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 411mania » Music » Columns

The Savage Animal 3.19.14: Top 20 Nine Inch Nails Music Videos (#10-1)
Posted by Mikey MiGo on 03.19.2014

"Spring!!!": It's spring, or at least pretty much. March 21st is the first day of Spring. I don't know why. I'm sure there is a perfectly logical reason involving old farmers work schedules and old pagan traditions. Isn't that the basis of all holidays?

The idea because spring is cool. It's the season between the cold ass winter and the hot ass summer. It's light jacket weather on cooler days and shorts on other days. It's that nice middle period that reminds everyone to start getting obnoxious and crazy heading into the summer. After spending months cooped up and away from the world because of the winter hell, people are pent up. The release? Spring!

People love to celebrate spring break but if you're no spring chicken and your weather parents can't spring for the tab you might want to stay home and get your spring cleaning done.

MTV used to have awesome "Spring Break" weekends with random silliness that would pretty much become the visual poopstain that was Jersey Shore. Think about it. These shows did have some good music performances so that's something.

It's just all so "notable". Would the season not happen if the groundhog didn't see his shadow? How does all of this tie in? There's Easter, March Madness, and Wrestlemania. How the hell do we have time for "spring"?

I'm not going to be "that guy" and talk bad about "spring" for no reason. I like spring. If you ask me, we should cancel February (sorry BlackHistory Month, but you can have ANY other month you want) and just go New Years, sleep it off, and then bam! Spring and St. Patty's Day!

Pretty much, what I'm trying to get to, is that I'm tired of snow and the weather this year. Spring is here in name only. I'm tired of snowplows not existing in my local city. I'm tired of icey roads making everyone drive like twats. I'm worn the hell out from all the social media updates about the same freaking weather outside of everyone's window.

Before we know it, it'll be summer.

Top 20 Nine Inch Nails Music Videos (10-1)
Do I include that "F- you like an animal song?!"?

I'm still digging into my Nine Inch Nails collection. Nine Inch Nails has been my favorite band for since junior high. Times have changed and sometimes you just grow apart. People get divorced all the time, but can someone "divorce their favorite band"? It's silly as hell to say, but for a diehard music fan this is something that's real. You connect and develop a passion for the music. It's just part of your daily life. Some people become Juggalos or Deadheads and some people casually hit up a concert or two every year. The connection is what matters. I'm trying to figure out my connection with NIN in 2014, if anymore.

This is month long process. Last week I shared the first half of my top 20 music video of Nine Inch Nails. It was a fun look in and was pretty damn enjoyable.

To catch yourself up on the tail end of this beast click here:
Top 20 Nine Inch Nails Music Videos (20-11)

Now we look at my picks for the Top 10. Some are obvious, some are personal choice. It's all subjective and there's no "right answer". Still, I think my answers are probably just a little more "righter". Okay, maybe not.

Sorry. Here's the top ten…

10. "Happiness in Slavery"

Album: Broken
Directed by: Jon Reiss
(1992) -
This video is demented. It's creepy, it's uncomfortable, and it's torture porn in the classiest way. The narrative of the story is watching a man take sick pleasure in being destroyed by this heinous machine. Meanwhile, Trent Reznor screams the lyrics at us from a confessional. It cuts to meat products being grinded and random sick imagery just to make sure your pulse hasn't calmed down. It's just an overwhelming dose of "eww". It's very well done. It doesn't tug at emotions and reaction, it yanks them. The black and white, the acting of the lead, and the aggression of the song really makes this work. Not surprising to anyone, this movie was pretty much universally banned because of the subject matter. Damn, I could have sworn I saw this on TRL…

9. "Only"

Album: With Teeth
Directed by: David Fincher
(2005) -
It's just a MAC computer, a cup of coffee, and a pretty standard "office/desk" situation. Trent starts to appear in the Pin Art next to the computer. For years you'd go into a store like Spencer's or a random toy store and press your middle finger through the pins to see a weird robo-metallic representation on the other side. It's mostly CGI effects done by a visual effects company, but iconic director David Fincher created a four minute short masterpiece here. It doesn't seem like much, but it's got to be one of the most creative videos to come to mind.

