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

  1. #211
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    My personal interpretation of the trilogy (especially Bad Witch).....

    Last edited by dedevoce; 12-07-2018 at 01:11 AM.

  2. #212
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    This just occurred to me as far as titles go.

    Terrible Lie - Just Like You Imagined - Another Version Of The Truth - Not The Actual Events

    Since what you can imagine and what you find that's another version of the truth can be anything but the actual events, and very-well a terrible lie.

    As for Add Violence, it just always reminded me of the violence portrayed in Broken and The Downard Spiral music video eras. (As well as violence in other videos from other NIN eras.)
    Last edited by Halo Infinity; 12-09-2018 at 02:10 PM. Reason: I forgot to include Terrible Lie.

  3. #213
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    I made this playlist with the more aggressive tracks of the trilogy and fuck, in some ways this feels heavier and darker than Broken.

    1- Branches/Bones
    2- Shit Mirror
    3- Ahead of Ourselves
    4- She's Gone Away
    5- Not Anymore
    6- The Idea of You
    7- Burning Bright (Field on Fire)

  4. #214
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    I was listening to The Lovers and Not Anymore just now and I have a theory of what ties the whole trilogy together thematically: Trent Reznor is changing again, this time in response to the world around him.

    Nine Inch Nails lyrics have always been very confessional and he has admitted to them being autobiographical on numerous occasions. They are sometimes exaggerated, like on The Downward Spiral, but ultimately still emotionally authentic and true.

    To fully understand this change, we need to go back to Hesitation Marks. He says in interviews, that this album was looking back to The Downward Spiral. Processing who he was, in light of the new person he had become. Sober. Married. A father. A successful film composer. A middle-aged man. He spoke of coming back haunted. Of feeling split in two, of having survived Everything? "I've got to let go. I've got to get straight." Of burying everything he did, burning down who he was and starting anew. Hesitation Marks was even a new style of music for him. He toured with backup singers! While it was thematically dark and troubled, it is arguably the most hopeful NIN record to date. It was not nihilistic.

    But then...

    The world around Trent wouldn't let him finish putting the pieces together. You can hear this in While I'm Still Here, the last track on Hesitation Marks. He knows that he's okay now, but the world isn't. It's ending. He laments this. The empathy he even has here for the young lovers he watches walking by, is in stark contrast to the hardness and contempt of the 90's.

    He examines the world's decline further as he composes Before The Flood. The documentary on the pending destruction of the world due to climate change. He sings a poignant song about recognizing this doom, feeling he is to blame, along with all of us, and how we will be judged by what we leave behind.

    Then the last straw.

    Trump.

    Trump is campaigning as Trent and Atticus are making Not The Actual Events. It still hasn't become reality, but the internal darkness is already setting in. Trent considers what it would mean if he really was just the 1990's Trent Reznor all along. If that really was the real him. The way he talked about this in interviews, I thought that this was just a thought experiment that made for good music.

    But I think a real change may be happening.

    Trent has not reverted to the addict of the Downward Spiral and The Fragile era. But he's not the person who made Hesitation Marks anymore.He said this explicitly in an interview. That he doesn't even know who that guy is.

    Something has happened. He feels genuinely angry and devastated. He thought that he was becoming whole, that he was finding peace, but no. Not Anymore.

    Listen to that track.

    Surprise
    I must have let it get in
    Started to turn into somebody else
    Yeah I found myself believing
    Tick tock tick
    Time
    My feet are nailed to the floor
    I always thought we would get there somehow
    I always thought there'd be
    More

    Well not anymore
    Then they go on to make Bad Witch. Filled with contempt for the world around him, utterly disillusioned. The Trent of Hesitation Marks was all, "Oh Dear Lord, hear my prayer". Now he is "that is if he existed (not so sure anymore)". He's lost his faith in our ability to do better. In the value of even trying. The vulnerability and empathy are gone for other people. He's begging God to Break Down the Door and end it. He feels like he is just repeating himself, as a person, over and over again (Over and Out). A theme in the Trilogy is returning to where he has been. I don't think he's in danger of returning to the addiction. I think what he has actually returned to is the *worldview* of the old days. The nihilism. The sense that everything is meaningless and bleak and hopeless. He's got motivation in his family and career to get out of bed and press on, but inside he's not where he was in 2013. He has returned to 1990's Trent, really and truly, but this time without the drugs to numb him.

