Only (song)

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Album: With Teeth
Length: 4:22
Tempo: 112 BPM
Versions: Only
Only (Instrumental)
Only (Richard X Remix)
Only (El-P Remix)
Only (Richard X Dub)
Only (Richard X Edit)
Only (El-P Instrumental)
Only (Beside You In Time)
Live: With Teeth Fall Arena Tour through NIN 2013 Festival Tour
NIN 2014 Japan Tour through NIN + QOTSA Tour
NIN 2014 Europe/UK Tour through present

"Only" is the eighth track on the 2005 album With Teeth. It was released as a single in summer 2005, receiving the designation Halo 20. It is known for its upbeat and synthesizer-driven instrumentation, and casual lyric delivery, reminiscent of 1989's "Down In It." It was censored on radio, though it was obvious that the word "fucking" was being cut out. "Only" was the last song finished for With Teeth.[1] It was the second song that saw the release of its multitracks for fan remixes.

"Down In It"

"Only" contains a verse that is very similar to a verse in the song "Down In It." "Down In It": Just then a tiny little dot caught my eye it was just about too small to see/But I watched it way too long it was pulling me down "Only": Well the tiniest little dot caught my eye/And it turned out to be a scab/And I had this funny feeling/Like I just knew it's something bad

Song Credits






This is the original album version.

Only (Instrumental)

Released exclusively through Apple Music.

Only (Richard X Remix)

Coming soon

Song Credits

  • Remix and additional production: Richard X for
  • Mix: Pete Hofmann for Miloco Management

Only (El-P Remix)

The dance-oriented beat is gone, replaced by a heavier beat and finger-snap percussion.

Song Credits

  • Production: EL-P
  • Mix: Joey Raia, NASA

Only (Richard X Dub)

Coming soon

Only (Richard X Edit)

Coming soon

Only (El-P Instrumental)

Coming soon

Only (Beside You In Time)

This live version is found on the Beside You In Time DVD. It contains a guitar riff intro which also appears in the chorus, not featured on the album version.

Music Video

Screenshot from the "Only" video

The video for "Only" was directed by David Fincher and was largely created using advanced CGI by visual effects company Digital Domain. It features a desk with a laptop (A 17" Mac PowerBook), speakers, a cup of coffee, a Newton's cradle and a Pin Art desk toy being brought to life and animated by the music. The video starts with a hand pressing the space bar on the computer, which starts its music program (iTunes with the Visualizer turned on). The Newton's cradle begins to sway to the beat as ripples appear in a cup of coffee. Reznor appears in the Pin Art, singing the song. As it gets to the second verse, the songs builds and the vibrations get more intense. Reznor seems to almost break out of the Pin Art as the balls on the cradle sway almost uncontrollably. The ripples in the coffee also have greater frequency. The climax of the song dislodges the top-most apple in a nearby bowl, after which Reznor's impression walks off and the scene dies down. At the very end, a blurry image of a car can be seen driving away. The video was almost entirely computer-animated, with Reznor filmed live in front of a green screen and then mapped onto the Pin Art. It is reported that the only parts that were live-action were the hand at the very beginning (that of Fincher) and the bowl of apples at the end.


  • Director: David Fincher
  • Production Company: Anonymous Content
  • Agency: Interscope Records
  • Visual Effects: Digital Domain
    • Eric Barba
    • Lisa Beroud
    • Jay Barton
    • Jim Gaczkowski


Reznor on the songwriting

"It's about the business. When you get on this path of trying to sell records it becomes about selling more records and playing bigger venues. It's like,'I'm friends with Tom Morello but Audioslave are releasing something on the same day as us and I must destroy him'. It's like, 'Wait a minute!' The goal has to be about making the best music possible or else it becomes something that will make you implode. Although, I'd rather have money than not because I know what not having it is like and not being able to pay the gas bill sucks. I feel lucky that I can do this but I constantly have to remind myself what the goal is. Should I say yes to that Microsoft commercial because I could use a new house? Or do I say no because this is something precious that would be tarnished if I did that? I find myself saying this to record labels and business manager guys,and they're like, 'You won't do what because of what?' My feelings were hurt when I heard David Bowie's 'Heroes' on a fucking Microsoft commercial. It's like 'Why? Fuck!'"


    I'm becoming less defined
    As days go by
    Fading away
    (Well you might say)
    I'm losing focus
    Kind of drifting into the abstract
    In terms of how I see myself
    Sometimes I think I can see right through myself
    Less concerned about fitting into the world
    Your world, that is
    Because it doesn't really matter
    None of this really matters anymore
    Yes I am alone
    But then again I always was
    As far back as I can tell
    I think maybe it's because
    Because you were never real to begin with
    I just made you up
    To hurt myself
    And it worked
    Yes it did
    There is no you
    There is only me
    There is no fucking you
    There is only me
    [Pt. 2]
    Well the tiniest little dot caught my eye
    And it turned out to be a scab
    And I had this funny feeling
    Like I just knew it's something bad
    I just couldn't leave alone
    And I kept picking at that scab
    Like it was a doorway trying to seal itself shut
    But I climbed through
    And now I'm somewhere I am not supposed to be
    And I can see things I know I really shouldn't see
    Now I know why
    And now I know why
    Things aren't as pretty
    On the inside
    There is no fucking you
    There is only me

Additional lyrics were printed in the With Teeth PDF booklet, but do not feature in the song, and are only included in one of the multitrack sets:

    Is this really all there is?
    Is this really all there is?

External Links

Previous track - "With Teeth" Track 8 from With Teeth Next track - "Getting Smaller"