Song of the Day #889: ‘Terrible Lie’ – Nine Inch Nails

This week’s Doubting Thomases (in the form of Monsters of Folk and U2) have been rather polite in their lashing out at a God they’re having difficulty believing in. Today’s artist goes in quite the other direction.

Nine Inch Nails released its debut, Pretty Hate Machine, in late 1989 and this furious, gaping wound of an album was a perfect antidote to the superficial decade it left behind. Front man Trent Reznor (actually, he’s the only member of the band) poured his anger and pain into ten industrial rock songs that tore a hole in your heart as well as your head.

As reviewer Steve Huey writes for, “perhaps the greatest achievement of Pretty Hate Machine was that it brought emotional extravagance to a genre whose main theme had nearly always been dehumanization.”

‘Terrible Lie,’ Reznor’s blistering attack on a cruel god, is one of the album’s highlights.

(Hey God) Why are you doing this to me?
Am I not living up to what I’m supposed to be?
Why am I seething with this animosity?
I think you owe me a great big apology

Terrible Lie

I really don’t know what you mean
Seems like salvation comes only in our dreams
I feel my hatred grow all the more extreme
Can this world really be as sad as it seems?

Terrible Lie

Don’t take it away from me
I need someone to hold on to

There’s nothing left for me to hide
I lost my ignorance, security, and pride
I’m all alone in this world you must despise
I believed your promises, your promises and lies!

Terrible Lie

You make me throw it all away
My morals left to decay
How many you betray
You’ve taken everything
My head is filled with disease
My skin is begging you please
I’m on my hands and knees
I want so much to believe

One thought on “Song of the Day #889: ‘Terrible Lie’ – Nine Inch Nails

  1. Dana says:

    Not my cup of tea. But, by the way, while you portray this as a departure from the superficial 80’s sound, check out the quintessential production including the 80’s synths. Sometimes you can’t escape the decade in which you create your art no matter how hard you try.

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