Closer To God
Closer (Further Away)
Closer (Beside You In Time)
Closer is the fifth track on the 1994 release The Downward Spiral. It begins with an electronic beat that is reminiscent of a heartbeat for eight bars. A keyboard pattern and sixteenth-note beat join in along with the vocals. Layers are continuously added before dropping out at the end, leaving a simple chromatic piano melody to end the song.
"Closer" is perhaps the most well-known song from Nine Inch Nails, maybe more so for its video. The subject matter is clearly about sex, but it's not just sex. Instead it's a feeling of worthlessness and trying to quell that feeling through sex. The song was at the number 2 position on AOL's "69 Sexiest Songs of All Time," mostly due to the frankness of the chorus of "I want to fuck you like an animal/I want to feel you from the inside."
- The Downward Spiral (1994)
- Closer To God (1994)
- Closure (Music video; 1997)
- And All That Could Have Been (CD/VHS/DVD; 2002)
- Beside You In Time (2007)
This is the original album version, found on both The Downward Spiral and Closer To God. The version on Closer to God, however, does not segue into Ruiner, instead allowing the final piano note to ring out and playing the background noise for a few more seconds.
Closer To God
This is a major reworking of "Closer," and is quite different in sound and structure. The vocals were re-recorded to fit the sound of this song. The only differences in the vocals are that the words appear to be sung slower that the original and "Help me tear down my reason, help me it's your sex I can smell/help me you make me perfect, help me become somebody else" is changed to "You tear down all my reason, you see through what I hide/You make me perfect, help me get inside." Likewise, the chorus is no longer "I want to fuck you like an animal/I want to feel you from the inside," it is "I want to fuck you/I want to taste you/I want to feel you/I want to be you/Just like an animal."
"Closer To God" is one of the only remixes that has been performed live.
This remix was featured in the opening credits for the David Fincher film, Se7en.
This is one of the less reworked remixes of "Closer." It adds an interesting loop in the background the consists of what appears to be a bass guitar and a whistle-esque drone. At the end it repeats the two lines "Help me get away from myself" and "You get me closer to God."
Closer (Further Away)
Closer (Beside You In Time)
On this live version, the instrumental breakdown of "The Only Time" is incorporated into the song's breakdown. The interlude lyrics are sung in a manner different from past tours. The final outro is much shorter than on the album version and is close to the music video edit in terms of length.
in April 1994, a video for "Closer" was filmed. It was directed by Mark Romanek, who also directed "The Perfect Drug" in 1997 and Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt" in 2003. The concept to the video is that it's an old stag reel recently uncovered. The aesthetic, atmosphere, and images in the video were inspired by the works of Man Ray, Francis Bacon, and, most notably, Joel-Peter Witkin. It was filmed using three-color film and hand-cranked cameras, to make it look much older. Additionally, there were more modern devices included in the video, such as a television.
Romanek has said that Reznor was pretty much tortured throughout the shoot, yet he never once complained. Reznor seemed to know that what they were making would be phenomenal and would push the proverbial envelope of the music video format.
Initially, there was a plan to film two versions of the video: an uncensored director's cut, and an edited version for MTV. This idea would save money on editing because of the costs of editing the film that was used. Reznor objected to shooting a censored version, stating that he didn't care whether or not MTV would show the video. MTV would show the video, but not before edits were made. The network censors objected to imagery they felt was blasphemous (a crucified monkey and a crucifix on a nude woman's mask), too risqué (Reznor gagged in front of a wall covered with sado-masochistic paraphernalia and writhing from a chain while blindfolded), or too overtly sexual in nature (the nude woman and a diagram of a vulva). Ultimately, the video was edited for MTV, with offending images either blurred or blacked out, zoomed in to avoid objectionable content, or replaced by a screen reading SCENE MISSING. Some innuendo did make it past the censors, such as the shape of the microphone in some scenes, and what the hanging beef carcass appeared to resemble in addition to wings. Despite the heavy editing on MTV, "Closer" would go on to become one of the network's most popular videos in 1994 and 1995. The uncensored director's cut can be seen on the Closure video.
Since then, "Closer" had been included on many Greatest-Video lists. In 2006, it was voted the greatest video on VH1 Classics' "20 Greatest Music Videos of All Time."
"Closer" had been regularly performed live since 1994. For the Live: With Teeth tour, the instrumental breakdown of "The Only Time" was incorporated into "Closer's" breakdown.
Also, the second to last line of the song has been sung as "I am the honey inside your hive" instead of "I drink the honey inside your hive." An example of this can be seen on Beside You In Time.
You let me violate you, you let me desecrate you You let me penetrate you, you let me complicate you Help me I broke apart my insides, help me I’ve got no soul to sell Help me the only thing that works for me, help me get away from myself I want to fuck you like an animal I want to feel you from the inside I want to fuck you like an animal My whole existence is flawed You get me closer to God You can have my isolation, you can have the hate that it brings You can have my absence of faith, you can have my everything Help me tear down my reason, help me it’s your sex I can smell Help me you make me perfect, help me become somebody else I want to fuck you like an animal I want to feel you from the inside I want to fuck you like an animal My whole existence is flawed You get me closer to God Through every forest, above the trees Within my stomach, scraped off my knees I drink the honey inside your hive You are the reason I stay alive