Welcome to another segment of messing with Multitracks, here is Trent’s spoken word vocals on the song The Downward Spiral without the screaming being too loud that the vocals are buried like in the studio version
Nine Inch Nails | So what what does it matter now; I was swimming in the hate now I crawl on the ground; And everything I never liked about you is kind of seeping into me; I try to laugh about it now but isn’t it funny how everything works out; I guess the jokes on me, she said.
On this day in music history: March 8, 1994 - “The Downward Spiral”, the second studio album by Nine Inch Nails is released. Produced by Trent Reznor and Flood, it is recorded at Le Pig in Beverly Hills, CA, The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA, and A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA from Mid - Late 1993. Following Nine Inch Nails successful stint on the first Lollapalooza Tour in 1991 and release of the Grammy winning EP “Broken” the following year, Trent Reznor begins writing material NIN’s second full length release. Having gone through a long and ardous battle to extricate himself from his former label TVT Records as well as struggling with drug addiction, Reznor channels his emotions and the raw, aggressive energy of the bands live performances into the new material. The follow up to the Double Platinum selling EP “Broken”, “Spiral” is a concept piece chronicling the “downward spiral” of a man, ending with his attempt at suicide. Part of the recording takes place in the home (10050 Cielo Drive in Beverly Hills, CA) that actress Sharon Tate and four others are murdered by the Manson Family in August of 1969. Not long after Reznor moves out of the residence, it is demolished and a new home is built on the site. Reznor keeps the front door from the house as a souvenir. Spinning off two singles including “The March Of The Pigs” and “Closer”, it is a commercial and artistic triumph, not only becoming Nine Inch Nails most successful release, but in time is regarded as a landmark Industrial Rock album. In 2004 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of its release, it is reissued as a two hybrid SACD deluxe edition with remastered versions of the original stereo mixes, remixed into 5.1 surround sound, and extended remixes. It is also issued as a double sided DualDisc with one side being a DVD-A with the multi-channel mix and and music videos for “The March Of The Pigs”, “Closer” and “Hurt”. “The Downward Spiral” debuts at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
So I spent a lot of time organizing and putting this together, so here you guys go :) I’m also putting together a much smaller playlist that includes the background music for all the smutty/non-smutty parts of TMHB. When I can, I will link them into the chapters so that you can listen to them while you read. I will also put together a Spotify playlist of these songs on there too as well :)
It was three weeks before Iss heard r from Spencer again. She’d kinda given up on him although she wasn’t offended by his lack of contact in the least.
Iss knew he was going through an extremely hard time and although she’d offered to try help him , it had to be his decision.
In the small amount of time she’d spent with him she’d decided that she liked him. It didn’t take Issy long to make up her mind about people. She could tell that he was a genuinely kind and caring person, and she could bet that he’d be fun to be around. It was just circumstances that were hindering that side of him.
It was 2:30pm on a Friday afternoon when he finally made contact. Issy had been pottering around the apartment she shared with Ally and her brother above the bar, when her phone had buzzed. It was Jake so she swiped to answer it.
“Hey Dizzy Issy. There’s someone here to see you. Says his name’s Spencer. Shall I get rid?”
“Nope. Send him up please.” Issy was still in her pj’s having had a long bath as she weren’t due into work until later, but never mind.
“Okay, sending him your way now. Me and Ally Cat will be down here all afternoon if you need anything.”
Iss signed off from her brother, flicking the coffeemaker on and shrugging into one of his hoodies. Twenty seconds later, a knock on the door. She pulled it open revealing the tall man she had spent the last three weeks thinking about.
“Hey, come in.” She moved aside to let him into the room. “Coffee?“
Spencer nodded, “Please. I’m erm, sorry to just drop by like this. I didn’t realise you lived above the bar.”
Iss poured two cups, motioning to the sugar and milk so he could add to his taste.
“Yeah Ben, the owner gives us a good discount providing we’re here to take deliveries and stuff. It’s a pretty good deal. He owns a couple of other bars across town that I play at sometimes too, and he mostly leaves us to our own devices here. So long as we’re turning a profit and not doing anything illegal.”
Issy watched him add five cubes of sugar to his coffee, handing him a spoon so he could mix it in with raised eyebrows. He caught her look, just shrugging at Iss.
“So erm… Not to be rude or anything Spencer. But why are you here?”
“You offered help. I want it if the offer’s still there. It’s just taken me a few weeks to realise it.”
“Okay.” She led him to the couch, sitting down and crossing her legs underneath. He followed, joining her.
“I’m not a therapist you know. I’m in no way actually trained to help you.”
“Perhaps not officially, but I felt more comfortable talking to you than I did my closest friends. You understand me, because you’ve been there. The other night, you hadn’t even spoke to me and you knew I’d lost someone. ”
“I’ve always been able to read people. It’s kinda like my superpower. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been able to sense things about people. It went out of wack for a while after the accident but now it’s back stronger than ever.”
He looked at Issy curiously. “What else do you sense about me?“
“I know you’re scared. That you think you’ll be incapable of loving someone again, even though you know you do want to. You’re frustrated because you’ve pushed your friends and colleagues away and you don’t know how to get them back. I know that after she was killed, you thought about joining her, you didn’t see a purpose to your life because you couldn’t save her. You probably even went as far as holding the knife to your skin but you couldn’t bring yourself to make the cut. I know that……that you’ve started to crave contact again but you don’t know how to initiate it. And that’s why you’re here now.”
Spencer stared at Issy with his mouth wide open. “You definitely should come and work with me at the BAU.“
"BAU? You’re FBI?”
He nodded and then spent the next thirty minutes telling her about his job. Issy could tell he loved his work, he became so animated and seemed like a different person gesturing with his hands and even smiling. He had a very nice smile, one that lit his dark eyes right up. Spence talked quickly, spewing facts and figures about serial killers, profiling and cases and Issy found herself genuinely interested.
“I’m sorry, I’m rambling,” he stopped, taking a sip of his coffee which by now must be cold.
“You’re not. It’s interesting, and if I’m going to help you then we should probably get to know each other a bit better anyway.”
“Tell me about you then,” he asked, fidgeting with his hands.
“I’m pretty much an open book now. I’m twenty five, I enjoy my job at the bar and I love singing. I still have my bad days where I don’t want to be around anyone, or where a certain memory takes over and I feel sad again but music and singing have helped me a lot. Music means so much to me and I love taking a piece of music and playing with it. It amazes me how changing the timing or key of a song can give it such a different emotion. And how lyrics can mean so many different things to different people.”
“That last song you sung, it’s weird but it felt like you singing it just to me. I know that sounds strange.” He looked away from her.
“It doesn’t, not at all. Certain songs speak to people in different ways. And I did feel drawn to you that night in the bar. In fact that wasn’t even going to be my closing song, but I changed it at last minute.” Issy had been working on Undisclosed Desires for a while, playing with the tone and the key until it sounded almost like a difference song. That night was the first time she’d sung it.
“What was the original song?”
“Closer.” Spencer’s eyes widened and Issy giggled. “Not the one you’re thinking off, although that’s a pretty interesting song lyrically. It was the Kings of Leon song.”
“I don’t think I know it. I only know of the Nine Inch Nails song. Why do say it’s interesting? Isn’t it just wanting to have sex with someone?"
Iss shook her head. "Nope it’s not as black and white as that. It is about sex, but not for the purposes of lust. You should listen to it again. In fact, I’ll burn you a CD to take home with you. Songs that I think will speak to you in someway.”
“Okay. So, erm…. This exposure therapy thing. How do you wanna do it? And how far do you wanna go?"
He looked thoughtful. "How did you do it?”
“Well initially, my friend just started off holding my hand and letting me get comfortable with that, and then we worked up to hugging and sharing a bed.”
“Sharing a bed?"
"Not like that, not with her. Although we did kiss, just because I was terribly nervous. And when I was ready for the other stuff, we found someone else to help me.”
“Was that weird?”
“Weird as hell the first few times. I’d been with Adam since I was 17. And before him, I’d only been with one other person. It’s strange though. I used to associate sex with love. Now it’s a way of release. I’m sure when the right person comes along then it will be loving and sweet and stuff, but now it’s….. Well it can help me forget. It makes me feel good. And there’s definitely times when I need that.”
He nodded, a flush forming on his cheeks. “I’ve forgotten what feeling good is like.”
“Then I can try to help you remember?"
"Why are you offering to do this? What do you get out of it?"
Issy thought about her answer carefully. "I get the knowledge that I’ve helped someone move on with their life. Helped someone find themselves again and maybe made a new friend along the way?"
"And if I wanted help with everything? In-including the stuff you, erm couldn’t do with your friend?” Spencer’s cheeks reddened.
“I thought I was clear Spencer, I am prepared to help with everything if that’s what you want or need. It’s just sex…. And you’re an attractive guy, it’s not like I’d be putting myself out. It’d be an mutually beneficial arrangement. You learn to move on and break down your walls and I, well without wanting to be crude, I get to feel good for a bit.”
He looked uncomfortable, shifting on the couch.
“Spencer, we can just start with the hand holding and stuff, so you can go back to being normal with your friends. We don’t have to do anything more.”
“Okay. Let’s start there.”
By the time Spencer got home he was physically and emotionally exhausted. It was only 7pm but Issy had needed to work. He knew he could have gone and sat in the bar too but he felt like he’d pushed himself far enough today.
He couldn’t believe how connected he felt to the girl. She was younger than him but seemed old before her time. In the afternoon he’d spent with her, he’d discovered more about her and had learnt that despite the intense sadness she’d experienced with the loss of her partner, she still managed to have a positive outlook and was managing to live her life the way she wanted to.
She was so open, not really getting embarrassed about things the way he did and he could sense that he could tell her anything and she wouldn’t judge him. He hadn’t felt this kind of connection with anyone since Maeve but it felt wrong to him that he was feeling it. It hadn’t been that long after all.
When he’d asked her what else she had sensed about him, his jaw had dropped. She’d read him like a book right down to the detail of him pressing a blade to his wrist but not being to actually make the incision. She had better profiling skills than him and it just came completely naturally to her.
As the afternoon had gone on, he’d wanted to try the exposure therapy she’d offered. It was, what had bought him to the bar in search of her in the first place. After returning from a case and completing his paperwork early he’d been dismissed and had found himself wandering the streets again. He’d been thinking about her offer of help for the last three weeks but it was only when Penelope had made a move to touch his arm earlier today and he’d found himself flinching away again, that he’d made the decision to do something about it.
When the discussion of how far the therapy could go had arose he’d been surprised when she’d commented that she was willing to do everything, sex now not being a big deal to her. Although his own sexual experiences were few and far between, he had always associated the act of intercourse as something to do with the person you loved, and she’d agreed that she’d shared the same view until she’d lost her Adam. Now she viewed it differently, as simply a way to feel good about herself or a way to get lost, immersing herself in someone else. And that view was interesting.
As promised, she’d burned him a CD and he pulled a small portable player into the bathroom with him as he drew himself a hot bath. Climbing in, he hit the play button listening to the songs she’d chosen for him, his eyes closed.
He could still feel the burn of her skin on him from where she’d gently held his hand when he’d told her wanted to begin today. It was the most physical contact he’d allowed in a long time and when she’d first touched his wrist lightly with her fingers, he’d had to stop himself snatching his wrist away and bolting through he door.
The first song clicked on and he checked the CD case she’d given him, the track listing hurriedly written out in small neat print. Greenday: Macys Day Parade. She’d asked him to write down his interpretations of the songs she’d given him, homework of a sort. He’d heard this song before in his youth, but had never really stopped to think of the meaning behind it.
Listening to it now years later, it seemed like it was about making difficult choices, deciding where to go and what to do with your life.
He stroked his wrist, where her hand had lain on it as she’d gently soothed to him that she wasn’t going to hurt him and that she’d stop at anytime. He’d explained to her one of his theories about why he found physical affection so hard now. Maeve’s killer, Diane, had been the last person to touch him (aside from the brief hugs he’d allowed his colleagues immediately after) with any sort of affection, although it was all misplaced feelings. She hugged him, kissed him, and then put a bullet through her own head and that of the girl he’d been certain he’d spend the rest of his life with. He’d now begin to think that it was her touching him in the way she had and then doing what she did which had caused the reactions in his head. Isolde had agreed with his theory, saying that it made sense. Misplaced affection followed by immense violence could definitely fuck your thoughts up.
She’d distracted him with tales of her childhood telling him about her brother and her growing up in a farmhouse on the outskirts of Virginia. As she gently stroked his wrist and slowly slipped her hand into his palm interlacing her fingers with his own, she’d told him how her mom had died when she was only seven and her brother ten. Her father not being able to cope had moved the family in with his older sister and her husband, abandoning them six months later and never returning. Spencer himself had suffered a similar instance of abandonment when his father had upped and left him and his mom, leaving him alone to deal with his mom’s issues.
He’d found himself watching Issy’s thumb intently when it rubbed lightly on the the back of his hand as she’d told him stories about her and her cousin and close friend Anna roaming through the woods near her Aunt and Uncle’s home, building forts and having camp outs. Although the circumstances that had put her and her brother in their care were tragic, she’d genuinely enjoyed her childhood, speaking of her Aunt and Uncle fondly. She still saw them once a month for a family dinner, driving the sixty miles distance and spending the weekend if she could.
A few songs later he realised he must be listening to “Closer”, the song Iss had said she’d origianlly planned on ending on. She definitely had interesting taste in music, this song sounding eerie and dramatic. He couldn’t imagine a female voice singing it but then again she had such a beautiful voice he figured she could probably turn it to anything. A line stood out to him; “You shimmy-shook my boat, Leaving me stranded all in love on my own.” This was how he felt. Stranded in love, with someone who couldn’t love him back because she wasn’t there.
After Issy had held his hand for about an hour and he’d finally got used to the sensation he had tentatively asked her if he could try hugging her. She’d balked at first saying that she thought it was too soon and that he should take little steps, but he’d insisted, wanting to get it over and done with. Now he’d made his decision to move on, he didn’t want to wait. He turned to her on the couch, crossing his own legs underneath him so they sat with their knees almost touching each other, but not quite.
Turned out she was right as the moment she’d leant in and put an arm around his neck, he started to panic. Not a full blown panic attack by any means but his breathing had quickened and his chest had felt tight. All he could see was Diane leaning into him instead, blocking his view of Maeve.
Isolde had immediately pulled away, sitting right back in her seat and not touching him at all. “Breathe Spencer, there’s no threat. It’s just me. You’re doing so well.” He’d closed his eyes, his fists clenched, fighting the urge to leave.
“Try again please.“
"Are you sure?”
He nodded, his eyes still closed. She tried differently this time, inching closer to him on the couch and instead placing her hands on his shoulders. She left them there for a few minutes, letting him adjust to the closeness. She started to hum and he could feel himself relaxing, his breathing slowing.
“Hold back the river, let me look in your eyes
Hold back the river so I,
Can stop for a minute and see where you hide
Hold back the river, hold back”
He slowly opened his eyes looking at her deep blue ones, her sweet singing voice soothing him.
“There you are. You okay?”
He nodded at her, wrestling with himself and winning he moved his own arms, resting his hands on the curve of her waist. He was shaking as he did it, but he still managed it. If she could feel him trembling she didn’t show it, just smiling at him and saying again how well he was doing. She moved her hands slowly across his shoulders, leaning in carefully and linking her hands behind his neck, their knees now touching as well. His fingers dug in to her waist with dertermination as he willed himself to remain calm. She wasn’t Maeve and she wasn’t Diane, she wasn’t going to hurt him.
Iss pulled away from suddenly, climbing to her feet. “Stand up Spencer.”
He did as she instructed.
“I’m going to put my arms around your neck again okay and lean in for a proper hug. Hug me back if you can. Just remember, I’m not her. I’m not Maeve and I’m not Diane. I’m Iss.”
She stood on her tiptoes leaning in and linking her arms around his neck, pressing her body against his. His heart was hammering so loudly he was sure she could hear it. He forced himself to put his arms around her waist, feeling her head settle on his shoulder. Although she was wearing a thick hoody, he could feel the warmth of her against him, the feel of another body in his personal space.
This wasn’t so bad he’d thought to himself. He could do this.He linked his arms across the base of her spine drawing her closer, feeling her soft curves. He wasn’t sure but if felt like her heartbeat had sped up too.
It was only when she moved her hands to his hair that he pulled away, the move startling him somewhat.
“Sorry,” she apologised profusely afterwards. “One step too much.”
She glanced at her wall clock. “Spence, I need to get ready for work” Her using the shortened version of his name not bothering him at all. “Let me just burn this CD for you.”
She pulled open her laptop which was on the floor to the side of the couch, popping a CD into the slot. A few minutes later she was done, hurridly scribbling out a track listing as well.
“Listen to this, text me your thoughts and feelings on the songs. Call me anytime you need to, and we’ll make arrangements to meet again. You did so well today, better than the first time I tried it. I freaked out and slapped Anna the first time she tried to hug me.” She laughed at what was a funny memory now, but must have been horrible for her then.
He’d left not long after that, promising to text or call her.
Another song flicked on, another Muse one by the sounds of it.
“Fear, and panic in the air
I want to be free
From desolation and despair
And I feel like everything I sow
Is being swept away
When I refuse to let you go
I can’t get it right
Get it right
Since I met you
Loneliness be over
When will this loneliness be over
Life will flash before my eyes
So scattered almost
I want to touch the other side
And no one thinks they are to blame
Why can’t we see
That when we bleed we bleed the same
I can’t get it right
Get it right
Since I met you
Loneliness be over
When will this loneliness be over
Loneliness be over
When will this loneliness be over”
Oh god, he wanted the loneliness to be over so badly.