"The Becoming" is the seventh track on the 1994 album The Downward Spiral.
In a 2004 interview for Alternative Press, Trent Reznor was asked about the use of the name Annie in this song.
This is the original album version. It begins in a 13/8 time signature with a manipulated piano line, then bursts into drum and sample loops of screams taken from the film Robot Joxx. The drum loop pattern is also nearly identical in "The Way Out Is Through." At the 3-minute mark, it mellows into an acoustic guitar-led passage in 6/8, with machine-like loops and synthesized chorus pads sampled from Reznor's voice. There is a final outburst of noise and screaming before returning to the acoustic section, which crossfades with the opening of "I Do Not Want This."
The Becoming (Instrumental)
Released by Reznor via his remix.nin.com account, this unmastered instrumental version is extended to six minutes in length, as it does not fade out the ending, rather looping the acoustic guitar riff many times until stopping.
The Becoming (Still)
This version appears on the Still CD, which was Disc 2 of the Deluxe Edition CD of And All That Could Have Been and is currently available through nin.com. Simpler in its instrumentation and without the sample loops, it transitions immediately from the end of "The Fragile" and ends suddenly after the final "noisy" section.
This song, played live frequently on the Dissonance Tour and relegated to rarity status until its brief return on the Performance 2007 Tour, was resurrected for the Wave Goodbye Tour, during which it was characterized by Robin Finck's use of an acoustic guitar throughout. However, the structure of the song stayed close to the album version, with distortion used on the acoustic guitar for the loud parts. These performances also dropped the Robot Joxx sample loop.
I beat my machine it's a part of me it's inside of me I'm stuck in this dream it's changing me I am becoming The me that you know had some second thoughts He's covered with scabs he is broken and sore The me that you know doesn't come around much That part of me isn’t here anymore All pain disappears it's the nature of my circuitry Drowns out all I hear no escape from this my new consciousness The me that you know used to have feelings But the blood has stopped pumping and he's left to decay The me that you know is now made up of wires And even when I'm right with you I'm so far away I can try to get away but I've strapped myself in I can try to scratch away the sound in my ears I can see it killing away all my bad parts I don't want to listen but it's all too clear Hiding backwards inside of me I feel so unafraid Annie, hold a little tighter I might just slip away It won't give up it wants me dead Goddamn this noise inside my head