The Way Out Is Through
"The Way Out Is Through" is the first track on the Right disc of The Fragile. It is one of the more abstract and non-traditional songs on the album, with its structure based around a drawn-out crescendo. It was featured in a teaser trailer for the album, with Trent Reznor singing part of the chorus a cappella. It is often confused with "Underneath It All" due to the bold verse line.
In an interview published in VIVA 2 Magazine, Reznor revealed the source of its title: "The way that I couldn't cope with [the death of his grandmother] was by not addressing it or having the courage to write anything. And it took that realization to turn it around and by writing about it and expressing, I felt better about it, I felt like I could see through it. The way out is through. That's where the song title came from because I thought that the way out was skirting the issue and walking on the curb."
Its working title as revealed by a picture of its tracking sheet on nin.com was "Anomaly."
On October 15, 2010, Alan Moulder answered a question about the filtering introduction to this song on the PSW Recording Forums:
The Way Out Is Through
The song begins quietly in 6/8 with percussion and layered ambient sounds and Reznor whispering the first two lines over and over. This gives way to the building of the crescendo, as new drums enter and synthesizers play one of the prominent melodies of the song, all equalized to sound as if underwater. The drum programming here is very similar in pattern to that of "The Becoming." The melody crossfades with another, this one played on guitar, and tone of the song shifts, becoming darker as the song gradually builds to its climax: a simple, drum-driven rhythm matched by distorted guitars and synthesizers. Reznor enters to yell out the chorus, ending the song's climax. It is followed by a denouement featuring the same melody from before the chorus and Reznor's whispering, this time with chromatic piano improvisation over top. The end of the song segues quietly to "Into The Void."
The Way Out Is Through (Alternate Version)
Released on The Fragile: Deviations 1. Also known as "The Way Out Is Through" (Instrumental) when it was originally released on Apple Music as part of The Fragile Instrumental.
During the Fragility v1.0 tour, the song was played behind a large curtain onto which images were projected, sung in a lower key and its climax marked both the end of the song and of the "slow section" of the concerts, with the curtain rising and leading into "Wish."
All I've undergone I will keep on Underneath it all We feel so small The heavens fall But still we crawl All I've undergone I will keep on