In an [http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/5937146/nine_inch_nails_let_it_bleed/ 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 nin.com, 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."