things feel off and the reason things feel off is because many people are deluded into thinking we're better than we really are. That's the major shift with the rewrite of the ending. I don't think the older artwork is null and void; it was always just meant to bring the larger story, and now, just the larger perspective shifts, in focus.

    I still think that's a legitimate three act work, but instead of the acts being narrative, they're broken up by perspectives. NTAE and BW mirror each other because both deal with more personal illusions: what if I'm really a self destructive addict (thus the teasing Still cover art and the TDS throwbacks in the PC - it's not just a misdirect, it's also about the subject matter and bringing you back to where he was during that time), and what if we're really just animals who evolved by mistake. Of course, Trent has always said he felt like he became the TDS guy, but it seems like on NTAE he's playing with the idea: maybe that is him underneath it all.

    But by the end of the trilogy, we're somewhere else with this idea. Coming to the conclusion that, hey, maybe it doesn't matter whether or not I'm an addict or self-destructive because, well, there isn't really any higher purpose, is pretty bleak. Especially after 15 years of recovery. It's bleaker than most of 90s NIN because that was about a fall from grace, of sorts, but there was still grace. Now, who gives a fuck. There is no redemption.

    I don't think the old artwork callbacks were totally a tease either, and I think that as playful and maybe misdirecting as the Still and TDS callbacks were meant to be, it still has a purpose in bringing you back into that terrible headspace he was in when he made it. He said it was meant to confuse people, but it was also because he was thinking about those albums and that time. And now so are we.

  19. #49
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    So is Not The Actual Events kinda like Trent's original attempt with Bleedthrough, which also goes with Year Zero?

    The initial concept of the album was an exploration of “loss and possible discovery of self, along with alternate layers of reality and perception set inside a nightmare you can't seem to wake up from; with lots of feedback”. Around this time mysterious quotes and binary codes appeared on the NIN website, including a passage from the book The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin, containing the phrase "bleed-through."

    Also, I'm like 80% positive The Idea Of You is a leftover idea/song from With Teeth since Dave Grohl drums on it and he is a main part of With Teeth. Also, weren't some other Bleedthrough/With Teeth leftovers used on Year Zero?

    So many signs point back to these earlier times and almost like an alternate path.

  20. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by neorev View Post
    Also, I'm like 80% positive The Idea Of You is a leftover idea/song from With Teeth since Dave Grohl drums on it and he is a main part of With Teeth.
    Pretty sure it was confirmed that he recorded the drums for the EP, so it wasn't a leftover. I mean, it's not like Trent would have to beg him to play on a song. He'd probably do it in a heartbeat.

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    Yeah and to be honest The Idea of You doesn’t sound very much like With Teeth in my opinion. But I do agree about this trilogy pretty much being the Bleedthrough concept finally realized, with some other stuff thrown in.

  22. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred View Post
    Considering Trent's explanation of NTAE in the NIN.com interview, I would suggest that the three reversed TDS songs on the vinyl are meant to form sort of a prologue where we wind back to the point right after Eraser, where the protagonist screams "KILL ME!"

    Instead of Reptile, where the protagonist internally lashes out at a former lover, we get Branches/Bones where "her branches are the bones that break." The protagonist kills her this time, but is also aware that something is amiss as it "feels like I've been here before."

    What we subsequently get is an alternate, unrealized and more violent ending to the story of TDS. And to Trent's story. Remember he could have killed himself in 1999, and quite possibly earlier, but that's not how it went down. These are not the actual events.

    It explains the Reptile lyrics on the PC as bits of the actual events "bleeding through," and it also sort of explains the impetus for using the Still artwork. Out of all the artwork Trent could have chosen, he went for the art of an EP recorded when he was arguably at his lowest point as an addict.
    Maybe a reach, but there is that line in Shit Mirror "I left her on the bathroom floor"?

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    I just read the recent interview and found it really enlightening in regards to the themes of these records. The explanation of NTAE and the idea of reverting to destructive behavior and burning it all down reminded me a lot of the line "for once in my life I feel complete and I still want to ruin it" from even deeper.

    Also each of these has had a central theme of seeking meaning and to end it with there being no meaning at all, neither internal nor external, is brilliant imo. I myself expected some sort of matrix/time travel narrative and to not get that I think makes it much more interesting. I keep hearing the line "and we just can't help ourselves" and thinking of it as a kind of summation for this theme of seeking meaning. We are pattern seekers and so we can't help searching out answers but in a world where there are no answers no amount of searching will help in the end. Extremely bleak but also as thought provoking as reading existentialist literature or something like that.

    NIN is by far my favorite music group these days and I can only hope new ideas continue to be explored. Its just a great feeling to press play on a record for the first time and honestly have no idea what to expect but at the same time somehow know it won't let you down.

