The Great Collapse
"The Great Collapse" is the second track on the 2000 release Things Falling Apart, which is the remix album complementing 1999's The Fragile. Like "A Violet Fluid" on 1994's March Of The Pigs, this track has mistakenly been called a remix when in fact it's an original composition. In this case it has been alleged to be a remix of "The Wretched", when in fact all they have in common is a repeated lyric. It was initially recorded for The Fragile but didn't make it onto the album, information released by Reznor via the Things Falling Apart promotional website (no longer active).
The vocals appear to be altered to sound female, as a video released during the era on nin.com shows Reznor recording the same vocals, with the beat from this song audibly present in the background. As well, there is no album credit for additional vocals. However, in an online chat for SPIN in 2000, a fan asked if there was a female singer on the track and Reznor stated that, "It's not me. So, yes there is. Let's leave it at that. Check your Fragile credits. It's the same person." This could be referring to either Denise Milfort or Kim Prevost.
The Great Collapse
This is the only available version of the song. Segueing directly from the loud ending of "Slipping Away," it begins quietly with layers of synthesizer loops and a piano theme. This builds into the main body of the song, a percussion-driven pulse accompanied by synthesized wah bass, mediated by a secondary section of a different beat with loops of strings that fade in. Returning to the initial beat-heavy section, it features additional delayed synthesizer hits. Upon a return to the second section, the repetitive vocals enter, first quietly whispered by an apparently female voice, then joined by Reznor's distorted yells, which end the track and segue directly into "The Wretched (Version)."
"The Great Collapse" has never been played live.
Although there are no official lyrics to the song, two lines are repeated toward the end of the composition:
Now you know This is what it feels like