Starfuckers, Inc. (song)
"Starfuckers, Inc." is the sixth track on the right disc of The Fragile. It has been speculated that this is a parody of Marilyn Manson and his lifestyle, though the lyrics only support a generalized take against pop music celebrities in general.
The "Buddha Boys Choir", credited for background chants on this track, was actually (with the exception of Keith Hillebrandt, Clint Mansell and Steve Duda) a random group of bar patrons who were brought in from Igor's Buddha Belly across the street from Nothing Studios.
The word "Starfucker" was apparently the original title of the Rolling Stones song "Star Star," released on the 1973 album, Goats Head Soup. The term "starfucker" was later used by the artist Tori Amos in her song "Professional Widow," released on her 1996 album, Boys For Pele. In this song, the eponymous "professional widow" and "starfucker" is widely considered to be Courtney Love. "Starfucker" is also the tenth track on Hanzel Und Gretyl's 1997 industrial metal album Transmissions From Uranus.
This is the version found on The Fragile. Slowly fading in with a quiet beat and moving synthesizers, the first verse then erupts, with locked drum loops and synthesized bass. Reznor's verse vocals were recorded and cut in such a way that each word sounds like it is from a different vocal take, possibly as a stab at the pop music celebrities the lyrics seem to satirize. In contrast, the chorus is loud and guitar-heavy, with several repeated group shouts. A wah guitar solo similar in sound to the one from "The Wretched" connects to the second verse. After the second chorus, the song quickly quiets for the lonely guitar-and-vocal bridge before erupting back into the loud chorus.
Starfuckers, Inc. (Instrumental)
Released exclusively through Apple Music as part of The Fragile Instrumental, this is the album arrangement, but also retains the ending KISS sample used on the single version (with an earlier fade out).
Starfuckers, Inc. (Edit)
In this version, it fades in half as fast. The word 'bitch' is censored, as is the word 'fuck' - during the chorus, it is silenced. The guitar solo that comes next is cut in half. In the second verse the word 'fucking' is censored, as is 'asskisser'. Also censored is the word 'suck', but, interestingly enough, the word 'whore' is not. During the loud chorus at the end of the lonely bridge, an added guitar that plays nine times in the studio plays only four in this edit. Also, at the very end, a part that plays thrice plays only twice. However, at the end of this edit, there is the KISS extended ending, but it fades out sooner.
Starfuckers, Inc. (The Day The World Went Away)
This version has an extended ending, incorporating fireworks and applause from KISS' "Shout It Out Loud," found on Alive II, and the beginning guitar riff of "Complication." The track then fades out. The version on the cassette single ends with an audience shouting "Nine Inch Nails!" and lacks the beginning of "Complication".
This is a heavily censored version, released on the Starsuckers, Inc. promo disc and is the version generally played with the song's music video. The bridge verse is changed from the Carly Simon-quoting lyrics, and the "f" in the word "Starfuckers" is changed to an "s" to make "Starsuckers" throughout.
Starfuckers, Inc. (Version)—Adrian Sherwood
This remix integrates siren noises and various noises reminiscent of old sci-fi movies, as well as samples from KISS Alive!. It has very little in the way of lyrics, consisting only of "Starfuckers," "Starfuckers, Inc." and "You're so fucking beautiful."
Starfuckers, Inc. (Version)—Dave "Rave" Ogilvie
This is a more dance-oriented remix, with emphasis on percussion and melodic synthesizers.
Starfuckers, Inc. (Version)—Charlie Clouser
A more industrial remix, this is very heavy on percussion and light on lyrical content.
Starfuckers, Inc. (And All That Could Have Been)
This live version is similar to the album original, with the exception being an extended bridge that features Reznor declaring, "Well, fuck you!" after repeating "Don't you?" many times. The tempo is also increased from the album's 146 BPM to 159 BPM.
The video for "Starfuckers, Inc." was released in 2000 under the name "Starsuckers, Inc." due to censorship issues. The interlude lyrics were also changed for the video, allegedly to avoid a copyright infringement lawsuit.
At this point in the video, it becomes a commentary on the state of music at the time. Bands like Limp Bizkit were extremely popular while Smashing Pumpkins and R.E.M. seemed to be past their prime in the eyes of the record labels and many consumers. After the dunk tank, Reznor and the blonde return to the car. It is then that the blonde is revealed to be Manson dressed in drag. Many people speculated that the feud between Reznor and Manson had ended.
The video contains several references to the films of David Lynch. The opening scene with the road and the red-tinted scenes refer to Lost Highway. The limousine and Reznor's clothes and oxygen mask refer to the character Frank Booth in Blue Velvet, who has an addiction to gases and is the perfect figure of depravity.
During the throwing of CDs into a toilet, discs are seen of Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals and Smells Like Children as well as Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral.
Reznor on the songwriting
"You start out thinking you can change the world, but when cool people at clubs who wouldn't even talk to me were like, 'Whoah,he's got a platinum album, who's that guy?' It was strange. I realised that the guys who beat me up in high-school were now in my audience. Money, fame, power - things I'd never had - those things are recipies for massive personality distortion. In my life I was standing on the edge of a cliff about to jump off because my brain wasn't working. After 'The Downward Spiral' I felt like I had to make the best record in the world but my addictions meant my head was packed with cotton. 'Starfuckers, Inc.' doesn't fit in with the rest of that record, but it came from bits of lyrics I'd written over a long period and was focused at Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love. I'm not saying I haven't fallen prey to this at times, but I think in their environment your priorities can totally flip before you realise."
"Starfuckers, Inc." has been played live since the Fragility tour, usually at a significantly faster tempo. During the Live: With Teeth tour, Reznor stopped the song and skipped the breakdown, bantering to the audience before going right into the song's finale.
My god sits in the back of the limousine My god comes in a wrapper of cellophane My god pouts on the cover of the magazine My god's a shallow little bitch trying to make the scene I have arrived and you should believe the hype I listened to everyone now I know that everyone was right I'll be there for you as long as it works for me I play a game It's called insincerity Starfuckers Starfuckers Starfuckers, Inc. Starfuckers I am every fucking thing and just a little more I sold my soul but don't you dare call me a whore And when I suck you off not a drop will go to waste It's really not so bad you know once you get past the taste (Asskisser) Starfuckers Starfuckers Starfuckers, Inc. Starfuckers All our pain How did we ever get by without you? You're so vain I bet you think this song is about you Don't you? Don't you? Don't you? Don't you? Now I belong I'm one of the chosen ones Now I belong I'm one of the beautiful ones
The first lyric to the second part of the first verse was changed on the actual recording:
I have arrived and this time you should believe the hype
In "Starsuckers, Inc.," the lyrics in the breakdown are changed to:
All our pain How did we ever get by without you? Overplayed And soon you'll make us forget about you Won't you?