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The Savage Animal 3.12.14: Top 20 Nine Inch Nails Music Videos (#20-11)
Posted by Mikey MiGo on 03.12.2014

"Holidaze Weekend": The stupidest things get celebrated sometimes. St. Patrick's Day isn't a stupid thing at all, but let's face it. The people who celebrate it are a bit lame. I'm not talking about the person who casually wears their green shirt on St. Patrick's Day, had a customary meal, or takes advantage of the Shamrock shake availabilities. I'm talking about the "Pinch My I'm Irish" jerks. I'm talking about the people who get a little too excited about "green beer". I'm talking about the people who actually buy the St. Patrick's Day décor' sold on the end aisles of Walgreens and CVS. I'm talking about the people who need hobbies other than waiting for the next excuse to get stupidly wasted.

Isn't that what St. Patrick's Day has become? Another footstone of drunken "fun"? Let's put it in perspective… New Years to St. Patrick's Day to Cinco De Mayo to Fourth of July to Labor Day to Halloween and back to New Years. Despite having perfectly great reasons to celebrate and honor, these are the "party holidays" and it's a big cycle! I KNOW I'm missing some more holidays. That's not even including birthdays, cook outs and other gatherings. There are a whole set of "family holidays" that range from Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving or whatever your respected equivalents are. There is plenty of drinking on these holidays too, but it's a different kind. These cycles are pretty common in the calendar year. Kids even have what I call their "candy cycle" where it's Valentine's Day to Easter to Fourth of July(parades) to Halloween to Christmas and back to Valentine's Day. I'm all for celebrating and indulging. I just don't think we need to rely on some arbitrary date to have a reason to. Why not create your own milestones, traditions, and world? The way we're programmed, we just accept this for what it is. It's spread out juuuust right for everyone to have something to look forward to in the not too distant future. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.

Holidays or Holidaze?

Top 20 Nine Inch Nails Music Videos (20-11)
Let's just not talk about Broken, okay?

My exploration into my own personal fandom of Nine Inch Nails continues. It's my favorite band. Yours most likely is someone else, but that's fine. We all have our own "favorite band". For whatever reason, we just connect to one specific band or artist and enter into various levels of obsession. Some people get all crazy fan-girl on a band and some just have a casual "favorite". Regardless, it's interesting to really think of WHY a certain art is what you have connected with. What about it draws you personally to it? That's a pretty interesting area to explore, but maybe shouldn't be. The more I explore why I was so into Nine Inch Nails, the more I realize I might be less than enthralled as I once was. These series of columns are letting me to get to the nitty gritty of this situation.

Nine Inch Nails is known for many things, but the visual production has become a key aspect of the NIN experience. The concerts are incredible productions and the music videos are precise pieces of art. Today I'm going to take a look at my own personal top 20 nine inch nails music videos.

I'm going to break it up into two parts, so here's the first ten…

20. "Came Back Haunted"

Album: Hesitation Marks
Directed by: David Lynch
(2013) -
The most recent video as of writing made the cut. It's David Lynch so that's always good for some credibility. I've not had enough time with this video for it to fully engage my interests. The song is not my favorite from the album and the video is sorta hard to absorb. It's flashy and quick. There's jerky glimpses of Trent mixed in with tons of awesome David Lynch style shots. It's interesting as hell and there is TONS to take in. This is a video I hope to watch more and become more familiar with in the future. I know it's good and I know it'll go up this list with ease. I just need the time with it.

19. "The Hand That Feeds"

Album: With Teeth
Directed by: Rob Sheridan
(2005) -
This one is simple, but I still think it's cool. It's the band performing in a rehearsal space. There is a blueish tint and there is some digital gltiches to compliment the theme and subtle style of the album at the time. There is fast movements, interesting angles, and it keeps my attention throughout. I think it's a bit underrated because it's so simple and casual, but it's still worth mentioning. Good stuff.

18. "Burn"

Album: Natural Born Killers(soundtrack)
Directed by: Hank Corwin, Trent Reznor
(1994) -
The movie, "National Born Killers" is one of the coolest violent movies ever. It's glimpse at the celebration of celebrity is beautiful. It's not about the violence and actions, it's about the love between the two main characters and the love the media has for "big stories". The sad part is that it's just as true today as it was in the mid 90s. People are sick and crave more sickness. The song "Burn" reflects some of that. The video features Trent, dressed a bit like Micky, signing at the camera as projections go over him. It's just various shots of chaos and bad stuff. It's a good call back to the movie without being TOO specific. A lot of soundtrack songs with videos just use clips from the movie to fill in the gaps. Not this one.

17. "Deep"

Album: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (soundtrack)
Directed by: Enda McCallion
(2001) -
This video always confused me until I finally realized it was shot in reverse. Reznor robs a bank, hooks up with is girlfriend and goes on the run. They're being chased, the stolen money explodes with security ink, they crash, and Trent crawls out of the wreckage. She does not. Meanwhile a newscaster explains what's going on. It's a perfectly fine video. It's out of the normal NIN element which is why I think I appreciate it, but also why I think it's harder to latch onto.

