"Survivalism" is the third track and the first single from the 2007 album Year Zero.
Survivalism is the belief that one must be prepared to survive a major catastrophe by stocking up on food and weapons. A survivalist therefore is a person who anticipates and prepares for a future disruption in local, regional or worldwide social or political order. Survivalists often prepare for this anticipated disruption by learning skills (e.g., emergency medical training), stockpiling food and water, or building structures that will help them to survive (e.g., an underground shelter).
On March 13, the source files for the song were released in GarageBand format at NIN.com. "Survivalism" is the third NIN song to be officially released as source files—"Only" and "The Hand That Feeds" were previously released.
Found on Year Zero as well as the Survivalism single and promo. Characterized by much synthetic layering and a consistent eighth note drum machine pulse, matched by a single note bass riff that begins on the second eighth and ends on the eighth before repeating. This gives the song an apparent metric shift one eighth note forward, though the first downbeat of each measure is actually in the space between the stop and start of the bass and guitar riff. The chorus features many layers of group vocals, including some by Saul Williams. After the final chorus, a new guitar riff leads off a coda that builds in layers of drones until suddenly stopping and leading into "The Good Soldier."
This unmastered vocal-less mix was released by Reznor through his remix.nin.com account.
Survivalism (Radio Edit)
A radio-friendly edited version that is found on the Survivalism promo. The word "whore" is edited out.
Included on the Survivalism single and Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D, this remix was created by Williams and Thavius Beck. The music isn't as guitar-driven as the album version and the chorus consists of Reznor's vocals with Williams' vocal contributions reduced significantly. The breakdown repeats the lyric "All a part of this great nation." There is also hand-clap percussion over pulsating beats and some distortion on Reznor's vocals at some points in the song. Although it may not seem as heavy as the original, it's still heavy in terms of percussion.
Remix: Saul Williams, Thavius Beck
Available on the UK 9" Vinyl Survivalism single. This remix, also by Williams, features him incorporating new lyrics into the verses and delivering them with more of a spoken word/hip-hop flow. Reznor's vocals become backing vocals on this track, allowing Williams to come to the front. The music is very similar to that used in the "Tardusted" version. The new lyrics sung by Williams are as follows:
Wanted to cap somebody Wanted to buck em' down Wanted to pull the trigger Just to hear the fucking sound I got my propaganda I get my cable free I hang it from my neck And go to work from tree to tree It's gotta be the poison They're putting in my food It takes me by the brain And marks me to my every move I try to change the channel The channel's changing me I take the cup and prop it up Before I start to pee I stumble from the toilet I'm sprawled across the floor I feel my head expand Beyond the room Beyond the door I'm in an oval office In an electric chair I sign my name Beneath the claim That I don't really care I got survivalism You've got my claim to fame I got the right to say I'm fighting under Jesus' name I see the .45's But I wont act surprised Lost my faith along the way And found myself believing your lies
The spoken word rhythm of this remix has a strong resemblance to Williams' song "P.G." from Saul Williams.
Survivalism (Dave Sitek Remix)
David Andrew Sitek is member of TV On The Radio, who opened for Nine Inch Nails during the With Teeth tour. This remix was originally available as a UK-only iTunes download. It came as a free bonus track packaged with the full album download of Year Zero. It is alternatively available on the Capital G single. It is akin to the original song sound-wise, but features a heavier and more plodding drum line. Additionally, it enhances Williams' back up vocals and makes them more prominent than in the original. The structure and length of the song remains relatively unchanged.
Survivalism (deadmau5 Remix)
This is a remix by deadmau5, originally released through his official SoundCloud account in 2012, then commercially on his album while(1<2).
Garage Band Files
On 3/13/07 Garage Band files for Survivalism were released on nin.com. Along with Survivalism, there was another file called Survivalism Our End Trip with some weird sounds. After rearranging the file through a spectogram, this was found. The following case number for Judson Ogram was found:
Case number 6455da04
Filming for the "Survivalism" video began on February 5, 2007. It was directed by Alex Lieu, Rob Sheridan, and Reznor, and produced by Susan Bonds. The video was "leaked" to the internet via flash drives found dotted around the venue by people attending the Nine Inch Nails concert in London on March 7, 2007.
At the end of the video the people in the other monitors seem to respond to an ado in one of the spaces seen on the monitor wall. The space where NIN was playing has its door busted in and a pool of blood leading out, while all of the other cameras trained on the band have gone to static. At the very end a body is seen being dragged around a corner, leaving a trail of blood. Presumably the body is that of Reznor, as it wears the same scarf that he is seen wearing throughout the video.
The video has aired on MTV2, but in a censored form. The screens with the woman at her mirror and the gay lovers have been replaced by a white screen bearing the seal of the US Bureau of Morality and the phrase "CENSORED FOR YOUR PROTECTION." This is not unlike the use of SCENE MISSING screens in the "Closer" video. Interestingly enough, the word "whore" and the screen depicting the girl using opal are left intact. Even the ending scenes of the pool of blood in the band's space and the body getting dragged off are retained.
Here is a video of the performance in Barcelona.
I should have listened to her So hard to keep control We kept on eating but our Bloated bellies still not full She gave us all she had but We went and took some more Can't seem to shut her legs our Mother Nature is a whore I got my propaganda I got revisionism I got my violence in high def ultra-realism All a part of this great nation I got my fist I got my plan I got survivalism Hypnotic sound of sirens Echoing through the street The cocking of the rifles The marching of the feet You see your world on fire Don't try to act surprised We did just what you told us Lost our faith along the way and found ourselves believing your lies I got my propaganda I got revisionism I got my violence in high def ultra-realism All a part of this great nation I got my fist I got my plan I got survivalism All bruised and broken, bleeding She asks to take my hand I turn and keep on walking What you'd do the same thing in the circumstance I'm sure you understand I got my propaganda I got revisionism I got my violence in high-def ultra-realism All a part of this great nation I got my fist I got my plan I got survivalism
However, the last lines of the third verse are changed to the following on the actual recording:
I turn just keep on walking What you'd do the same thing in the circumstance I'm sure you'll understand