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Reznor commented on the change of direction for the album, stating that "About five or six songs into writing it, the songs started to sound good on their own and they didn't need this framework to work together,” and that ''With Teeth'' consists of "a collection of songs that are friends with each other, but don't have to rely on each other to make sense", however, the album's narrative arc describes "a difficult journey that begins with a nightmare and ends with acceptance of a new reality.”[]
In an [ interview] in February 2004 Reznor stated that the new material was “more song-oriented (than ''[[The Fragile (halo)|The Fragile]]''). It's much more lean. It's going to be twelve good punches in the face -- no fillers, no instrumentals, just straight to the point…It's a complicated concept record, but reduced to just simple songs. It's not epic in its scope. It's minimal and a bit brutal." The album's final title may be a reference to a song of the same name by [[Related bands and artists#The Melvins|The Melvins]], as Reznor is a fan.
According to a statement on, Reznor stated that producer [[wp:Rick Rubin|Rick Rubin]] was Reznor's "mentor" and "source of inspiration" throughout the planning and writing process of the album. Reznor was also heavily inspired by the use of more analog electronic effects and instruments, specifically tape delay and modular synthesizers, stating that "computers, among other things, are ruining music these days. I hate the Pro Tooled sound of perfection and everything being 'fixed.' This record is most definitely 'un-fixed."