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Closer by Nine Inch Nails

Album: Closer To GodReleased: 1994Charted:
41
25
  • This song is sometimes translated into the artist simply needing sexual release, but it's truly about the sexual frustrations he cannot overcome. (thanks, Sarah - Delaware, OH)
  • Here's another theory: It could represent the voice inside a rapist's head. "Help me get Away from myself" and "You can have my isolation" implies that after he rapes his victim he's willing to go to jail (isolation). The line, "You can have my absence of faith you can have my everything" means his whole life is gone once in prison. It is basically a song about an obsession that one cannot control. (thanks, Bridgette - Los Angeles, CA)
  • A remix of this song is playing during the opening credits of the movie Se7en starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kevin Spacey. This version can be found on the CD-single "Closer To God." (thanks, Stephen - Cupertino, CA)
  • The video was directed by Mark Romanek, who had directed the clips for Madonna's "Rain" and Lenny Kravitz' "Are You Gonna Go My Way."

    Romanek says that the video for "Closer" was shot on a hand-cranked camera from 1919, and was made "for art's sake." Like the song, the video is raw and disturbing, complete with bondage, nudity, and a monkey strapped to a crucifix. When MTV showed interest, they edited it for broadcast and the video went in rotation on the network. As for the monkey, Romanek insists that it was never harmed, and that an ASPCA representative was on the set to ensure its safety.
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Comments: 91

I have no idea what the meaning of this song is. It does, however, remind me of my own personal experience.
“You let me violate, desecrate, and penetrate” means we had sex. We just starred as we undressed each other. Slowly stopping, then continuing; then stopping again. Hesitating to see who was going to say “no.”
“You let me complicate you” is because I am in another relationship.
“Help me, I’ve got no soul to tell” is because I am cheating and don’t want anyone to know.
“Help me get away from myself” I was sinning and hate myself for it.
“You can have my isolation” I’m keeping all my feelings inside to not arouse suspicion.
“You tear down my reason” I’m trying to justify what I am doing, but it’s conflicting with my beliefs.
“You can have the hate that it brings” the guilt that I feel and the fact that I told the person I couldn’t see them anymore. I miss this person so bad.
“You make me perfect” is the joy I feel, at that moment, because I forget my problems at home.
“My whole existence is flawed” I thought I knew what I wanted until this person came into my life. Now I’m all screwed up!
“You get me closer to God” I keep praying for forgiveness.
“Within my stomach” I’m getting ulcers from the stress of not knowing what to do.
“I want to f--k you like an animal” I miss this person and can’t stop thinking about the sex.
Yt - Weslaco, Tx
This song isn't bout sex or bout anything of sorts. This song is bout a man who has lost everything and doesn't know what is what and he wants to get "closer" to a proclaimed god, but he is also questioning if their is a god. many pplz think OH HES TALKING BOUT SEX! no no this man is trying to get closer to "god" by doing whatever possible but keeps finding out no matter what he does that he cant get what he is looking for. even if that means self mutation and causing harm to others and or raping them. the isolation is him being stuck in his own mind and cannot relate to everyone else and cannot figure out anything for himself. his absence of faith is him trying to believe in something that he cannot understand. he doesn't know who he is or why he is here so hes looking for answers and lives in his own sick world.Camille - Vinton, Ia
It is very apparent that Trent was heavily influenced by Ian Curtis/Joy Division (in the live performance at the Reading Festival of "Dead Souls" he states that Joy Division is their "favorite band"). Joy Divisions last album was titled "Closer", and before its release, Ian Curtis committed suicide while listening to the Iggy Pop album (The Idiot-the track "Nightclubbing") from which the opening drum sample for NIN's "Closer" is sampled. Therefore it is likely that the lyrics may be a combination of a view of Ian Curtis' life and Trent Reznor's imagination.Jeff - Richmond, Va
Rock on - Crystal, Fresno, CA im right with you. Im also a Christian and think Trent Reznor is an amazing musician.Griffin - Rtfhgfgh, Ca
Zakk from PA you have it completly correct!!!!
All this junk about Heroin, Marilyn Manson, Priests and the Simpsons....come on!!!
It is EXACTLY what the lyrics make it out to be, nothing hidden. I do agree somewhat also with what was posted about the French calling an orgasam "a little death"-that is true.
Downward Spiral is an excellent album. It is well writen, and an eerie indepth complete journey into another's mind/soul regarding the constent unyielding personal battels that plague many other of us stupid humans. We are all nothing but meat waiting for the slaughter.
Jennifer - Haltom City, Tx
The song was also done by a guy name Maxwell on June 15, 1997. It was a MTV Unplugged concert in NYTheresa - Cabot, Ar
There's another song that includes 'Closer' in the name and has a lot of the same lyrics, only it was done about a decade prior to this, and it was done by a black guy in a funk band. Anybody know the song?Adrien - Houston, Tx
In my humble opinion. all of you who believe that its some sort of rapist's confession are extremely wrong. he is speaking about the very essence of pure evil that has surrounded him. EVIL is (solely) lust, hate, violation, complication, and definitely isolation. All that is negative in his life..he is personifying it into one being and he wants to F**K it back. Its also another conversation with a devine being of white light ( trent is extremely spiritual.) He wants to be closer to the positive energy, but in order to do that he begs the evil to take back all that he has been.Chris Diamond - Chicago, Il
Wow. I can't believe these are actually viable theories.