  24. #54
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    My order:

    1. Shit Mirror
    2. Less Than
    3. Dear World,
    4. The Lovers
    5. The Idea Of You
    6. Ahead Of Ourselves
    7. Play The Goddamned Part
    8. Branches/Bones
    9. This Isn't The Place
    10. Not Anymore
    11. She's Gone Away
    12. God Break Down The Door
    13. I'm Not From This World
    14. Over And Out
    15. Burning Bright (Field On Fire)
    16. The Background World

    It's late here, so my mind isn't functioning at 100%, but my abbreviated reasoning for this order is:

    Shit Mirror - Observing the new world and the mutation that has taken place.
    Less Than - Trying to fix the mutation, but not being able to fix himself, which makes it worse.
    Dear World - Disconnecting from the world to protect himself from the mutation.
    The Lovers - He is starting to lose the ability to tell the difference between his dreams and reality.
    The Idea Of You - An attempt to rationalize the madness. He's in denial about how fucked up he really is.
    Ahead Of Ourselves - He snaps out of things long enough to see that life has no real meaning or order.
    Play The Goddamned Part - Observing as the world disassembles and reassembles itself while still trying to find his place in it.
    Branches/Bones - He's tired of convincing himself that any of it matters. He doesn't give a fuck anymore.
    This Isn't The Place - Clarity once more. He mourns his "friend", the life he once led, and the infinite time he thought he had.
    Not Anymore - One last attempt to convince himself of his relevance, which can't survive the truth: he's living in a fantasy.
    She's Gone Away - His former life is dead. He killed it. "She" is gone.
    God Break Down The Door - A plea to the cosmos for answers or direction. The cosmos does not respond.
    I'm Not From This World - He's slipping further out of reality, and reality is starting to disassemble itself faster and faster.
    Over And Out - Acceptance of the situation. Hope in the idea that this may have happened before and will happen again. Infinite universes. Infinite chances to make it right.
    Burning Bright (Field On Fire) - Reality begins to smear and distort. In the final moments, he finds forgiveness and breaks through, beginning the process of leaving the world (and possibly the simulation).
    The Background World - Is this really what he wants? Does he want it all to end? Does he have a choice? Regardless, he feels it coming. The world (simulation) can't hold up. It breaks down, folding itself in two...then again...and again...until it is no more.
    Last edited by BRoswell; 06-22-2018 at 04:06 AM.

  25. #55
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    The Background World going into Shit Mirror sounds awesome, and most alternate track configurations in here lose out on that moment.

    I wouldn't change the running order or length of the trilogy, personally. It's got the length of a double album when unabbreviated, and besides, there isn't a single song in the whole song cycle I dislike. And narratively, we already know the EPs are meant to be enjoyed chronologically.

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    @BRoswell , I'm interested in the reasoning for The Idea of You. Would you care to indulge me?

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    Quote Originally Posted by elevenism View Post
    @BRoswell , I'm interested in the reasoning for The Idea of You. Would you care to indulge me?
    Whoops! I missed that one. Like I said, my brain isn't working at 100%. The Idea Of You is his attempt to rationalize the situation. He doesn't see himself the way other people do. It kind of goes back to the idea of "Even Deeper". "You know me...well, you THINK you do." Coming after Dear World (where he begins to disconnect himself) and The Lovers (where reality and fantasy being to collide and shift), it's a moment of denial of just how fucked up things are and will become.

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    Quote Originally Posted by izo View Post
    Perhaps the placement of the ^^^^ markers on the albums is the order (if there is indeed proper order?)
    Applying this theory, and assuming order is top to bottom, it would make it: Add Violence, Bad Witch, Not the Actual Events


    has anyone figured out what this shit says yet anyways? it looks like text to me tbh

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    Quote Originally Posted by StockAvuryah View Post
    Here we see a close-minded individual in the wilderness. Try it.
    I have. They sounded kinda weird, interesting, compelling, but you are ignoring (or missed) the last bit of what I wrote

    Quote Originally Posted by jmtd
    as part of the album.
    It's clear to me that they're an interesting aside (literally) and not part of the continuity of either that EP or the set of EPs. The proof is in the fact you only got them with the vinyl edition.

    But maybe you are on to something: We literally have twice as much NIN music if you reverse everything! Wow he's hidden half his oeuvre this under our noses the whole time!

    Quote Originally Posted by StockAvuryah View Post
    Art is more than entertainment, and I know it's difficult for you to understand that. A weirder thing is than even if it's a simple "easter egg", it legitimately works. What an insult to Trent, seriously. Purposefully putting a whole vinyl side and people thinking he would just chuckle when someone happens to like it.
    I'm sure Trent is capable of deciding what insults him by himself. Or maybe he has you on speed dial for that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmtd View Post
    But maybe you are on to something: We literally have twice as much NIN music if you reverse everything! Wow he's hidden half his oeuvre this under our noses the whole time!
    Just answering that : Yes, let's rewind all of NIN's discography. I'm ready. Certain some of it is interesting. Like the tracks which have already backwards samples, like in TDS. Oh wait.

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