Nine Inch Nails

The Day the World Went Away

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Well over five years since his last full-fledged album, and over two years since his last single, by 1999, fans and followers of Trent Reznor were ravenous for new material. Peculiar then, after such a hiatus, that Reznor would release this unfairly slight teaser three months before the debut of the double album The Fragile. "The Day the World Went Away" is a sprawling, go nowhere song, unfortunately full of the same dime-store nihilism Reznor should have abandoned a few years ago. Thankfully, the "Quiet" mix shifts emphasis from the lyrics and guitars to the meticulously crafted harmonies and sonic atmospherics. Sandwiched between the two versions of the title track is the caustic "Starfuckers, Inc.," a raging slab of glam metal which attempts -- and succeeds -- in beating Marilyn Manson at his own game. It's a much more fitting single choice than "The Day the World Went Away," and appears here with a slightly different ending from the album version. A short sound clip from a KISS show captures the bombast of Manson and even Nine Inch Nails' material to self-parodying effect. It's a subtle and very rare glimpse of Reznor's badly under-explored sense of humor.

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