Reznor never did heroin. He did coke and drank. And that's not what this song is about.

This song has nothing to do with being a rapist.

This song has nothing to do with Marilyn Manson.

Only a few of you have got it right. Syd from Alaska is a good poster here. His/her post about sums it up.

Most of you are reading way too much into this. And this comes from a huge NIN fan.
Jane - Richardson, Tx
brilliant song...nin at their best :)Rahul - Chennai, India
This video was number one on VH1's Greatest music videosAustin - Smallsville, New England
To me personally being 'closer to god' is having what the french call 'a little death'. Reznor tends to like to parellel things. i.e. religion and none or normal vs extreme.

In the video the meat hanging may be a reference to the artist, Chaim Soutine, whom painted slabs of meat hanging like in the video. He was friends with Modigliani and Picasso. His paintings of people also looked like corpses.

http://www.apollo-magazine.com/july-2006/73421/modigliani-and-the-artists-of-paris.thtml

BTW it's on my Sex Music mix.
Jazz - Toronto, On
Someone told me it was about heroin. Someone else told me it was about him in some ways, My cousin Matt told me it was about some wierd relationship between Trent Reznor And Marilyn Manson that was goin on. I don't care what it's really about cause it's still good.Jeremy - Monroe, Nc
The pagans believed that during he act of sex you are brought to the heavens and close to god hence the lyrics "You bring me closer to god"Kyle - Miller Place, United Kingdom
This song is actually about Trent and his experience. He was raped by a priest when he was younger and thts what the song is aboiut. the first part of the song the inrtro is about the person who did it to him, and when he starts saying help me thts him and the Closer to God verse is about the priest as well.Kelsey - Co, Oh
Acording to some writers of the Simpson's, in the episode Homerpalooza there was supposed to be a parody of the Closer video but it was scrapped because it didn't turn out the way they wanted it to. Also in the episode there is a N.I.N poster.Austin - Smallsville,new England, --
I'd just like to add a few things. If you don't like the song, or the group, why are you commenting on this page? Also, I'd like to say that I'm Christian, but I also love Nine Inch Nails, especially "Closer." It's interesting reading all of your comments and all your different takes on the song and the meaning of the different parts of it. To me (and this is just me, if you agree, ok, if not, ok) this is a love song. I can really appreciate how it relates to people on so many different levels. In fact, I can relate to this in so many different ways, as a Christian, a sadomasochist, a woman, and a human being in general to name a few. I'm not saying it's a religious song, an S&M song, or even a song about sex. It's well written, meaningful, and thought provoking (as well as argument provoking, lol). Don't take things so seriously, just listen and enjoy.Crystal - Fresno, Ca
According to most Christians, the devil and his followers, who are disembodied in the physical realm, seek to influence and possess those with physical bodies. Satan's plan is to desecrate and destroy. Those spirits who are bound to satan seek to be reimbodied or to possess those with physical bodies.

