"Sanctified" is the fourth track on the 1989 release Pretty Hate Machine, recognizable by its electronic tom-based drum beat and distinctive slap bassline, the only NIN song containing that playing technique. Its mood was altered from its happier form on Purest Feeling to a darker, uneasier one for Pretty Hate Machine.
Trent Reznor has said the song is about a "relationship with a crack pipe."
The album version of the song begins with a programmed drum beat featuring prominent toms and atmospheric sounds created by guitar. The body of the song is dominated by a slap bassline atop this atmosphere and drumloop, joined by strumming guitars for the chorus. The bridge features Gregorian chant samples and dialog from the film Midnight Express, though the film sample was excised on the 2010 remaster of Pretty Hate Machine. The end of the song is comprised of a synth pad and a guitar drone (created by Richard Patrick), accompanied by another sample, which lower in pitch and winds down, segueing directly into "Something I Can Never Have." On the 2010 remastered vinyl edition, this song ends the first side; as such, the ending sample is removed, and the descending synth pad fades out.
Sanctified (Live 2013 EP)
Recorded live at Lollapalooza Festival 2013.
Sanctified (Purest Feeling)
The second track on Purest Feeling, the song begins with a shouted four count with drumsticks before hitting into the song. Though the beats and bassline are identical, the song is played slightly faster and all the effects are at a higher octave, giving it a much brighter mood. The samples in the song are also much louder than in the version on Pretty Hate Machine.
Sample in the bridge: Old Man: "He wants to give it a try right now. Give it a try right now!" *car starts* Old Man: "Doesn't that feel good? Now you're ready to go! Hey there? Ready to get in there and get the job done! Live is great! Life is terrific! Thank you God, for another wonderful day."
There is also one minor lyrical change in the last couple of lines.
"I am purified! I am terrified I am sanctified... inside you!"
His screams fade off into the guitar drones which contain more samples, which segue directly into the next song on the album, "Maybe Just Once".
Present on the Demos and Remixes bootleg, it has the same tone as the Pretty Hate Machine version while including some alternate samples, including a shortened version of the "Old Man" sample in the bridge, a few odd noises not present in the final version (such as the "reeeeeeeeeee" at the beginning of the bridge), the alternate lyric at the end, and an odd sample at the very end which concludes with a man saying, "You'll see your life begin to change."
"Sanctified" has been a rarely played song since the Pretty Hate Machine tours, though when it is played, an extended intro is usually played during which Reznor addresses the audience.
The song was resurrected and played live (as an altered version) on the first night of the Nine Inch Nails Live 2013 tour.
It's still getting worse after everything I've tried What if I found a way to wash it all aside What if she touches with those fingertips As the words spill out like fire from her lips If she says come inside I'll come inside for her If she says give it all I'll give everything to her I am justified I am purified I am sanctified Inside you Heaven's just a rumor she'll dispel As she walks me through the nicest parts of Hell I still dream of lips I never should have kissed Well she knows exactly what I can't resist If she says come inside I'll come inside for her If she says give it all I'll give everything to her I am justified I am purified I am sanctified Inside you I'm just caught up in another of her spells She's turning me into someone else Every day I hope and pray that this will end But when I can I do it all again If she says come inside I'll come inside for her If she says give it all I'll give everything to her I am justified I am purified I am sanctified Inside you As surely as the blade's course is run Maybe my kingdom's finally come
The final two lines are only present in the Pretty Hate Machine lyrics booklet.
The following audio sample from the 1978 film Midnight Express can be heard at 3 minutes 19 seconds on the original studio version (but not the 2010 remaster):
Dear mom and dad, This is the hardest letter I've ever had to write. I'd hoped somehow to get out of this quickly so that you'd never have to know about it, but that just isn't possible now. I don't know what's going to happen, but what can I say to you? Will "I'm sorry" make a difference? Will it ease the pain? The shame you must be feeling? Forgive me, please.