The Great Below

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"The Great Below"
Album: The Fragile (Left)
Length: 5:17
Tempo: 92 BPM
Versions: The Great Below
The Great Below (Instrumental)
The Great Below (And All That Could Have Been)
Live: Fragility

"The Great Below" is the twelfth and final track on the Left disc of The Fragile.

Song Credits






The Great Below

This is the original album version. A single synthesizer layer fades in from the end of "La Mer," ascending in pitch until it is joined by a deep bass melody, doubled by synthesizers and providing accompaniment for an acoustic guitar melody. These synthesizers and the bassline stop for Trent Reznor's softly-sung vocals, still accompanied by the guitar melody and joined with new, sea-like atmospheric loops. The lyric, "all of this for you," occasions the re-entry of the synthesized bassline and atmosphere layers, which build as the second verse is sung with harmony. These eventually open up to the climax, featuring a driving bassline and layers of wordless vocal melodies shared with "And All That Could have Been," and Reznor's yelled lyrics, which connect the climax into the coda section. Beginning with a new guitar melody, atmosphere layers cycle in as a drum pattern enters and Reznor sings the final lyrics. The drums eventually give way to the fading repetition of atmosphere loops. The song's vinyl mix has a slightly different crossfade with "La Mer."

The Great Below (Instrumental)

Running Time: 5:25

Released exclusively through Apple Music as part of The Fragile Instrumental and later on The Fragile: Deviations 1. It retains the mix and arrangement used on the album, but with the full intro, as it does not crossfade from the end of "La Mer."

The Great Below (And All That Could Have Been)

This live version is performed a 1/2-step lower than the album version.


The live performance of "The Great Below" in And All That Could Have Been features Reznor performing the song in front of three large visuals from Bill Viola that initially display an ocean shore and then a figure walking through a field of poppies, culminating in images of water and the sea. The images change as the song progresses.

"The Great Below" has not been played since 2000. It was featured on the setlist for the final show of the Wave Goodbye Tour, but was ultimately not performed.


    Staring at the sea
    Will she come?
    Is there hope for me
    After all is said and done
    Anything at any price
    All of this for you
    All the spoils of a wasted life
    All of this for you
    All the world has closed her eyes
    Tired faith all worn and thin
    For all we could have done
    And all that could have been
    Ocean pulls me close
    And whispers in my ear
    The destiny I've chose
    All becoming clear
    The currents have their say
    The time is drawing near
    Washes me away
    Makes me disappear
    I descend from grace
    In arms of undertow
    I will take my place
    In the great below
    I can still feel you
    Even so far away
Previous track - "La Mer" Track 12 from The Fragile Left (CD), Side C (Vinyl) Next track - "The Way Out Is Through"