Most Christians also believe god made satan, and then Satan chose to fall away. So in essence, his existence is flawn.

I honestly think Trent Reznor was tapped into a dark spiritual realm when he wrote this song for sure.
David - Corona, Ca
I think this song is about the frustration with sexual release, how he wants sex so badly he'd do about anything for it.Connor - Albany, Ny
You will understand its meaning when you find that one person Trent Reznor is referring to.Robin - Croydon, Pa
Because of the editing of this song was able to silence the F-word, it was one of the first times that a song with such an expicit hook was used.Austin - Smallsville,new England, --
The video was voted the number one music video on Vh1Austin - Smallsville,new England, --
The whole Downard Spiral Album is about a guy who is experimenting with drugs and when he does he gets a voice inside his head that controls him. Mr. Self Destruct the first song on the album even states that by having this whisper saying "and I control you." This voice leads him to replace his religion with sex. The song Hersey states that clearly. Closer is about how much he craves sex and his major obsession of how it defines him. And if you listen to every song on the album his condition gets worse and worse. The song Reptile then leads you to believe that he actually found true love until he found out she was a prostitute. Hence, the "Oh, my beautiful liar, Oh my precious Whore." And also songs like the Ruiner, and The Becoming makes you be able to tell he contrast of how he doesn't want this anymore but he is addicted and he cant pry himself away and he knows if he doesn't stop he will die. Then the song the "Downward Spiral" implies a suicide attempt "So much blood from a tiny hole." and "Spilling out of my Head." But the song "Hurt" leads you to believe the attempt was unsuccessful. "I hurt myself today to see if I still Feel." "What have I become?" Tells us that he now knows his life's work has become to nothing "My Empire of Dirt". And also talks about how he let himself and all his loved ones down "I will let you down I will make you Hurt". Then he talks about wishing he could start again. "If i could start again, A million Miles away, I would keep myself I would find away". Hope that Helps!Zakk - Mercer, Pa
Wow there's alot of theories on this song! Personally, I think it's an amazing song! The lyrics are rockin!Krista - Carbondale, Pa
ok you cant tell people to get their mind out of the gutter when it says i wanna f**k you like an animal, that is extremely clever to use it to get people to listen n its racey n i like that

whenever i listen to it i always get the picture in my head of a stripper who's thrown her life away n is just constantly used n to herself she feels stoned, blank, n numb

sexual frustrations- i could agree to that beign part of what its about, i dont think it has to do with him being depressed in the sense that nobody lieks him n s**t, but maybe that he's numb to life n i from my own thoughts think that sex could be a way out of this world, cause sex is soemthing you can do with a complete stranger or with soemone youve know forever n neither be awkward, how many other things can you do with a stranger or spouse n it not be f**king awkward? i cant think of anything

its not just the line i wanna f**k you like an animal, buts it the line you keep me closer to god, n even w/o the f**k you like an animal part id still get the idea of sex because there's a line "it's your sex i can smell" n in the beginning it talks about him being let to violate someone n stuff