8. "Survivalism"

Album: Year Zero
Directed by: Alex Lieu, Rob Sheridan, Trent Reznor
(2007) -
This is easily the best Nine Inch Nails video to come out in this millennium. This video was released as part of the whole "Year Zero" interactive release game. It gave us hidden websites, songs on USB drives, and a whole fake futuristic world. Being a Terminator fan, I really took to it. It was probably the last pure "fun" I had with Nine Inch Nails. I was genuinely excited and caught up in the game. When this video hit I thought it was the greatest thing ever. It's a wall of surveillance screens that are monitoring people inside of an apartment complex. It's just people doing normal private things like watching TV, eating, getting frisky, and all the normal and expected fare. Meanwhile we start to catch shots of "rebels" spray painting anti-establishment logos on things. Eventually the camera see the band rocking out in a warehouse type of setting. The end sees the band attacked by a policing unit. It's a sleek video that captures the paranoid vibe of the album and atmosphere Trent and Rob were creating at this point in time.

7. "We're in This Together"

Album: The Fragile
Directed by: Mark Pellington
(1999) -
This video rocks. I still remember it debuting on TRL back in the day. It was a really exciting moment for my teenage brain. The video is all black and white and features Trent running, desperately, trying to get away from something. He runs through desolate and abandoned locations until it's revealed that it's an army of Trent's running through. Then the song ends as we reveal everyone is gone but Trent. It's a really perfect narrative for the song. It always left a weird hollow and unsettled vibe when I watched it all the way through. The decaying noise of the fade out at the end on top of Trent's reality setting in always hit home for some reason. If a video can effect someone THAT much, it's worthy of a high placing on any list.

6."Head Like a Hole"

Album: Pretty Hate Machine
Directed by: Eric Zimmerman
(1990) -
For a big part of my late teens I had a poster of a dred-locked screaming Trent Reznor from this video next to my computer. This video is a little hokey and is pretty dated if you really think about it. The band rocks out in an 80's colored setting as the camera cuts to really flashy shots of Trent's head rotating with shots of randomness overlaid on top of it. At the end, tape and wires start to attack the band and hang them upside down. I know what you're wondering little boys and girls… "What the fuck is tape?" Well, "tape" was little a plastic version of "Fruit By The Foot" that used to magically contain video and audio files. You know, "mp4s" and "flac" files! This video rocks for the obvious reasons, but also because of the technological history lesson!

5."Starsuckers, Inc."

Album: The Fragile
Directed by: Robert Hales, Brian Warner
(2000) -
I always hated the censored version of this song. It's not JUST the replacement of "f" with "s", but the whole bridge of the song is different. Instead of "I bet you think this song is about you", it's something totally different. For some reason that always took me out of this video. If intact, this video may even have been my favorite. The dirty goth thing going on here is awesome. He gets to play a parody of himself, but at the same time looks like a pimp. The visual of the dirty town car, the swarmy Marilyn Manson playing a swarmy hooker, Trent taking in oxygen with a tad too tacky eye-liner, and the constant jerks and flashes always left an impression on me. That's just ONE of the sequences though. They are being taken to a horrible carnival where Trent and Manson get in jabs at the pop stars and celebrity of the time. The direction is awesome and gets in some great homage to David Lynch films. Its dark, it's angry, its snarky, and it's tongue-in-cheek, but it all comes together for a great video.


