And All That Could Have Been (song)
"And All That Could Have Been" is the seventh track on Still. The song may be an outtake from The Fragile, much like "The Great Collapse" from Things Falling Apart. It may be one of NIN's most complex songs regarding time signature, as the verses are in 7/4, the choruses in 4/4, and part of the bridge in 6/8.
The song features guitar distortion and the layering of multiple guitar effects often found in songs of the "shoegaze" subgenre—bands such as My Bloody Valentine (with whom NIN's usual mixer, Alan Moulder, worked) and The Jesus and Mary Chain (with whom NIN toured in 1990 and 2018). The guitars are also sometimes reminiscent of Disintegration-era The Cure, as heard on tracks such as "The Same Deep Water As You" and "Last Dance".
- Written by: Trent Reznor, Danny Lohner
- Performance: Trent Reznor, Danny Lohner
- Mix Engineering: Dave "Rave" Ogilvie
- Engineering: Alan Moulder, Dave "Rave" Ogilvie
- Programming: Keith Hillebrandt
- And All That Could Have Been (Deluxe Edition)
And All That Could Have Been
This is the only available version. Softly falling rain, continued from the end of "The Day the World Went Away," begins the song, soon joined by quiet atmospheric synthesizers playing sustained, ascending notes. These lead into the first verse, a still-quiet 7/4 combination of soft electric guitars and Reznor's melodic vocals. The verse gives way to a quiet, instrumental bridge where bass guitar and piano join in, playing the melody and chord sequence from the climax of "The Great Below" in 4/4. A second verse, again in 7/4, interrupts this bridge with a return to the verse guitars, vocals, and icy percussion loops. After reaching into his higher vocal range for the second half of this verse, Reznor sings the 4/4 chorus in a lower, more up-front and talkative voice, backed by a new guitar riff, picked bass, and drum loops focal on the toms. A second bridge follows, introduced by a solitary delayed electric guitar riff, then louder layers of strumming guitar and bass with a new lead melody in 6/8, then a return to the 7/4 verse guitar riff atmospheres, during which Reznor quietly sings sparse words, building in volume and emotion until the words "... could have been" lead into an instrumental reiteration of the chorus. After singing a different incarnation of the chorus, Reznor's vocals give way to a higher-register return of the melody from the very first 4/4 bridge of the song beneath the chorus, with all instruments stopping at the end of the final bar, leaving a distant echo that quickly fades away.
"And All That Could Have Been" was not played live for sixteen years after its release, though during that time Justin Meldal-Johnsen confirmed via Twitter that it had been rehearsed for the Wave Goodbye Tour.
On October 26, 2018, the song finally made its live debut.
Breeze still carries the sound Maybe I'll disappear Tracks will fade in the snow You won't find me here Ice is starting to form Ending what had begun I am locked in my head With what I've done I know you tried to rescue me Didn't let anyone get in Left with a trace of all that was And all that could have been Please Take this And run far away Far away from me I am Tainted The two of us Were never meant to be All these Pieces And promises and left behinds If only I could see In my Nothing You meant everything Everything to me Gone fading everything And all that could have been Please Take this And run far away Far as you can see I am Tainted And happiness and peace of mind Were never meant for me All these Pieces And promises and left behinds If only I could see In my Nothing You meant everything Everything to me