i ithnk the idea of it being from a rapists point of a view can fit the lyrics n also the racey beat but i dotn think this guy's a rapist, although you could find or create too many good movie scenes for this song
Dylan - Oneida, Wi
maria nicole, none, NJ - Religious Troll is Religious // Chelz, Mechanicville, NY - Very awesome thought. Puts the song in a different perspective for me.Michael - Glen Allen, Va
It's about sex. Simple. =]Aislynn - Sydney, Australia
I just get the impression that the guys a miserable loser and this chick is so great that sex with her makes him a better person.Zack - Dsdsdsadas, Ri
OK... Try to stick with me here... A long time ago, when I was a teenager and this song was popular, my friend Sarah(no affiliation with any Sarah on this site, as far as I know) decided that this is actually a love song. To us it represented knowing someone possibly better than they know themselves and striving to know them even better than that. I'm not going to site any particular verses, as all forms of art are open to interpretation... Just imagine a person willing to give everything they have for another when you listen to it, and maybe you'll see it, too. And yes, "I wanna F you like an animal" was probably just thrown in there to make you listen to it... But if that's what it took, you're definately missing the point.Jesse - Sabina, Oh
To anyone else like Stephen of CO who think this song should be longer, look into the album Closer to God(approx. 50 mins. long) which has 8 remixes of this song, all alternate interpretations by Trent Reznor himself. To all others who insist on interpreting this song without foundation, listen to this entire album (The Downward Spiral, this song is not originally from Closer to God) as well as Closer to God to get a broader understanding.Amanda - Arroyo Grande, Ca
I thought that the song was about S and M. About, how good it feels to be "dirty" or dark and how ironic it is that god seems to be the ultimate, but when you don't believe in god, the ultimate place that takes you higher is sex...or a mind blowing orgasm. I know for me, I'm not of Christian faith. Also, I believe Trent is a satanist, and a huge part of satanism is S and M.Janine - Port Washington, Ny
In terms of the album, the song is suppose to represent the character's start into the downard spiral that he starts to get into due to possible drugs, depression, or just out right lack for wanting to live (at the end of mr. self destruct every song is placed in the static, shadowing what is to come).
The whole sex portion of it, can (and most likely) is the character's darker side coming in and taking over. There have been numerous interviews regarding this and the sexual focus people put on it is their own, but also the song had to be written with some sexual reference because you need someway of knowing the character's motives/mood/feelings.
Mykl - Reading, Pa
I always thought it was about heroin. It fits--think about the following verses:

You let me complicate you, penetrate you (needle) you make me perfect, help me become somebody else, etc. etc.

Just my two cents
Laura - Lindenhurst, Ny
Rasha inspired Trent to write this.Steph - Vancouver Island, Canada
I totally agree with Katie,Madison and respect William's, Rochester interpretation. This song has a deeper meaning. The video clip of it does give you some hints for the interpretation. I think Trent wanted to shock all the ''Bible-hugging'' people by making it so creepy and awful so they turn it away as they would see even the shortest scene of the monkey on the cross. It has many ''violent''(mentally) scenes to keep away the sensitive and religious nerds - which won't understand it anyway... Primitive beeings will always interprete this song as a nasty sex hymn... But it ain't and it can't be. First of all it was made by Trent Reznor - Reznor often presents primitive feelings in his songs to express what makes him mad (not only about belonging to humanity). If you concentrate and let the creepy shape of the video disapear you will notice that the ripped apart meat chunks behind Trent look like Angel wings... That's one of a bunch of symbolic signs that this song has a religious floor... I stick together with Katie's interpretation... P.S.: I envy Trent for the ability to express himself...and make others go crazy about it...Matthew - Gdansk, Poland
this song is not about sex.