Album: Broken
Directed by: Peter Christopherson
(1992) -
The adrenaline provided by this song is pretty unmatched. There might be more violent or aggressive songs, louder, or even angrier. Those songs don't touch this one. It's a swirling pool of rebellion and rage. Trent and the band are in leather as they rock out in a cage. Meanwhile tons of dirty and gothy early 90's people try to get inside. I like to think these are the same people from the "Bela Lugosi's Dead" clip from Bauhaus or at least their pesky siblings. The threat of destruction from the outside doesn't stop the band from wailing and certainly doesn't stop Trent Reznor from owning the camera with confidence and "fuck it all" swagger. I remember when I'd hear the lyrics "26 years, on my way to hell" and look forward to becoming 26 so I'd be able to sing along and "mean it". Now, a few years past it, it has the same feeling. This song really captures the lust for being in your mid-20s. It's the assumed glory when you're younger, but once you're past it you fondly look back and wish for that aloof feeling of no responsibly and no walls to stop you. Any ways, the end of the video was deemed "too violent" by MTV at the time. MTV thought people storming with baseball bats and weapons was too "too violent". It's cool to know MTV's standards are so "balanced" and "fair".


Album: The Downward Spiral
Directed by: Mark Romanek
(1994) -
I'm sure many folks would list this as their favorite Nine Inch Nails music video and even favorite song. Naturally, it's the biggest and most known hit of the band's awesome lineage. The band seemed to have some buzz and attention before this, but once the heart beats hit the radio and MTV history would be forever changed. If this song didn't hit, the album may not have and in result we may not have had "The Fragile" album and even Marilyn Manson as we know him. This song really opened the doors for hard rock to really get into a side of taboo that didn't get as much attention, and especially not in a darker way. The video is a Mark Romanek piece. He gave us some incredible visuals here as Trent Reznor just eats up the gross and eerie scenery. While Romanek would hate the edited version, I almost prefer it. Not because the content is too abrasive for me, but because the whole "Scene Missing" and censored cuts make the video THAT much more "taboo". It makes you feel like you're watching something you shouldn't be watching. I think as time goes on we become more jaded so without the censoring, you almost forget it's "taboo". It's explicit, crude, and controversial because of the song's lyrics and tone and the video masterfully reflects it. The scratched up film, the sepia layered tone, the cuts, the motion, and the lingering anxiety make this one of the best music videos to come out in the 90s.

2."The Perfect Drug"

Album: The Perfect Drug(single)
Directed by: Mark Romanek
(1997) -
"The Perfect Drug" is an amazing song. It's complex layers, the intense drumming, the echoes, the patter of the beat, and beauty of the lyrics is reasons why this song is so magnificent. Then there's the video. Mark Romanek often gets credit and praise for the "Closer" video, but I truly and honestly believe this video to be one of the best. Not just "best" as in subjective opinion or on a scale of Nine Inch Nails, I'm saying "best ever". The visuals are stunning, the direction is spot on, and the energy is great. The aesthetics were influenced by Edward Gorey's illustrations which to me always felt like Edgar Allen Poe meets Dracula meets youth and beauty. Yeah, I'm a nerd. The coloring and tone of the video always stood out. There are specific shots in this video that I'll always enjoy just purely for the visual coolness of it. This video tells a story and spares no expense creatively, financially, and especially on ambition. When the screen goes green and the crow flutters it's hard to not get wound up in the deconstruction and eventually rebuilding of the "absinthe freak out" interlude. I'd love to have seen a short film based around this song and settings, but that's all in retrospect. Moving forward is what we need to focus on here so I don't think it's asking TOO much, but dammit Trent and the powers that be, how about a live version?

1."March of the Pigs"

Album: The Downward Spiral
Directed by: Peter Christopherson, Trent Reznor
(1994) -
To me, this is and will always be Nine Inch Nails. The players change, outside of Trent of course, but this music video represents the energy and unadulterated raw emotion behind the music collection that is the nin discography. This isn't even my favorite song of theirs, but no matter how easy it would be to just go with "Closer" or "The Perfect Drug" I always go back to this simple, yet bold video. It's just the NIN I appreciated most. Nothing flashy, all attitude, all energy, and just in your face. There's no fancy graphics, super artsy video production, or anything set to be super depressing. It's Trent Reznor being a cocky asshole as he pushes his message of rage, destruction and lust for chaos. The song is one of those songs that you can't help but "feel". It's just a throb of industrial rock with one of the coolest and most memorable choruses of the band's history. I love the song and I love the video. It just feels "genuine". Like I said, it's not everyone's favorite but it's the Nine Inch Nails video I've always been enthralled by most.