    This is my take. I don't know Trent Reznor. I can only understand the thin slice of what he has revealed of himself in lyrics and music and interviews. Is that enough to give us some perspective on who he is? I don't know but it feels to me like it is.

    What he is wrestling with has made for a couple years of great music, but it also makes me really sad. I can relate to some of these feelings too. It makes me sad that he felt like he was almost there. Like things had kind of come together for him finally, only to see the world around him pulled apart, as as a person who cares deeply, to be deeply affected by it. To think that this has caused him to personally lose so much of what he thought he had gained, to question it and reject most of it... it's a tragedy. One that I think many of us can relate to these days.

    I would love to see where Hesitation Marks Trent would have gone next. What albums would he have made? Would he have ended NIN and started something else entirely? I don't think we will know for a while, if ever. The world got in the way.

    The Trent Reznor of 2016-19 seems to be a fusion of 1990's Trent with 2000's Trent. His "good" and "bad" selves finally becoming whole. Sober, but pessimistic. Personally hopeful, globally hopeless. That's what I get from listening to the Trilogy at this point. I think it's a work of art that truly speaks to the times we are living in. And I think it's a devastating tragedy, not only as a piece of art, but in real life for a real person.

    I'm going back
    Of course I am
    As if I ever had a choice
    Back to what I always knew I was
    On the inside
    Back to what I really am
    I hope, even as the world seems to grow darker each day, that Trent and each of one of us can find a way to keep our little candles burning.

  5. #215
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    Oh, and the more I listen to the trilogy the more connected it all seems thematically and musically. They arenít as disconnected as we have made them out to be. For instance, there is this percussive, gun-blast sound in Not Anymore that I noticed today that reappears in Play the Goddamned Part. Some of the lyrics are repeated as well. The theme of time, for instance, occurs in Branches/Bones, Dear World, The idea of you, Burning Bright, The Lovers, This Isnít The Place, Not Anymore, The Background World Shit Mirror, and Over and Out. Thatís just one theme. Sleep and waking, dreams, obsolete, isolation, it being able to recognize the world, and many other subjects are threads through out the entire Trilogy.

    I think as Trent himself suggested, we just really need to sit with these for a lot of repeated listens before things become clear. I feel like there is a lot more there yet to be revealed.

    No I am not stoned, lol.

  6. #216
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max View Post
    Oh, and the more I listen to the trilogy the more connected it all seems thematically and musically. They aren’t as disconnected as we have made them out to be. For instance, there is this percussive, gun-blast sound in Not Anymore that I noticed today that reappears in Play the Goddamned Part. Some of the lyrics are repeated as well. The theme of time, for instance, occurs in Branches/Bones, Dear World, The idea of you, Burning Bright, The Lovers, This Isn’t The Place, Not Anymore, The Background World Shit Mirror, and Over and Out. That’s just one theme. Sleep and waking, dreams, obsolete, isolation, it being able to recognize the world, and many other subjects are threads through out the entire Trilogy.

    I think as Trent himself suggested, we just really need to sit with these for a lot of repeated listens before things become clear. I feel like there is a lot more there yet to be revealed.

    No I am not stoned, lol.
    There was an ARG thread that seems to have died. Someone made a huge image with all the lyrics and how they connected. Can't for the life of me find that picture now, or I'd link it here for you.

  7. #217
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    Quote Originally Posted by katara View Post
    There was an ARG thread that seems to have died. Someone made a huge image with all the lyrics and how they connected. Can't for the life of me find that picture now, or I'd link it here for you.
    That would be me, on page 5 of this very thread. (Unless it’s not and someone else did one too)

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    Quote Originally Posted by richardp View Post
    Just a thought I had this morning, but each EP essentially has one song that low-key gives it all away right up front face value.