this is coming from trent himself, and i quote: "the song is basicly saying, i'm nothing. i'm s*it. if you still want me, here i am. and the line 'i wanna f*ck you like an animal' was put in just to make people listen."
-trent reznor in the book 'nine inch nails'
Justin - Westland, Mi
OPEN Your Eyes and get your mind out of the gutter. he IS NOT taking about sexual intercourse he is trying to tell you what some sick people in this world do, and that is rape you Mind! Obviously he does not say what gets raped you morons. "You make me perfect..." is an example of the twisted mind of a "ruiner" as Trent refers to their kind as. He refers to them in just about in every song. Example "The ruiner's got a lot to prove he's got nothing to lose and now he made you believe, the ruiner's your only friend well he's the living end to the cattle he deceives, the raping of the innocent you know the ruiner ruins everything he sees, now the only pure thing left in my ******* world is wearing your disease? is a perfect example of what I am trying to make you aware of. There are people out there that will rape you mind to the point that you are simply fried as in wearing that disease that was passed on to you. I know a lot of you have never been close to being broken mentally as some have but stop being so naive and open your eyes. Being mentally broken is comparable to hell on earth. DON'T TRUST ANYONE. Good luck. Oh and if you happen to come across a 'Ruiner' try not to let him **** your brain like and animal too hard you might end up committing suicide.William - Rochester, Ny
The beat from the song is actually a heavily modiefied sample from the beat of Iggy Pop's "nightclubbing"Will - York, England
I would think that only Trent knows what this song is all about. I know when I first heard it, SEX was the first thing to go into mind. Now that some time and question was put into it, I cant help but to see that its more of a mind thing. Scott Atlanta, Ga.Jeff - Atlanta, Ga
have you never wanted to f*ck someone like an animal? its not wrong. he just deals with it better than us. . . and makes money for it too!Chris - Buffalo, Ny
Actually, this song might be some one's idea of a love song. What do you do when you THINK you're in love? SEX!!! even when you're not in love, it's all about sex. He wants to get inside your pants.Noni - Columbus, Oh
I think that he is talking about a woman (or man) that possesses a closeness to god that he wants for himself. Sex (ultimate human intimacy) gives him a taste of what he craves so much.
He also seems to be saying "I have nothing to offer you" "Look at how screwed up and unlovable I am. Stop loving me, and stop letting me hurt (violate, desecrate, and complicate)you."
Desecration is usually a word used for the destruction of a place or thing that is holy. He seems to feel that he is unworthy of his lover, and that he somehow "taints" her/him everytime they make love.
Katie - Madison, Wi
obviously songs can mean different things to different people an i think thats cool.
for me this song isnt about just meaningless sex with anyone as a way to hide from your bad feelings.
for me its about finding that someone who completes you. who you have that animal attraction to.
Someone you can lose yourself in and who makes life more bearable. havent you ever found that with someone?
like trent reznor said "help me; you make me perfect" an its a theme that seems to run through many of his songs.
that in someone else you can know yourself/come closer to god. closer to god can mean more of a spiritual know thyself and not just the general christian interpretation. for me the song is about love and finding something spiritual in someone else and how sex is such a powerful represntation of that. the ultimate sharing in someone else with barriers down.
Dave - Sheffield, England
When I heard the part in the middle, with the drum rhythm, the creepy guitars and synthesizers, and the low spoken voices, I could've sworn I heard a guy say, "I drink beer!"Annabelle - Eugene, Or
yeah, i think this song is pretty straight forward. most of nin's stuff is. by the by, has anyone else heard the rumors of a certain heinous (sp?) crime that was filmed while this song was playing? please post.Matt - Leonardtown, United States
