This is the original album version. Characterized by a simple drum machine loop and a low-octave piano melody backed by deep atmospheric synthesizers, the verses feature Reznor spitting out the vocals, soon joined by a distorted guitar melody. The repeated lyric, "It didn't turn out the way you wanted it to, did it?" builds into the chorus, where a new, quickly ascending guitar riff and a different drum patch and loop accompany the shouted vocals. New atmospheric loops join the re-entry of the verse motifs, which lead into a repetition of the chorus. The song's bridge consists of trading distorted guitar riffs above the verse drum patch and atmosphere, which give way to a simple melody. The chorus soon returns with a wah guitar solo on top, bring in the return of the chorus vocals, this time with Reznor interjecting between repetitions of "now, you know/this is what it feels like." After the final repetition, the verse atmospheres and drum loop return for a fading denouement and return of the bridge melody.
The vinyl edition of ''The Fragile'' has an extended ending, playing out much like it does live on ''And All That Could Have Been'': instead of the beat fading out under the melody as on the CD, it repeats four times and then stops, allowing the melody to repeat once more.