    NTAE: The Idea Of You (Life is delusion)
    Add Violence: The Background World (Life is simulation)
    Bad Witch: Ahead of Ourselves (Life is an accident)

    Who knows, maybe that's been a given this entire time but I just discovered it so, whatever, man.
    I'm a little late to chime in on this post, but that was my take as well. Trent likes to make things obscure and layered, but not so much that you can't figure it out, either.

    In fact, based on the back cover art, I've wondered if "The Idea of You" was not only meant to be the theme but the title of the EP, then changed since it was too obvious:

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    I am curious if anyone else is hearing the Birdbox Soundtrack and making any thematic or soundscape connections with Bad Witch. It feels like there is some overlap here and the two were being created during roughly the same period. Creepy beings not from our world and the world collapsing and many of the sounds and textures feel interconnected to me. Anyone else picking up the same? Iím not going to argue that Over and Out or Shit Mirror fit, I am talking more about the sound of the instrumental tracks and the overall themes that Bad Witch deals with conceptually.

  10. #220
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max View Post
    I am curious if anyone else is hearing the Birdbox Soundtrack and making any thematic or soundscape connections with Bad Witch. It feels like there is some overlap here and the two were being created during roughly the same period. Creepy beings not from our world and the world collapsing and many of the sounds and textures feel interconnected to me. Anyone else picking up the same? I’m not going to argue that Over and Out or Shit Mirror fit, I am talking more about the sound of the instrumental tracks and the overall themes that Bad Witch deals with conceptually.
    Well yes, Outside and I'm Not From This World are similar in ways, for example. The organic, almost animal-like sounds, or just animal samples distorted I guess, the rumbling background noises, the tension... to me it feels like nature itself crashing and being grinded by some external force. Somewhat.

  11. #221
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    I just finished reading the novel 1Q84. Has anyone read this? Itís incredible.

    The trilogy goes with it PERFECTLY. I donít imagine Trent has read it, I donít think the two have anything to do with each other, but man the similarities in theme and subject matter to the trilogy coincide quite well.

    1Q84 is a surreal story. It feels real but has characters questioning their own grip on reality based on strange and sometimes disturbing events. There is murder, there are dark forces coming for characters who are trying to survive and find each other. Loneliness, isolation, the end of the world.

    If 1Q84 was ever made into a movie, they could just have the Trilogy be itís soundtrack and call it a day.

    Has anyone else read this book and see how well they fit together?

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    @Max, it's been on my list for a while, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Good reminder!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max View Post
    I just finished reading the novel 1Q84. Has anyone read this? It’s incredible.

    The trilogy goes with it PERFECTLY. I don’t imagine Trent has read it, I don’t think the two have anything to do with each other, but man the similarities in theme and subject matter to the trilogy coincide quite well.

    1Q84 is a surreal story. It feels real but has characters questioning their own grip on reality based on strange and sometimes disturbing events. There is murder, there are dark forces coming for characters who are trying to survive and find each other. Loneliness, isolation, the end of the world.

    If 1Q84 was ever made into a movie, they could just have the Trilogy be it’s soundtrack and call it a day.

    Has anyone else read this book and see how well they fit together?
    I did read the first one 6 months ago ! But didn't make any connection between the two. I should continue. Thanks for the reminder, I'll report back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StockAvuryah View Post
    I did read the first one 6 months ago ! But didn't make any connection between the two. I should continue. Thanks for the reminder, I'll report back.
    I want to reiterate that I don't believe that Trent was inspired by the book, only that there are a LOT of points of connection.

    Here are a few that I can think of right off the bat (Spoilers)-

    Both are concerned with "Not The Actual Events". The idea that we are living in a reality that isn't quite right. Maybe it isn't even happening. There is a sense of "is this character mentally ill or has the world around them really gone surreal?" I can't seem to wake up. I know you saw it too. Feels like I've been here before. I don't know anymore. I'm locked inside here, have to stay... everything is getting unfamiliar now. None of this is happening. It folds itself in two (the two moons). Behind the background world is always leading through.

