“Only” – Nine Inch Nails

So it was really hard to pick the first song to review but I settled on a song from my favorite band of all time, Nine Inch Nails (NIN). I could go on for pages about my love for Trent Reznor and his work, but maybe some other time (I am thinking of writing some posts that focus exclusively on a band/group, we’ll see).

Although “Only” is not my favorite NIN’s song (that honor goes to “Closer,” “Reptile,” or basically every song on The Downward Spiral) it is in my top ten. The song starts out with a heavy synthesizer beat, drawing you instantly into the music. When Trent’s amazing voice breaks through the synth, you are immediately immersed. I have tried numerous times to describe his voice to people and I cannot. It is guttural but smooth, inviting but harsh. He can go from a whisper to a scream, creating emotions with just sound. Not to mention he is extremely good looking.


The lyrics, like many NIN songs (and other groups) have endless interpretations. To me, this song is about someone who has completely changed herself* for a person and realizes that she lost herself, or “becoming less defined”. She sees things, either in herself or the person, that she really shouldn’t have seen. This realization leads her to reevaluate her priorities in life. She doesn’t want to be “concerned” about fitting into this person’s world. She wants to be independent, leading to the amazing, catchy chorus: “There is no fucking you, there is only me”.

Other interpretations state it is about drug addiction/abuse or a continuation NIN’s early song “Down In It”. I’m going to stick with my interpretation since this song has helped me through numerous break-ups. Many times, I have played this song in my car with the volume turned up and screaming “There is no FUCKING YOU”. Nothing like cathartic release.

The music video is also great. It goes very well with the techno/synth heavy music since it is all CGI except for a random hand. It features a (MAC!) computer, a basket of precariously stacked apples, a vibrating coffee mug, and Trent in Pin Art (how can he still look hot).

Over all, a great NIN’s song. Catchy, meaningful, dancable (yes, this is a word I will be using a lot). So whenever you have a bad break-up, turn up this song and take back your independence and your life because that is the most important thing. There is only you.

Oh, and before I forget, here is another picture. I couldn’t pick my favorite.

* I use she/her etc because it is my gender and I hate using him/her.





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