November 6, 2002
Don't Believe The Hype
Some of you "old school" folks may remember reading the first Meathead Perspective column back in August 1999. I didn't actually start reading them until sometime in 2001, myself, but that's beside the point. The first Perspective addressed the issue of those goddamned fake Nine Inch Nails songs circulating on the Internet. Man, I sure hate those. I thought that maybe by shedding some light on this topic, it would help deter people from downloading and spreading these impostor tracks to others. But unfortunately, this problem is still very much around today, probably worse than ever. So I am addressing it again, because I've been drinking and it seems like a good idea at the moment.
Sure, you might be thinking, "But Meathead, you're such a dick. Who cares if some people download some fake NIN tracks?" I care. Because if I have to hear one more person asking about Nine Inch Nails' cover of the Legend of Zelda theme song, I will find them and beat them mercilessly with a box of frozen fish sticks. If I was Trent Reznor (which I'm not, in case you were wondering), I would not want some retarded kids making shitty, half-assed songs on their computer and then telling other people that I made them. And these fake songs are truly shitty. From what I've noticed, Trent works pretty hard at creating his music, and therefore, attributing these wannabe NIN songs to him is pretty much the equivalent of hitting him in the kneecaps with a tire iron.
It's really sad how so many people put more faith in the filenames on KaZaA, Morpheus, Audiogalaxy (and whatever other music-stealing software is out there these days) than most Christians put in the Bible. In other words, if a song is labeled Spice Girls - Fate's Warning (Iron Maiden Cover), these people will unhesitantly and steadfastly believe that they are listening to the Spice Girls covering Iron Maiden, and will violently oppose anyone who threatens to provide any argument that might compromise this belief. Why? Because that's what the mp3 is named, duh! Now, this may come as a surprise to many of you, but I'll let you in on a little secret: it's very easy to rename an mp3. That's right. You heard me. Yo, check this in-depth demonstration below.
As you can see (assuming you can in fact read, which might be expecting too much), changing a bitchin' Burt Bacharach tune to a not-so-bitchin' Nine Inch Nails tune is quite easy and can be accomplished even by a dead hobo within a matter of seconds. It pains me to actually have to spell this out, but you shouldn't just assume an mp3 is the real deal just because of the file name. There are many, many mp3's on the Internet that are inaccurately and incorrectly labeled. Why do people incorrectly name mp3's? There are several possible reasons. Probably the largest incentive for someone to mislabel a song in this fashion is so more people will listen to their own shitty music. For example, let's say you're in a band called Robert and the Severed Rooster Heads. No one is going to just fire up their computer and search for Robert and the Severed Rooster Heads - My Parents' Basement Rules.mp3. But lots of people look up, say, Radiohead. So by changing the name of the file to Radiohead - My Parents' Basement Rules.mp3, it'll show up when someone does a search for Radiohead. That way, if things go your way, the person who downloaded it will think "Hey, this isn't Radiohead! But it sure has a funky beat!" and they will share it with others, and you will become instantly rich and famous. Even if they still think it's Radiohead, they'll still be listening to the song you made, and you'll still get a big ego because you're a dipshit. There are other people who just get bored and like to trick people, so they take pre-existing songs by other people and rename them to something else. Then there are other people who are just dumb and shouldn't be allowed to listen to music in the first place.
Hey, let's talk about that "Legend of Zelda" song some more. For those of you who for some reason don't know, The Legend of Zelda was a really rad, insanely popular game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. More specifically, it was a really rad, insanely popular game for the Nintendo Entertainment System whose theme song was never, ever performed live by Nine Inch Nails. I'm sure they play it in the studio all the time, but never live. A lot of people seem to think that at some point during a concert, Trent Reznor thought, "Hey, wouldn't it be funny if we played the Zelda theme song right after 'Eraser'? That would be so cool!" To put it simply, if you believe that, you are mentally retarded. I'm totally serious. Get help. I don't know what goes on in all those freaky, weird parallel universes, but that's never happened in this one. Sorry. No, this is actually a performance by Nintendo Power, a band that plays covers of video game music. DEAL WITH IT.