16. "Hurt"

Album: The Downward Spiral
Directed by: Simon Maxwell
(1995) -
The video here is a live one. It's the band rocking out during the Downward Spiral era tour. They perform behind a HUGE curtain as a collage montage is projected over it. It's shots of decaying animals, violence, war, famine, and destruction. It's really cool and well done. Watching this on the old "Closure" VHS tapes was always a good, introspective time. For my liking, I appreciated the version of the song with Bowie that's leaked out somewhere. As a video front, I dug the more recent "Right Where It Belongs" video better. It's the same concept, just ten years later with better and more impactful imagery. I know "Hurt" is one of the band's most loved songs, but I just never got as hooked by as others. Don't get me wrong, I love the song, but it doesn't jab at the soul like the next song does.

15. "Something I Can Never Have"

Album: Still(live performance)
Directed by: Trent Reznor
(2001) -
I was tempted to not include this because it's not really an "official video". It's a live performance for a remix/release album that came out over ten years after the original release. During "The Fragile" era, Trent started stepping out and doing more stripped down performances. In this one, he sits at a piano and just opens up the wounds. He bellows the lyrics in a heart destroying way. I have trouble pin-pointing my favorite song, but more times than not I'll go with THIS one. It's just a heart breaking and honest song. Growing up an emotional broken and confused teenager, like 90% of the world, I was dealing with the world around me. I just connected with this song because I spent too long being miserable. You tend to get comfortable in the misery and start to look for the beauty in it. I think that's why I love this song. It's honest, but it's also a celebration of depression. There IS beauty in that. The song is great. The video is simple, well done, but simple.

14. "Sin"

Album: Pretty Hate Machine
Directed by: Brett Turnbull
(1990) -
This video is "naughty". For 1989, this video crosses the lines that most videos today would get attention for crossing. The video features women dancing together for a bit before getting into some serious kink and bondage fun. We see straps, lamps, gear, ball gags, harnesses, and tons of toys. This is all cut in with shots of two men getting frisky, a man and woman doing some kind of weird ritual, and tight shots of loose genitalia. It's worth noting, at least to me, that I was in kindergarten when this was released. Fun fact!

13. "Into the Void"

Album: The Fragile
Directed by: Walter Stern, Jeff Richter
(2000) -
I always thought this single should have been a bigger hit, but looking back to what were the big hits of 2000 makes it clear that it's merely too good for this world. The melody and beat are contagious because of the bounce to them, but the video is engaging because of its weird ulta-voyeuristic nature shots of the textures and detail of the humans, which are actually NIN. It's nothing too flashy because it's all in the presentation. The close-up shots are really interesting and the direction makes it enthralling. This video stands out mainly because of how unique it is. Not many could pull this off, but they do.

12. "Gave Up"

Album: Broken
Directed by: Jon Reiss
(1992) -
I love this song. I can't say I "relate" to it, but this song captures the feeling of despair and breaking down past despair and into a whole different level of primal pain that you just accept it and embrace the reality. It's not a "whoa is me" song at all, it's a "fuck this, fuck that, and fuck you because you can't hurt me anymore" battle call. The video seems so simple. It's Trent and boys, including a young Marilyn Manson, rocking out in a home studio. All innocent and well emoted, but once you dig deeper it takes on a new context. The house seen, recorded and lived in here is the famous "Tate House", where Charles Manson's followers murdered a famous actress. Creepy! Apparently, Trent kept the door that may or may not have had blood smeared on it. Eeek.

11. "Down in It"

Album: Pretty Hate Machine
Directed by: Eric Zimmerman, Benjamin Stokes
(1989) -
This is the FIRST Nine Inch Nails video. Trent runs crazily through downtown Chicago for a while and then climbs to the roof of a random building. He slips, falls, and dies. Layer on his bandmates end up finding his body. That's about in the terms of "story", but the direction and the cuts are pretty interesting. It feels "dated" because of what they were wearing, but it's not without its "Lost Boys" vibe charm. Trent's "Michael" hair is pretty amusing. The most interesting part of this was the backstory. Apparently one of the camera balloons used for the "Trent is dead" shots flew away. When it was recovered by a Michigan farmer the FBI got involved, thinking it was a snuff film. Crazy!

Next week we dig into my picks for the top ten music videos of Nine Inch Nails.

I'm sure you can think of a few obvious picks, but what will be number one?