And BTW yeah bad Idea to bring religion into anything, if you did in real life, you prolly would be shot. Any who, don't any of these bible huggin peeeps, or religion peeps, understand, saying "you should beleive in THIS" Could possibly offened someone? Duma**...lol, um no offense.^-^Michelle - Moyock, Nc
Closer is a song about escapism through sex. This is evidenced through the lines "You can have my isolation, You can have the hate that it brings...etc" and especially "Help me become somebody else"Brian - Pittsburgh, Pa
It's amusing how much trouble people have understanding this song. It's so simple. The first time I heard the song, I knew... But everyone else had to argue about it and try to over-analyze it until they didn't understand any of it anymore. Does it take a certain kind of personality to understand that we all have a love/hate relationship with our own sexuality? I think that the Downward Spiral is something that just clicks with some people, and others that try have a very difficult time.Josh - Hell, La
Angela makes the most sense her to me. I always thought the song was just literally about sex, and I heard about the term being used for sex, when a man gets "closer to God" cause of the amazing feeling. I think that the getting closer to God during sex thing and the it generally being about pleasure, and feeling pleasure with no love make the most sense.Jamie - Faversham, Kent, England
"Weird Al Yankovic" parodied this song on his Running with Scissors album, the song was entitled "Germs".Will - York, England
This is the sexiest song ever! I just love it. And Trent Reznor... *sighs*. I'm planning on calling my radio station and requesting it on my birthday.Allison - Sterling, Ks
This song to me is very erotic..along the lines of Domination and Submission..the bond between the dominant and the sub is so close it's like a private religion between the two. They complete each other with these words, some are not said, it's more a deep obsession of feelings between them....song sends chills through me when I hear it....Diane - Ft.lauderdale, Fl
BTW, does anyone else think of "Lord of the Flies" when they see this video?Diane - Brooklyn, Ny
Mike: I don't think everyone's trying to be an expert; I think they're all giving THEIR interpretation of the song.Diane - Brooklyn, Ny
I just noticed something... Wasnt the album "Downward Spiral" or "The Downward Spiral" for those who are counting misspellings etc (and there seem to be MANY people doing that)? The top of the page indicates it is "Closer to God" which I think is incorrect - it was released downward spiral in Australia at least anyway.
Otherwise absolutely awesome song - the only flaw in it is some of the freaks who listen to it, make it popular for the wrong reasons (ie religious Maria below) and ruin it for everyone else. I have always seen NIN as almost a pretty exclusive club, that people joined when they understood his music. People interpreting Trent's music as something else should really check themselves. But, we live in Aust-merica so hey, freedom of speech is encouraged... or is it??? (Alfred hitchcock music coming on in the background, Vincent Price lauging)... hahaha. Dont take things so seriously guys :)
Rico - Melbourne, Australia
beth, there is nothing wrong with being a jesus freak its just sad that u think soBrenna - ?, Ut
Another song by Nine Inch Nails thats awesome is "Into the Void". Anyone agree?Marc - Vancouver, Canada
Haha, its weird how mad people can get bout a song :)
Anyway, like the song and love this homepage to egt to know more bout the meaning of songs cos I'm from Germany and I don't understand everything...er...yeh...anyway :)
Kathy - Near Frankfurt, Germany
I abosolutely love this song! im goin 2 their concert tonite!Brittany - Richmond, Ky
it gives a good rythm for ya for things, though ;) and it may be pretty dirty, but a good song on your sex playlist. boom boom boom boom. it should be longer, though...Stephen - Steamboat, Co
Just a really HOT song...gets the juices going.Jujee - Marquette, Mi
This is just a beautiful and sincere love song, as creepy and dirty as it may be. "My whole existence is flawed, you get me closer to god." Just a song about someone who only has one pleasure: his lover. "You are the reason I stay alive."Daivd - Aberdeen, Nc
There?s a lustful, sexual tone to this song. There?s no love involved, just sex and lust. He feels that when he has sex with her, he feels so amazing. It?s a religious experience.

