This article originally ran in 2013. With a new Nine Inch Nails EP about to drop, here’s to another generation of kids getting “corrupted” and freaking their parents out.
When I was 12, my friend Chris and I started writing lyrics together. We never had a game plan or anything (neither of us played any instruments at the time) — these were just melodies we would sing in private to make each other feel cool. As far as the music itself went, it was 1996, so we pretty much got into whatever was on mainstream rock radio, which meant a lot of Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains, and, of course, Nine Inch Nails. I don’t think either of us owned The Downward Spiral, as “Closer” was ubiquitously controversial enough that our parents knew better than to let us purchase it. But we did own two separate copies of Pretty Hate Machine, and we were drawn to a track that had the potential to be equally controversial had it ever gotten any airplay.
The song was called “The Only Time”, and in addition to the sleazy porno bass line, it had the lyrics “Lay my hands on Heaven and the sun and the moon and the stars/ While the Devil wants to fuck me in the back of his car.” As 12-year-old boys, we naturally thought this shit was the coolest. So when we began penning our own words, we went straight for the jugular, coming up with things that we just knew would get us in trouble should our parents ever stumble across them. Sample Keep Reading