The Downward Spiral (song)

From nine inch nails wiki

Jump to: navigation, search
"The Downward Spiral"
Album: The Downward Spiral
Length: 3:57
Tempo: 100 BPM
Versions: The Downward Spiral
The Downward Spiral (Instrumental)
The Downward Spiral (The Bottom)
The Downward Spiral (A Gilded Sickness)
Live: Further Down The Spiral Tour
Wave Goodbye Tour

"The Downward Spiral", thirteenth track on the eponymous album, is often seen as the final part of the story, in which the main character commits suicide with a gun. The introduction of the song contains a chromatic melody very reminiscent of the ending of "Closer" but in E Major rather than C Major.

Song Credits






The Downward Spiral

This album version incorporates drones and the sound of flies surrounding a single acoustic guitar layered on top, playing the "Downward Spiral Motif." It also gains a repetitive two-note melody played on Mellotron. The music then moves into a second section and begins to build up, culminating in a third section with sounds of Reznor screaming in desperation, surrounded by thunderous drums, guitar and synthesizer playing the motif, all equalized and manipulated so as to sound distant and less powerful. Reznor recites the lyrics quietly on top. Finally, the song abruptly ends with an elongated cymbal crash and the sound of white noise, which segues into "Hurt". On the 5.1 surround sound version, the loud rock ending plays in the back speakers, leaving the front two to play the motif, and the center channel for Reznor's vocals. This song marks the final appearance of the motif on the album, played as follows:
The Motif found in "The Downward Spiral."

A reversed version of the track is hidden on side B of the Not The Actual Events vinyl.

The Downward Spiral (Instrumental)

Released by Reznor via his account, this unmastered instrumental version is identical to the studio version, save the lack of vocals and transitions to and from other songs.

The Downward Spiral (The Bottom)

Running Time: 7:28

This remix contains a percolating minor-key melody that incorporates the guitar part of the original album version. It can be found on Further Down The Spiral and the 2-disc Deluxe Edition of The Downward Spiral.

Song Credits

The Downward Spiral (A Gilded Sickness)

Running Time: 7:59

Released on the semi-official Recoiled EP. A variation on Coil's "The Bottom" mix.


"The Downward Spiral" made its live debut on August 27, 1994. When performed on the Self Destruct Tour, the projection screen would show remain black until the rock section, when streams of blood would slowly descend from the top. Once the screen was completely red, the curtain would rise, revealing the band performing the song. The vocals are absent from live performances, making it an instrumental lead-in, often to "Wish." On the Wave Goodbye Tour, the song returned to the live set, this time with Reznor performing the acoustic guitar motif on keyboards. On the NIN 2014 Europe/UK Tour, a pre-recorded version of the song was used as a show intro, combined with "The New Flesh".


    He couldn't believe how easy it was
    He put the gun into his face
    (So much blood for such a tiny little hole)
    Problems have solutions
    A lifetime of fucking things up fixed in one determined flash
    Everything's blue
    In this world
    The deepest shade of mushroom blue
    All fuzzy
    Spilling out of my head

The fifth line was changed on the final album cut:

    Problems do have solutions, you know

The seventh line is repeated twice:

    Everything's blue...
    Everything's blue in this world

External Links

"The Downward Spiral" live in Toronto, ON 1994/12/01

Previous track - "Reptile" Track 13 from The Downward Spiral Next track - "Hurt"
This page was last modified on 20 December 2019, at 20:24. This page has been accessed 130,904 times.