It is about a man?s desire for a woman. Its rather blatant, but sexual desire can be like that. It really gets the message across by being that way. There's no religion involved. This is just to heighten the feeling of sexual release.

This sounds like the sex with this woman is destroying his soul and he is losing his self-respect. Its like the sex and relationship he has with this woman is making him feel bad. So, obviously, the relationship is bad for him.

He doesn?t love the woman he?s having sex with, hence the bad feelings. The sex is great, but the relationship is damaging him.
Angela - Adelaide, Australia
I think this is one of the most romantic songs around, Trent is basically saying hey i like sex it's fun. He's putting it out there its great my goal is to serenade someone with this song, which should be easy.Eric - Corunna, Mi
god, god, god. thats all everyone thinks about anymore...and thats why we have so many deaths today, cause god wouldnt want this cause god would disaprove, and that is a sin, and blaa frickin blaa. and the best part about it is no one is god so how do we no for sure what he thinks........... answer that if you think you can.Tom - Philly, Pa
you no what i find f***ing funny that people take songs and always tie them into religion, especially when it mentions nothing about religion...and dont even try to say "it says God how could it not be related to religion". closer to god is a saying that is uesd by lots of people, and i have uesd it before. the meaning is godly or holyer than thou. now when i it is used as the saying it dosent mean any god in particluar, but the divine godly power given to that figure. the song is about sex...just sex.. so stop pulling things apart and getting them religious. not everyone believes what you believe in ok so everyone stop shoving your[own] religion down everyone elses throats.
thak you all ive said my part
Tom - Philly, Pa
discount the "i want to f**k you like an animal" lines as attention grabbers and the like is really insulting to the meaning of the song. In fact, it goes along perfectly with the assumed theme of the orgasim bringing one closer to a God- as nature and god in said pagan religions were so closely intertwined. But i think that discounting the song as a tribute to pagan relgions and the male orgasm is missing the point a bit. It's about pagan relgions and the male orgasm with someone 'specail' 'the one' if you will. As for the jesus freak- if you are offended by this, change the radio dial, don't buy the album and leave us alone to express ourselves. We don't shove our beliefs (or lack there of) down your throat unless we feel attacked, and we would be grateful if you did the same. We don't find peace in an ancient story book- instead we find it within ourselves. We don't find it necessary to have our beliefs and morals spelt out for us- as we find it possible to construct our own based off of our own experiences instead of someone who lived thousands of years ago (and by that i am referring to the writers of the bible, not jesus- who i am not yet convinced he existed)Beth - Livonia, Mi
The song plays out an old easter spiritualism, that when you reach orgasm, you are closer to purity, closer to god, closer to heaven, closer. Thats all that means.George - Orleans, Ma
I'll go with the he feels god-like through sex theory and that he doesn't think he's anything any other time. O_o;Theresa - Fresno, Ca
Maria, NJ - 1) God is your answer. Not mine, and not everyone's. I'm glad he's helped you so much, but christianity really isn't for me. 2)This is the only Nine inch nails song I've heard before, I think it's pretty damn good, if a little graphic, and its reference to the fact that sex brings you closer to God is true - it's a historical fact that many people believed the moment of orgasm was a moment in which you saw God. And hey - what could be more of a religious experience than sex with someone you love? 3)Practise your spelling and typing skills for when you next leave messages on the net.Lexie - London, England
Why does this song have to be about sex? I think Trent through in those lines for shock value... it tells a much darker story than 'sexual frustrations' or 'sexual release'...Angelik - Adelaide, Australia
Mike from LA! i think we can all agree that people will feel different meanings as different lyrics apeal to them for different reasons. that and artists lie too! i'm not saying Mr Reznor is, but you have to take into account that he may be misguiding you, stating the obvious because he doesnt want to make himself vulnerable by opening himself on what this song may personally mean to him. i honestly dont think its entirely about sex, i think its about someone and how he wants to give her his all!Dan - Santa Clarita, Ca
maria.....keep an open mind....is it faith or
wishful thinking
Rob - Vancouver, Canada
This album is about dis-association and isolation. Nothing specfic implies 'sexual misconduct' however it does have leading overtones. As Syd so tactfully posted he uses sexuality as an escape from 'this life'. Sometimes we don't just 'fit', those of us who don't understand; the rest are left to speculate.Dylan - Yorkville, Il
Wow Maria, you have a youth club?
Well then you should obviously know that JESUS died on the cross, not God. Well done. Im not even a christian (im atheist) and I knew that.

The bible isn't the truth, how can you use that for proof? It's a book for crying out loud. But hey, if you want to devote your life to some old book, it's not my problem, just do us a favour and don't go walking around trying to make people believe your religion, let us choose our own way of life.
Kyle - Eastbourne, England
some say the downward spiral has a big story to it. it's about a guy who struggles with religion and, in his mind, kills god and takes his place (in heresy). having sex makes him feel godlike, hence "you get me closer to god." http://www.sickamongthepure.com/files/2002/02/TDS/TDS.htmlJake - Englewood, Co
To the Christian section, you obviously are coming from quite a different perspective on this song, and to come to the conclusion that to enjoy this song is disturbing is judgmental and in all serious, becoming more and more predictable. for those of us not aboard the jesus train, via intellectual discourse from such philosophers such as Nietzsche, Weber, Camus, Sartre, it is obvious to see that this song displays the mindset of a person who is feeling the effects of accepting nihilism. by "f***ing like an animal" he can forget about life for a while. if you are familiar with trent's life, or the rest of his music (see terrible lie, heresy, etc) it is obvious to see that he at one time was a christian and that he had a loss of faith...in response, he has felt isolation, hate, an obvious absence of faith ("lost my faith in everything" from "somewhat damaged" will further back this up) and feelings of worthlessness..."you can have my everything", which really, in his eyes is nothing. this song, as the entire downward spiral cd does, very artfully and intellectually describes the emotional journey that one does when being hurt deeply enough into losing faith in what they previously believed (in Michael Trent Reznor's case, God, life, love)Michael Perino - Bay Shore, Ny
As crazy as this sounds, I think it's a love song. I mean he says that she can have his everything, even his absence of faith. Also she's the reason he stays alive. I think the closer to God thing is that she is the closest thing to God he can get to (not saying that she is God but as a follower of God or something along those lines, which is why she can have his absence of faith). Kind of like she is the light in his darkness or something like that. I dunno, it's a long shot but that's the way I see it -er hear it.Kat - Seattle, Wa
Did anyone ever consider it may be a religious song?....honestly...lol...

