The Downward Spiral

Album: The Downward Spiral (1994)

Songfacts®:

  • Trent Reznor spoke to Q magazine August 2008 about the writing of The Downward Spiral album: "I formulated a story about this character, who was me, basically, who tries to get rid of everything in his life to find the reason he's doing what he's doing, and turns to drugs or sex or religion, and it leads to his demise in some fashion. About a quarter of the way in I abandoned the idea and thought I'll just write naturally and see what happens. A few months later I went back to the plot and found that almost perfectly, everything lined up. It was weird."
  • The album was recorded at 10050 Cielo Drive, the Los Angeles house where Charles Manson's followers murdered actress Sharon Tate. Reznor explained to Q magazine how he ended up in such a notorious place: "We wanted to get outside the confines of a regular studio, so I went out to LA and had a real-estate person set me up with appointments. The house we ended up getting was the one where Sharon Tate was murdered. They didn't tell us that. It's just a small ranch house on a nice piece of property. That night a friend told me that was where the Manson murders took place. Foolishly I thought, I gotta get it now. In hindsight I should have thought long and hard about that. It starts to sound like I'm trying to be as spooky as I can."
  • The Downward Spiral album, which featured two of Reznor's best known songs "Closer" and "Hurt" was an enormous success. It sold quadruple platinum and made Reznor an uneasy megastar, but plunged him into years of self-loathing and self-destruction. He told Maximum Ink magazine: "I can look back from The Downward Spiral on and it was during that tour that problems started to arise. Prior to that I would have considered myself pretty normal. With The Downward Spiral, I can remember where I was in my head, what I was thinking, and I can remember writing that record, and the mindset. This record that was about an extension of me, became the truth fulfilling itself."

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