The Becoming

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"The Becoming"
Album: The Downward Spiral
Length: 5:31
Tempo: 150 BPM
Versions: The Becoming
The Becoming (Instrumental)
The Becoming (Still)
Live: Dissonance
Performance 2007
Wave Goodbye Tour
NIN 2014 Europe/UK Tour
Cold And Black And Infinite Tour

"The Becoming" is the seventh track on the 1994 album The Downward Spiral. A semi-acoustic version can be found on Still, which has an accompanying performance video released at the time on The bassline on this track was done with a prototype of the Oberheim OB-Mx synthesizer.[1]


In a 2004 interview for Alternative Press, Trent Reznor was asked about the use of the name Annie in this song.

"Oh, and 'Annie' was abstractly referring to a college sweetheart/ heartbreak situation that, at the time I was writing that song, was a valid source of emotional pain to draw from. Her real name is Andrea Mulrain, and her phone number is [number deleted for privacy purposes. -Patriot Act Ed.]"

—Reznor [2]

Song Credits





The Becoming

This is the original album version. It begins in a 13/8 time signature with a manipulated piano line, then bursts into drum and sample loops of screams taken from the film Robot Joxx. The drum loop pattern is also nearly identical in "The Way Out Is Through." At the 3-minute mark, it mellows into an acoustic guitar-led passage in 6/8, with machine-like loops and synthesized chorus pads sampled from Reznor's voice. There is a final outburst of noise and screaming before returning to the acoustic section, which crossfades with the opening of "I Do Not Want This."

The Becoming (Instrumental)

Running Time: 6:24

Released by Reznor via his account, this unmastered instrumental version is extended in length, as it does not fade out the ending, rather looping the acoustic guitar riff many times until stopping.

The Becoming (Still)

Running Time: 4:30

This version appears on the Still CD, which was Disc 2 of the Deluxe Edition CD of And All That Could Have Been and is currently available through Simpler in its instrumentation and without the sample loops, it transitions immediately from the end of "The Fragile" and ends suddenly after the final "noisy" section. Though he is absent from the credits, Danny Lohner is clearly seen performing in the video.

Song Credits

  • Performance: Trent Reznor, Jerome Dillon
  • Mix engineering: Alan Moulder
  • Engineering: Alan Moulder
  • Second Engineering: Leo Herrera
  • Programming: Keith Hillebrandt


This song, played live frequently on the Dissonance Tour and relegated to rarity status until its brief return on the Performance 2007 Tour, was resurrected for the Wave Goodbye Tour, during which it was characterized by Robin Finck's use of an acoustic guitar throughout. However, the structure of the song stayed close to the album version, with distortion used on the acoustic guitar for the loud parts. These performances also dropped the Robot Joxx sample loop.


    I beat my machine it's a part of me it's inside of me
    I'm stuck in this dream it's changing me I am becoming
    The me that you know had some second thoughts
    He's covered with scabs he is broken and sore
    The me that you know doesn't come around much
    That part of me isn’t here anymore
    All pain disappears it's the nature of my circuitry
    Drowns out all I hear no escape from this my new consciousness
    The me that you know used to have feelings
    But the blood has stopped pumping and he's left to decay
    The me that you know is now made up of wires
    And even when I'm right with you I'm so far away
    I can try to get away but I've strapped myself in
    I can try to scratch away the sound in my ears
    I can see it killing away all my bad parts
    I don't want to listen but it's all too clear
    Hiding backwards inside of me I feel so unafraid
    Annie, hold a little tighter I might just slip away
    It won't give up it wants me dead
    Goddamn this noise inside my head

External Links

Previous track - "Ruiner" Track 7 from The Downward Spiral Next track - "I Do Not Want This"
This page was last modified on 1 May 2019, at 19:10. This page has been accessed 151,114 times.