Certain sects of paganism(nature worship not devil) belive that the one time a man is with god is when he is 'with' a woman. In a male orgasm there is one moment of complete thoughtlessness, the moment it is belived that god can be seen. Women are thus regarded in a high status for always being close to god and being able to bring men 'closer to god'.

'My whole existance is flawed' and 'I've got no soul to sell' can be interpreted as such: men and women are belived to only be one half, each, of a soul, both only complete when united. A flawed existance may be that he is not whole.

'You make me perfect' is in the uniting of the two a whole perfect soul is made

also it talks of tearing down reason and giving up having no faith i.e. what religion is all about

thats what i get out of the song...
Chelz - Mechanicville, Ny
This song is about sex, but it's also about the relationship behind it. If you listen to it in the context of the album, you'll see it has a deeper meaning, because the entire album is a concept about a man on a downward spiral through life. At this point in the story, the protagonist has finally found a person who makes him feel happy. The term "Closer to God" is often used to describe a spiritual feeling, and I believe that's what it means here. The "f**k you like an animal" bit is just for shock value.Brian - Caldwell, Ks
ok i'm 21 and a christian and all this band says about killing and selling their soul and that that makes them feel closer to God, please ok thats not getting closer to God. If ya'll think that killing ur self is the answer and selling ur bodys to strange people thats not the answer. God is the answer he died for us on the cross and this is how some people repay him. thats not cool or right. If u want to get closer to God read the Bible and go to church, pray on ur knees, worship him. in the bible it says that he's the truth. this is my opinion and if ya'll dont like it then hey thats on u. and as far as nine inch nails go thats not the kind of music i let my youth group listen to. its talking about alot of neggetive things and alot of sexuall discusting things. if anything i don't like their musica at all.Maria Nicole - None, Nj
This whole album is really interesting, especially Memorabilia.Ashley - Moncton, Canada
In my last post I meant it is doubful that it is about rape, not sex. Please pardon any other typos. :-DSabrina - Mesa, Az
The easiest way I could sum up the way this song translates is about hiding and forgetting about the emotional pain in sex. It is doubtful to be about sex because of the lines "You LET me violate you...., etc." The use of the word "let" shows that it is not forced.

Yes, it is about his own faults as expressed in the line "my whole existence is flawed". He then lists, in a round-a-bout way, the cause and effect manner. He feels isolated, which leads to hate, 9arguably next) it leads to a lack of faith in the self and says that "you can have my everything" which is offering everything despite that he does not feel anything there. To me, though prolly not to him, this would come across as almost hoping that the other person would see more in him despite the lack he sees in himself.

With the line "help me you make me perfect" it hints that perhaps he feels that when he is with someone else and forgets about the rest of it, especially the emotional pain. The next line comes across as a plea for help "help me become somebody else."
Sabrina - Mesa, Az
Why dont we just say its about sex in general?Alex - North Smithfield, Ri
this song is NOT about sexual release, as many of you claim you know it is... the meaning of closer is (and i quote-) "i'm nothing. i'm s**t. if you still want me, here i am." and the line "i want to f**k you like an animal" was put in just to make people listen.

this is coming straight from the biography of nine inch nails.
Justin - Westland, Mi
Syd.....

"This song isn't about sexual frustrations; it's about how miserable and depressed this guy is, and how he seeks salvation in sex"

sounds pretty much like sexual frustration
Evan - Freehold, Nj
i'd say Closer is somewhat disturbing...but really really good. yeah, sounds like a good song to strip to actually.Indre - Wollongong, Australia
Im amazed how everything thinks they're an expert on other peoples songs. (Michael)Trent Reznor himself said that "Closer" is a song about sexual release and needing a certain someone for that release.Mike - L.a, Ca
Many strippers dance to this. Slowly.Shell - Toronto, Canada
This song isn't about sexual frustrations; it's about how miserable and depressed this guy is, and how he seeks salvation in sex and wants everything to be taken from him. 'You can have my isolation', 'you can have my absence of faith,' 'you can have my everything.' He's not offering it up there, he's begging someone to take it and allow him to be someone else with the act of sexual intercourse, and forget his life.Syd - Anchorage, Ak