    There are characters in 1Q84 who have a shadow version of themselves, like Fuka-Eri. Many characters have a feeling of being divided. This is like the two voices in Dear World, just go back to the idea of me, maybe that was somebody else, maybe I was somebody else, i think there's something just wrong with me

    There is a sense of isolation in 1Q84. Tengo, Aomame, and Ushikawa are all profoundly alone. You left me here. Everyone seems to be asleep. It gets so lonely in here.

    Surreal, sometimes horrific imagery. Murder. Branches and bones. Spiders crawling everywhere infected Japanese. She's gone. Longing for someone, like She's Gone Away and This Isn't The Place.

    I know what's coming. I feel it reaching through. There is this sense of impending doom. The Little People and the dark forces at work in 1Q84, the coming of the kingdom in that book. The idea that they are heading for something terrible and some supernatural forces are intervening and shaping and guiding things. Welcomed oblivion.

    Not anymore could be the song that plays when Tamaru finally gets ahold of Ushikawa. The bag over the head. the suddenness of thinking you had a future but finding yourself bound up and screaming.

    The idea that Aomame can't get out of 1Q84. You can't understand what they've planned until you try to leave.

    Themes of memory permeate both the book and the trilogy. Time itself is messed with. Tengo and Aomame keep bouncing around in time to when they were younger. I'm going back. Of course I am. As if I ever had a choice. I've slipped out of time leaving all of you behind. This keeps happening, over and over again. Characters listening to the same piece of music, or holding hands again after many years, or similar fates happening to different people - as though the same mind is trying to understand the events by reliving them over and over.

    the lovers, the sex that Aomame and Tengo and other characters use to fill the void.

    This isn't the place could be the lost of Aomame's two close friends, or her and Tengo longing for each other.

    Shit mirror - there are several scenes where Aomame is standing in front of a mirror trying to understand what she sees, the changes inside.

    God Break Down the door- there is always this idea that the kingdom is coming, with these cults and the characters like Aomame who are thinking that the end is coming. The second ominous moon and the little people. But there aren't any answers here.


    I haven't heard a thing that leads me to believe that Trent was in any way influenced by this book, that he has ever even read it. I doubt he has. But man, if I found out he did, i oddly feel like, "this all makes so much sense".

    I think the truth is that these are universal emotions and stories, and that by using a similar device - the idea of questioning reality, a simulation or alternate reality, it creates a lt of creepy, mysterious, sad, shocking feelings that harmonize the two. Haruki Murakami is a contemporary of Trent Reznor, both are living in the same world, seeing the same things, swimming in the same ocean, and I suppose we should not be surprised if there are many points of connection.

  15. #225
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    Spent a lot of time figuring this out a while back. Now it's the only way I listen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LOVEANDZOMBIES View Post
    Spent a lot of time figuring this out a while back. Now it's the only way I listen.
    Weird link you got there.

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    [NIИ] ИOT THE ACTUAL SPIRAL


    I know it’s been done before, but here is yet another alternate playlist based on the NIИ Trilogy consisting of Not The Actual Events, Add Violence & Bad Witch.


    In this case, I’ve taken a lot of thought and carefully picked each song that closely correlates with each track of The Downward Spiral, based on BPM (beats per minute), lyrics, themes, sound wise and most importantly, flow. The result was quite surprising in terms of all those things, so without further adieu, I present to you the playlist: ИOT THE ACTUAL SPIRAL


    1. Burning Bright (Field on Fire) [Mr. Self Destruct]
    Obvious with certain lyrics like ‘I am an exit’ &
    ‘Like an Exit’ Also keep in mind the mindset T.Rez
    was in during NTAE, that it was an alternate path
    straying off TDS. The ending of Burning Bright is
    intentionally similar to the chaos guitars at the
    of Mr Self Destruct.


    2. This Isn’t The Place [PIggy]
    The quiet track after chaos. Sonically similar. Loss
    of a friend; abandonment, being alone. Check out
    those tambourines, too. BPM close as well.


