Home / Culture / Flashback Friday: NIN’s “Closer” and Self-Loathing Love Songs

Flashback Friday: NIN’s “Closer” and Self-Loathing Love Songs

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This week I’m taking us back to another “sexy” song that has endured since the early 90’s. This time from every teenage boy’s favorite rock band before circa 2003: Nine Inch Nails.

I actually hated “Closer” as a teen. Something about the way all the boys at school sang it made my skin crawl. The video, full of gory and creepy details didn’t help. Is this what boys liked? Dirty, grimy, self obsessed “fucking”? All those animal parts hanging up? Did they want to put me in on a meat hook like in horror movies? That abstinence ring looked like a good idea at the time.

In college I heard a mashup of the song with Garbage’s “#1 Crush” and I saw it in a different light. “#1 Crush” is a sexy song, but its also a tragic song about a teenage girl’s obsession that she’s so ready to debase herself for the object of her affection. Mixed with “Closer”, I could imagine Trent Reznor penning it a cautionary tale. The Wikipedia entry for the song has a citation that says as much: Reznor was not writing a happy sex anthem but a story of self-hatred.

Apologies to whoever made the mash up first, I have no idea who they are. I vastly prefer this interpretation to the angry teenage boys who probably sang this to their inflatable furniture.

Postmodern Juke Box ft. Kenton Chen

My absolutely favorite cover of this song I will defend to the death. Kenton Chen belts out a 70’s funk version while wearing a FANTASTIC jacket. I’ve seen PMJ live and they put on quite a show. This entry in their catalogue looks like it’d be especially lively.

Monarchy 

Let’s get back to some of the original spookiness of the song. Plus they’re British!

In This Moment

I am not a metalcore fan by any means, but I wanted to include this one because its a female vocal with a burlesque stage show. And maybe kind of queer? The showmanship I feel is appropriate to the song.

 

What are your favorite NIN covers?

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