In an interview, Reznor stated that he would have liked the song to have been released as a single.
This is the original album version. Characteristic of the band's mid-90s industrial rock sound, it opens with an eerie and quiet machine-like sound collage sampled from the film Leviathan, which transitions into an imitative musical composition. The structure, repetitive in nature, contains three distinct but similar sections, all driven by machine-like percussion loops and undulating rhythm guitar and synthesized bass. The choruses reflect a brighter mood with prominent melodic synthesizers and glimpses of guitar. The three sections are joined by two quiet instrumental breaks, a technique used later on "Even Deeper."
Released by Reznor via his remix.nin.com account, this unmastered instrumental version is identical to the album version, save the lack of vocals and transitions to or from other songs.
This version has more loop layering, no intro, and instrumental choruses after the regular choruses.
Underneath The Skin
This version is a mostly instrumental mix that manipulates many of the rhythmic elements and synthesizers, also adding other layers of loops.
Liar (Reptile Demo)
This demo is relatively the same as the version that found its way onto The Downward Spiral throughout the intro and verses, but the chorus features a more danceable beat and different vocals layered over.
Reptile (And All That Could Have Been)
This live version is an Easter Egg on the DVD version of And All That Could Have Been and is generally more guitar-heavy than the studio version. Reznor is barely audibly whispering "pig" as the intro fades in, showing that the song's place in the tracklist is between "March of the Pigs" and "Piggy." He also adds lyrics during the quiet breaks. It and other hidden content can be found via the "Beneath The Surface" menu hidden on disc two, accessed during "Head Like A Hole" at the 11:20 mark by pressing 7 (or 6 for some copies) on the remote, then Enter.
The song has always been performed with the beep melody as an introduction, though sometimes without the machine loop collage. During the second quiet bridge, Reznor often sings "please don't hurt me," followed by a desperate cry. On the Year Zero Warm-Up Tour, the intro was further extended with a more articulate sound and Reznor whispering over it.
This song was also reworked and featured in the Boston, Massachusetts radio performance, (Peter Murphy, Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jeordie White) on June 23, 2006. The drum loops used in this iteration seem to use the same sound set and a similar beat as those in "The Good Soldier."
She spreads herself wide open to let the insects in She leaves a trail of honey to show me where she’s been She has the blood of reptile just underneath her skin Seeds from a thousand others drip down from within Oh my beautiful liar Oh my precious whore My disease my infection I am so impure Devils speak of the ways in which she'll manifest Angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress Need to contaminate to alleviate this loneliness I now know the depths I reach are limitless Oh my beautiful liar Oh my precious whore My disease my infection I am so impure
After the first chorus, extra words not in the lyrics are spoken. Reznor appears to be saying: