2013 is going to be a big year for Nine Inch Nails and their fans. Already we've seen the giant awaken with the announcement of a new tour, a new touring line-up (which has been in and out of chaos ever since), a new album titled Hesitation Marks, and the release of a new single, "Came Back Haunted," which sounds as though they never left.
I'm sure fans are digging out the back catalogue as we speak. However, how many fans do you think are reaching for Things Falling Apart or Fixed? As big a part as remix albums have played in the Nine Inch Nails discography, their legacy has only grown more embarrassing with time.
The truth is, they released four remix records and not one of them truly holds up. That being said, I tasked myself with sifting through the sands to find five good remixes that came of those releases and, aside from it being a daunting task, I did find some gems.
5. "Closer (Precursor)" The CD single for "Closer" was titled Closer to God and featured a number of remixes of the lead track, including this one by Coil and Danny Hyde. Coil is well known for remixing NIN songs, even releasing a whole album of his unused mixes called Nine Inch Nails Uncoiled.
This one was picked because it takes everything that was creepy about the original atmosphere of the NIN hit and makes it into something that is a little bit scary in its intensity. Eventually it turns into an evil club version of the song; something to be played at a rave for vampires. It's everything that was great about '90s remix culture in one track.
4. "Fist Fuck" If Coil's version of "Closer" brought out the scary intensity of that song, JG Thirlwell's remix of "Wish," renamed simply "Fist Fuck," does that times a thousand to one of NIN's most abrasive hits.
This version goes through five minutes of the original's savage drum beat, turning into a droning drug trip complete with vocal samples that find their source with Timothy Leary, before finally giving way to the song's brutal, distorted guitars, which are then also looped and cut up to fuck with your head. It, along with the rest of Fixed, is one of the most difficult remixes in the NIN catalogue but there's something amazing about it regardless.
3. "Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)" Rick Rubin's remix of "Piggy" off of Further Down the Spiral was popular enough with Reznor that it ended up becoming the de facto live version of "Piggy" on the band's 2009 tour. It also features Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro on guitar.
It's successful because it gives some energy to what was original a dirge-like ballad. Though the original was great for listening in bed while wanting to kill yourself, that wouldn't go over all that well live. The remix allowed the band to rock the song out live without having to write whole new parts for it.
2. "Gunshots by Computer" The opener of Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D, Saul Williams doesn't so much remix "Hyperpower!," the original opener to NIN's Year Zero, as he does transform it into a Saul Williams song. "Hyperpower!" becomes a beat for Williams' new rap and chorus.
Williams and Thavius Beck also collaborated to remix NIN's "Survivalism," which Williams originally contributed backing vocals to as well. In another version, the "Opalheartclinic_Niggytardust" remix of the song, Williams lays down new verses on top of the original remix the song. All three are must hears for fans of NIN and Williams
1. "The Frail (Version)" Originally simply a short instrumental intro for "The Wretched" on The Fragile, "The Frail" was pretty but insubstantial. For Things Falling Apart, it is remixed into an apocalyptic soundtrack, complete with strings.
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The remix is credited to "Benelli," who apparently may have been Trent Reznor himself under a pseudonym. Whoever it is, he completely reworked "The Frail" into something amazing; it is at the same time organic and robotic, sounding all at once like technology colliding with orchestral acoustic instruments. In this context, "The Frail" is no longer an intro for another song. Instead, it stands all on its own.