Another one of these abominations is creatively titled "Angel." Oooooh, that sure sounds gothic! It's labeled as a Nine Inch Nails song, but I've also seen people calling it an Option 30 song. But guess what? It's neither! I'd listened to this revolting track before a long time ago, but for the purpose of this article (and because I've been drinking) I decided to refresh my memory and download it again. I will be honest and admit that, while it is trite and formulaic, it does have a groove to it. For the first few seconds, that is. Then, unfortunately, the singing starts and completely obliterates any chances this song had of not sucking. Folks, in order for a song to qualify as a Nine Inch Nails and/or Option 30 song, the singer has to be Trent Reznor (if any of you bastards bring up "La Mer" I swear I will smack you). Anyone with at least four functioning brain cells can recognize that the person singing on this steaming dung heap is certainly not Trent Reznor. Hell, he's not even Chris Hall of Stabbing Westward. He's more like that guy Todd who works over at the Chic-Fil-A. Not to toot my own horn, but I've been listening to Le Rez's music for going on a decade now, and during this time I've gotten a pretty good idea of what his voice sounds like. So when one of you punk ass motherfuckers steps up and says "U DONT NO WHAT UR TALKIN ABOUT THATS TRENT RESNER SINGING ON TAHT SONG!!!!" naturally I tend to get a little annoyed. Go to hell.
There are lots of other fake NIN songs clogging up the Internet, but it would be pointless to list them here, since it seems there's a new one popping up every goddamned day. But the thing is, I shouldn't have to. Every one of these tracks I've had the displeasure of listening to has been so obviously faked that it threw me into uncontrollable fits of dry heaving. All you have to do is think, people. If it's three minutes of static and random distorted samples, it's not a NIN song. If it's a pounding techno/house track with Japanese people singing to it, it's not a NIN song. If it's a shitty, boring, looped beat that repeats for an eternity, it's not a NIN song (unless you're listening to an Adrian Sherwood remix). If this isn't enough, here's another pointer that might help, but probably won't:
If you're not sure about the legitimacy of a NIN song title, check a fucking NIN discography. Unlike with some bands, there aren't many non-album Nine Inch Nails tracks. They're not Phish; they don't play lots of covers live, other than the few that are already available on an album or single. In fact, I know of no occasion in which they've spontaneously played a previously unheard-of cover in concert. They've never performed on stage with Pink Floyd, and Trent never recorded a track called "Naked Fringe" with Maynard and Tori Amos. There are relatively few official Nine Inch Nails/Trent Reznor tracks that aren't available on the "halo" releases (every official NIN release is given a "halo" number, but you already knew that). As of this particular moment, these renegade songs are:
Non-album NIN songs:
• Maybe Just Once (Pretty Hate Machine reject)
• Purest Feeling (another Pretty Hate Machine reject)
• Twist (early version of "Ringfinger")
• Now I'm Nothing (intro to Terrible Lie, performed during Lollapalooza '91)
• Last (Butch Vig remix) (title is self-explanatory; impossible to find with decent audio quality)
• Dead Souls (from The Crow soundtrack)
• Burn (from Natural Born Killers soundtrack)
• Videodrones, Questions (from Lost Highway soundtrack; credited as Trent Reznor)
• Driver Down (from Lost Highway soundtrack; credited as Trent Reznor)
• No, You Don't (version) (released only on nin.com, fortunately)
• La Mer (version) (nin.com only)
• The Fragile (KH deconstructed mix) (nin.com only)
• Deep (Tomb Raider soundtrack)
Embarrassing Option 30 songs:
• Ice House
• Time and Chance
• Der Kommissar
• Just Out Enough To Be In
• Equal Rights
• Old Habits Die Hard
• Pandora's Box
Misc. non-NIN songs that Trent sang on anyway:
? Black Bomb (Josh Wink)
• Past the Mission (Tori Amos)
• Supernaut (10,000 Homo DJ's)
• Suck (Pigface)
• I'm Afraid of Americans (David Bowie - NIN remixes)
There are also several songs going around claiming to be from Tapeworm. Let me emphasize that these, too, are not real. I've seen idiots labeling "Burn", "Metal" (from Things Falling Apart), and Marilyn Manson's "Down in the Park" as Tapeworm songs. And of course there are plenty of "Tapeworm" songs that are completely bogus from the start. "Vacant," that song that Maynard & Pals performed live, is the closest thing to a real Tapeworm song that's available on the Internet right now. Aside from that, the only other real Tapeworm tracks are securely stashed behind a heavily locked metal door in Trent's big expensive studio, which is surrounded by surveillance cameras, Dobermans, laser beams, and machine gun turrets. The odds of some moron on KaZaA having them in his Shared Files folder are completely nil. You don't have them, sorry.
In conclusion, my advice to any of you who thinks you have come across some unbelievably rare NIN or NIN-related song, do some actual research (and perhaps some actual thinking, if that's not too much to ask) before spreading your filthy disease to others. You'll be doing yourself and society a great big favor. Seriously.