The ‘Downward Spiral’ Song Trent Reznor Regrets Making

Trent Reznor: Gary Malerba/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
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No one walks out of The Downward Spiral without a few wounds.

While Nine Inch Nails were already taking over the world, Trent Reznor took his audience on a ride to Hell across this album.

Even though Reznor put every song in its right place, he admits one song missed the mark.

On the back half of the record, Reznor mentions rushing through the song “Big Man With a Gun,” saying,

“The record was nearing completion. I had written those lyrics pretty quickly and I didn’t know if I was going to use them or not. To me, Downward Spiral builds to a certain degree of madness, then it changes. That would be the last stage of delirium. So the original point of ‘Big Man With A Gun’ was madness.”

Although Reznor had tried to be satirical, it didn’t sit well with parents.

When the PMRC cracked down on vulgar lyrics, censors thought “Big Man” was misogynistic for its lyrical content, although incorrectly calling it a “rap” song.

Although Reznor stood by his decision to keep the album flow, he regretted the misinterpretation saying,

“it was also making fun of the whole misogynistic gangsta-rap bullshit. … I listen to a lot of it, and I enjoy it. But I could do without the degree of misogyny and hatred of women and abuse. Then, my song got misinterpreted as exactly that. It was probably a lack of being able to write. I’ve been taken out of context, and it’s ridiculous.”

Despite the controversy, the song works well in the context of The Downward Spiral. As the album wraps up, this is the final freakout moment before Reznor gets introspective on “Hurt” and the title track.

The Downward Spiral might be the crown jewel in Nine Inch Nails’ discography, but don’t expect Reznor to play this track live any time soon.

Fun fact- Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee revealed in his 2004 autobiography that the intro sample to “Big Man With a Gun” featured the sounds of a wild night with porn stars that he orchestrated for Nine Inch Nails while they were in the studio making the album.

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