Sanctified

Album: Pretty Hate Machine (1989)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • According to Trent Reznor, this song is about addiction to cocaine. He sings of the drug as if it were a woman:

    If she says come inside I'll come inside for her
    If she says give it all I'll give everything to her


    To sanctify is to make something holy; in this context, cocaine is a kind of religious experience for Reznor.
  • Reznor's addiction to alcohol and cocaine ramped up throughout the '90s and nearly killed him in 2000 when he overdosed on heroin that he thought was cocaine. After extensive rehab, he got sober around 2003.
  • This is the fourth track on Pretty Hate Machine, the debut album from Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor had various collaborators on the album, but he took total control. One of his cohorts was Richard Patrick, who went on to form Filter. Patrick was part of the touring band, but was left off the album with the exception of a guitar drone that leads from the end of "Sanctified" into the next track, "Something I Can Never Have."

    In a Songfacts interview with Patrick, he explained: "Well, that was really easy. My part in that whole thing was, [voice of Trent Reznor] 'Hey, Rich, I'm sequencing the record. I know you want to be on it. I want a segue between 'Sanctified' and 'Something I Can Never Have.' What do you got?' I came in with my rig and I made some feedback. I go, 'There you go. Try piecing that together. Can you use that somehow?' And he goes, 'Okay.' And he recorded it. And he goes, 'I found something great.' He did the double of it and just kind of snuck it in there, and that was it. That was my involvement on Pretty Hate Machine."
  • The dialogue that comes in at the 3:20 mark is from the 1978 movie Midnight Express. It's part of a scene where the main character Billy Hayes, played by Brad Davis, reads a letter to his parents explaining that he was arrested in Turkey.

Comments: 6

  • Koronis from City, OnIn an old interview, Trent does say that Sanctified is about a crack pipe
  • Sara from Crack Springs, Wymmmm... this song is hott...im pretty sure its about the temptation of the drugs....but you could also get the simple meaning of a hott ***** tempting him...who knows either way NIN rocks your face off and i love them!
  • Natasha from Aurora, CoHe has said he did cocaine, not crack.
  • Eric from Sanford, NcI can totally see how a drug and a seductive woman because that?s exactly how cocaine addiction feels...like the longing to submit to a beautiful temptress.
  • Theresa from Fresno, CaWhoa I never thought in a million years it was about coke or a crackpipe. O_o; Dang, I always thought it was this super-seductive woman. Maybe that's what that stuff is like, a seductor or seductress but I wouldn't know.
  • Ana from Cheyene, WyI thought Trent said it was about a crack pipe itself.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Harry Wayne Casey of KC and The Sunshine Band

Harry Wayne Casey of KC and The Sunshine BandSongwriter Interviews

Harry Wayne Casey tells the stories behind KC and The Sunshine Band hits like "Get Down Tonight," "That's The Way (I Like It)," and "Give It Up."

90210 to Buffy to Glee: How Songs Transformed TV

90210 to Buffy to Glee: How Songs Transformed TVSong Writing

Shows like Dawson's Creek, Grey's Anatomy and Buffy the Vampire Slayer changed the way songs were heard on TV, and produced some hits in the process.

Dar Williams

Dar WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

A popular contemporary folk singer, Williams still remembers the sticky note that changed her life in college.

Charles Fox

Charles FoxSongwriter Interviews

After studying in Paris with a famous composition teacher, Charles became the most successful writer of TV theme songs.

Janis Ian

Janis IanSongwriter Interviews

One of the first successful female singer-songwriters, Janis had her first hit in 1967 at age 15.

Jim McCarty of The Yardbirds

Jim McCarty of The YardbirdsSongwriter Interviews

The Yardbirds drummer explains how they created their sound and talks about working with their famous guitarists.