What is YOUR favorite Nine Inch Nails video?


"Inside Llewyn Davis"

I am a fan boy of many people, movies, and nerdy things. I'm not a Coen brother's fan boy. I appreciate their work and love a few of their movies, but I'm not rushing out to see every movie they release. Sometimes, as good as their work clearly is, it's just not for me. I jokingly have said it was because their landscapes are always to bleak and desert focused. Something about that landscape just knocks the wind out of me and almost lulls me into a undirected daze. They've managed to draw me out of this with a few movies like "Raising Arizona", but the more recent "No Country For Old Men" stuff just didn't engage me. Sure I watched the movies, appreciated them, and can acknowledge the clear awesomeness. It's just not stuff I'm excited about. I get the appeal though and respect the Coen brothers fan boy-dom. This all prefaced and said, I really enjoyed "Inside Llewyn Davis". This movie is a comedy-drama that follows an interesting character around for a short, but important chunk of their life. It's a lot like "The Big Lebowski" in that respect. We jump into a character's shoes and life for a few days and then step out of them as they move forward. I suppose this is very general in terms of "storytelling", but the WAY the brothers Coen pull this off is what's so special. The movie stars Oscar Isaac, a slacker folk singer, who stumbles through the events of his 1961 New York City lifestyle. His album is not selling, he has no money, and he bounces around from couch to couch of friends, strangers, and anyone he comes across that seems half interesting and giving. During this ride we go with him through his relationships, the stuff he's keeping to himself, and to Chicago for a little bit for some jazz. It's a fun ride. It's a cerebral stumble through a crayon box of colorful characters and waxy exteriors that slowly melt away. If you're a Coen brother's fan boy then you should have seen this movie ALREADY. There is a good chance that the people who REALLY get into movies like this have seen this already. It's the people on the fence I'm talking to. You should see this movie. If you like movies about New York, folk music, the 1960s, independent spirit movies, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, or just flat out good movies then do yourself a favor. See this movie. There is nothing really bad you could say about this movie. It might not become one of your favorites, but if you don't appreciate this movie it's your fault. A

"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.

Arnold Schwarzenegger should stop making movies. For real. After years of him being in politics, people wanted him to come out of retirement and get back on the screen. Now that he's a million years old it's not fun anymore. Are we supposed to sit there and pretend this old genetic freak is any kind of authority figure? Movies like this should be given to younger action stars. The cast is made up of plenty of awesome folks that would have served as a better lead. Joe Manganiello, Sam Worthington, Josh Holloway, and then Terrence "I was in Iron Man, I swear!" Howard, the awesome Mireille Enos, and Olivia Williams are in this. The cast is very good, but I just can't take Arnold seriously anymore. I've not even seen this movie and I'm already tired of it.

That's all for now! It's hard to believe this was 388. I'm getting closer to considering making the 400 mark be my retirement from weekly Savage Animals. It's just becoming a bit of a chore. Not always, but some times. We'll see. Next week I wrap up all of this "NIN-trospective" stuff with a piece I'm calling "From One Fan To Another". I think I got it all out of my system so we can move forward with some fresh and hopefully inspired stuff. I plan to dive into a "first impression" and check out a new band, a new "album art of" where I'll judge more albums by their cover, and of course some more "videography" stuff where I'll watch some videos and tell you why I like them or not. It's a formula, sure… but it's a formula that leaves me plenty of room to explore new music and talk about stuff I like. So, that's a perk. There is a lot going on right now. Priorities are shifting and I only have so much time to devote to creative energy. I'd rather devote it to something that can provide a financial compensation on top of the creative aspect. We'll see. Until next time… Have a Great Week!


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