    3. God Break Down The Door [Heresy]
    Sonically driven through lyrical aspects of
    God & religion, back to a fast paced track.


    4. Ahead of Ourselves [March of the Pigs]
    Follow up with a fast paced track again. Lyric wise
    ‘With our snouts in the dirt’ and the obvious pig
    references in March of the Pigs. Themes of
    greed. Percussion heavy and a slow fade out.


    5. The Background World (4:06 Edit) [Closer]
    Close BPM, Opening lyrics start & point toward
    the other person ‘You left me here’ ‘You let me
    violate you’ Reminiscent percussion to Closer
    after ‘Are you sure?’ during Background World.


    6A. Less Than [Ruiner]
    Similar BPM and fast paced, both end abruptly.

    6B. Dear World, [Ruiner]
    Since there are 14 tracks on TDS and 16 on the
    Trilogy as a total, it was rough cutting anything out
    in terms of making it a whole. Dear World was
    tough in terms of finding a proper place but fit
    quite well after Less Than in terms of flow.


    7A. Play The Goddamned Part [The Becoming]
    The second example of 14 TDS tracks vs 16 Trilogy
    tracks. This served as moody instrumental break
    that has a BPM very close to The Becoming.

    7B. Shit Mirror [The Becoming]
    The other half of The Becoming in terms of BPM
    & lyrics: ‘I’m becoming something new’ & ‘I am
    becoming’ Classic T Rez stuff.


    8. The Idea Of You [I Do Not Want This]
    Very close BPMs and both end very similarly vocal
    wise: ‘It gets so lonely in here.’ ‘I wanna do some
    -thing that matters’ Piano and heavy guitars,
    jumping back in forth in double tempo.


    9. Branches/Bones [Big Man With A Gun]
    Fast paced and similar track times, the shortest
    tracks on both albums. Heavy guitar play abruptly
    ending with a vocal scream.


    10. The Lovers [A Warm Place]
    The somber quiet tracks. After the harshness of
    B/B & BMWAG, The Lovers lines up quite nicely
    as an alternative to A Warm Place. Since the
    theme of The Lovers is a return to addiction,
    A Warm Place could be the warm feeling of the
    ‘drug’ coursing through the protagonist’ body.


    11. Not Anymore [Eraser]
    These tracks start similar as far as build up, but
    that’s about where it ends to a certain fashion.
    Although, the lyrics ‘And I can’t seem to wake up’
    & ‘Dream You’ are tiny things that only line up,
    they do both end abruptly, flowing well into the
    following tracks.


    12. She’s Gone Away [Reptile]
    It’s been known these two are connected for
    some time, with the lyric pages blended together
    visually on the Not The Actual Events Physical
    Component, and on the digital lyrics as well.
    Both songs are moody and sonically dark, and
    seem to reference the same woman ‘she’
    Reptile was apparently about a diseased
    woman, possibly a prostitute. She’s Gone
    Away seems to reference what happened to
    said woman. Themes of disease & infection.


    13. I’m Not From This World [The Downward Spiral]
    Being the only other instrumental besides Play
    The Goddamned Part, this was a proper place to
    fit as far as flow after ‘She’s Gone Away’ and
    shares the theme of isolation and despair from
    The Downward Spiral. Lyrically very little: ‘I’m
    not from this world’ & ‘Everything’s blue in
    this world.”


    14. Over & Out [Hurt]
    And so it ends. I felt that Over & Out should end
    properly after INFTW, as Hurt came after TDS.
    They are indeed the last tracks of their albums
    but where one ends in static noise, the other
    ends in ambience.


    And that’s that. Enjoy!

  18. #228
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    Been going back to NTAE a bit lately and while I had it on the other night I noticed that Burning Bright uses a little piece from Leaving Hope during the breakdown. Then I imagined playing one song over the top of another and I might be on to nothing but with the Still artwork thing and that piece of the final track from Still being used in the final track from NTAE, I've had the feeling since then that there is something in that. Anyone else notice this or has it been explored before, the connection between those two tracks?

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    Worked out a playlist for the EP trilogy, but I removed Less Than, Not Anymore, and The Background World. Those three never really wowed me and break the flow of an otherwise avant-garde, boundary-pushing set of songs in my humble opinion.

    Branches/Bones
    Dear World,
    She's Gone Away
    The Idea of You
    The Lovers
    Shit Mirror
    Ahead of Ourselves
    This Isn't the Place
    Play the Goddamned Part
    God Break Down the Door
    I'm Not From This World
    Burning Bright (Field on Fire)
    Over and Out

    The list is roughly based on the EP release order, but I scattered AV's two remaining tracks throughout the middle and pushed Burning Bright toward the end as it feels more "final." Of course, a common theme with NIN is a false or undeserved sense of finality, so I understand those wanting to keep it earlier on the set. I also considered how certain songs "fade" into one another and kept those together. Hopefully there aren't any super jarring transitions (other than the ones Trent and Atticus create themselves ).

    Conceptually, I was thinking of a story roughly similar to the feel of TDS; the narrator lashes out as his chains are unbound in the beginning, he loses someone or something close to him in the middle, then he dives deep into the existential underbelly only to emerge with a questionable or unsettling conclusion in the end.

    As far as a title for this playlist/album goes, I'm tempted to call it by the name of one of the songs I removed. "Not Anymore" is a phrase that seems to describe each EP, albeit in different ways. "The Background World" is also cool and feels like it refers to a collection of material.

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    I'm sure this has been pointed out before, but I think I only just finally realized it myself.

    I was just having the ever more frequent conversation with a friend about how fucking stupid and insane and cartoonish and unbelievable the world gets each passing day. A rudderless ship. I'm not the one driving anymore. I digress, none of that is news to anybody. But that conversation often brings me back to this trilogy. How it's such a harrowing and visceral exploration of that feeling.

    As somebody who has very legitimately experienced real psychotic breaks (and will probably never be able to fully return to reality), Trent's method of expressing these themes - so palpably and accurately repurposing schizophrenic thought - is what immediately made these releases so personally important to me. When the world shifts so much under your feet that the only thing left unshifted is you. Or were you?

    The franticness and distrust and fear and confusion and anger and defenses. The desperate hunt for meaning. Anywhere, everywhere. There's got to be an explanation for what's happening. There's an answer here somewhere. The taunting voice you can almost make out through the hum of an air conditioner in the dead of night. There's probably a message encoded in the colors of the cars on the road passing by. A friend's tweet with a few words or letters capitalized where they shouldn't be, or a misplaced comma, or both - surely an attempt at conveying a secret message. If only you can just crack the code, then finally everything will make sense! You're so close, you just need to sink another few hours into it. You just need to use your fucking brain and you can solve this puzzle.

    Ösound familiar?

    I guess this is when it clicked for me how incredible it was to release a collection of media that steadily harps on these themes, which... just so happens to be overflowing with encoded perhaps-clues and subtle maybe-connections and secret almost-messages. Especially when you've already primed your audience to look for hidden meanings in your work. Of course there was never an ARG. None of the cryptic hints ever meant anything - that's the whole point! What better way to allow people to truly live the art you've created than to legitimately put them in the mindset you set out to evoke (without them even realizing what's happening.)

    I've always maintained that Trent is unparalleled in his ability to convey the reality of so many of the depths in which a human can find themselves. This is the epitome of that talent.

    This is why I love NIN and this is why I love this trilogy.

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    Great perspective. The recent collaboration with Health on "Isn't Everyone" really continues with these themes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by astfgyl View Post
    Been going back to NTAE a bit lately and while I had it on the other night I noticed that Burning Bright uses a little piece from Leaving Hope during the breakdown. Then I imagined playing one song over the top of another and I might be on to nothing but with the Still artwork thing and that piece of the final track from Still being used in the final track from NTAE, I've had the feeling since then that there is something in that. Anyone else notice this or has it been explored before, the connection between those two tracks?
    Which part of Leaving Hope? And where does it appear in Burning Bright?

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