Alan Rickman owns the world in this movie. He plays Hilly Kristal, the owner and founder of the famous rock club CBGBs. The movie follows his journey from being a struggling slacker businessman with a lot of dreams to trying to grasp the reality that he's actually living in one. He ends up buying a small dive bar and it becomes THE place to be in the 70s. I'm a huge fan of the mid to late 70's rock scene in New York. I love the Talking Heads, Iggy Pop, Blondie, the Ramones, Patti Smith, and all of the awesome bands that came through. In a wrestling comparison, it was like ECW of music. It was a place where a lot of crazy characters came together like the misfit toys from hell and for a period in time created magic. The music coming out of this place was raw, fresh, and magical. So when I discovered I could watch a movie depicting the roots of this venue I was all about it. Then to find out the lead is Alan Rickman is even better. He is almost comparable to "The Dude" from The Big Lebowski, but he's much more ambitious in his stubborn steering of the locomotive of life. Come award season he SHOULD be considered for this performance. He really stepped his game up and showed us a side of him that should come out more. He doesn't always have to be a big dominating figure, a buy guy, or a something strange. He CAN be a normal person and he can do it damn well. The rest of the cast is nothing at all to sleep on. Ashley Greene plays the owner's daughter, Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under, represent!) plays an awesome homeless guy, Ryan Hurst puts on the biker gear again as a leader of a local biker gang, Taylor Hawkins of the band Foo Fighters plays Iggy Pop, Malin Akerman plays Debbie Harry, and Donal Logue plays Merv Ferguson, Hilly's right hand man and voice of reason. The cast list doesn't end there. This movie has tons of awesome people playing even awesomer (new word!) people. If you love music, love a good bio picture of an everyday dude, love New York rock and roll, or just a damn fun movie then watch this. I plan to watch it again in the near future. Don't let me watch it twice before you even watch it once. C'mon, man! Get with it! See this movie! B+

"Worst Case Scenario" is a new take on the concept of "fantasy booking". For years professional wrestling fans would spend endless hours of thinking up the coolest things that could happen. Why waste the energy? This only leads to high expectations. "Worst Case Scenario" flips that. Instead of looking through rose colored glasses, let's take a bi-weekly look at the worst possible scenarios in professional wrestling. I'm not going to be malicious or anything too mean, but I will not refrain from letting my brain come up with the worst possible shit I can. Sadly, it seems the writers and producers of mainstream TV wrestling and the mainstream iPPV level indies are doing the same thing but charging us for it. And now…

" A WWE Theme Park!"

The WWE has everything now. It has a publically traded stock, many television programs, a network, tons of tour dates around the world, and is pretty much the monopoly of professional wrestling branded entertainment. Over the years the product has been aimed more towards children and a very young demographic. For better or for worse, this is the decision the company continues to stick by while edgier content goes on around them. For the WWE in this day and are, it's all for the kids.

Kids LOVE theme parks!

So naturally the WWE would have to develop it's only Disneyland/Six Flags bastardized play town, "THE WWE UNIVERSE". Yeah, it's close to "Universal Studios", but the WWE just calling their park "THE WWE THEME PARK" or "WWELAND" would be stupid. Yep. THAT is where I draw the line.

The WWE Universe would be GREAT.

To stick true to the PG theme, the roller coasters would not exceed the speed of a brisk walk. There will be nothing of risk or danger involved with these WWE branded roller coasters.

It doesn't end there. Imagine the characters in costumes walking around to greet the fans. Big cartoon versions of John Cena, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Sheamus, and Diesel all stroll around and wave, but never EVER have the time to stop and take a picture or sign an autograph unless there is a video camera or media member around.

The WWE Universe would be able to VOTE for things because you know, the "WWE is interactive"! Park patrons can text and vote for what flavor of WWE Superstar flavored water is the BEST! What official T-shirt is the coolest?! It would basically be a focus group where the focus is duped into providing the company with the exact data they need to satisfy the fan base and make more money.

The WWE would put this in the same location as a training facility because it would allow them to use their trainees as park workers.

A weekly television show would be filmed at the WWE Universe every week. It would be called "TNA Impact." I'll let YOUR imagine run wild on that one.

It's ALL there! The hit and miss excitement of a 2 hour experience has now been extended to a three hour chore extravaganza.

Bring your children!

If you hate them.

"Need For Speed"

Aaron Paul is getting a shot to run with the ball in a movie that seems perfect for him. He's been great on "Breaking Bad", but I like to think he has plenty of potential to do more. This movie won't get him any crazy awards, but people will watch it and hopefully like it. He's playing a video game character-based movie. He's just out of jail and signs up for a cross-country race where people are trying to kill him. The cast is cool. Michael Keaton is on board which gives it a lot more credibility off the bad, but then the rest of the cast is pretty interesting. Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, Kid Cudi, Rami Malek, and others all round out the actors. This could be a fun movie. It already sounds cooler than Fast and Furious, but could also become a franchise like that. I'm interested to see how this is received.

That's all for now! Next week we wrap up the NIN video discussion with my picks for the "top ten". It's got the run of the mill picks as well as a few fanboy favorites. I don't care if you agree as long as you discuss and absorb the topic. After that I finish this series of Nine Inch Nail columns with a personal introspective examining my own connection to my favorite band. Either it'll be really deep and relatable or you'll have to wait another week for me to get back into a more topical groove. I have some loose ideas for the next few columns like a look at the band St. Vincent, I'm going to watch and judge some more videos, and I'll probably get weird about a few things. You know, the same ol' same ol'. Until next time… Have a Great Week!


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