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The Wretched

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"The Wretched"
Album: The Fragile
Length: 4:21
Tempo: 140 BPM
Versions: The Wretched
The Wretched (Version)
The Wretched (And All That Could Have Been)
Live: Fragility v1.0 through present


"The Wretched" is the fourth track on the Left disc of The Fragile.

The bridge of the song contains a sample of radio interference often confused with whispered lyrics. It can be heard clearer in Keith Hillebrandt's remix of the song on Things Falling Apart.[1]

Screenshot of Nord Modular effects patch setup used in "The Wretched" published on nin.com during The Fragile era.

Contents

Appearances

Halos

Seeds

Versions

The Wretched

This is the original album version. Characterized by a simple drum machine loop and a low-octave piano melody backed by deep atmospheric synthesizers, the verses feature Reznor spitting out the vocals, soon joined by a distorted guitar melody. The repeated lyric, "It didn't turn out the way you wanted it to, did it?" builds into the chorus, where a new, quickly ascending guitar riff and a different drum patch and loop accompany the shouted vocals. New atmospheric loops join the re-entry of the verse motifs, which lead into a repetition of the chorus. The song's bridge consists of trading distorted guitar riffs above the verse drum patch and atmosphere, which give way to a simple melody. The chorus soon returns with a wah guitar solo on top, bring in the return of the chorus vocals, this time with Reznor interjecting between repetitions of "now, you know/this is what it feels like." After the final repetition, the verse atmospheres and drum loop return for a fading denouement and return of the bridge melody. The vinyl edition of The Fragile has an extended ending, playing out much like it does live on And All That Could Have Been: instead of the beat fading out under the melody as on the CD, it repeats four times and then stops, allowing the melody to repeat once more.

The Wretched (Version)

This remix starts with a very bassy intro before building to a loud, drum-heavy second verse. It eventually breaks down to just a guitar and the lyrics "Now you know/This is what it feels like" before building again towards the end, which drops back to the elements used in the intro along with what appears to be a live version of the end of the song from a concert in the distance.

Song Credits

The Wretched (And All That Could Have Been)

This live version is performed very similarly to the album version, but includes Jerome Dillon playing a tom-based beat on top of the electronic loop. During the bridge, Reznor whispers the lines "There is a place / In the back of my mind / Where I used to try."

Live

Coming soon.

Lyrics

    Just a reflection
    Just a glimpse
    Just a little reminder
    Of all the what abouts
    And all the might have
    Could have beens
    Another day
    Some other way
    But not another reason to continue
    And now you're one of us
    The Wretched
    
    The hopes and prays
    The better days
    The far aways
    Forget it
    
    It didn't turn out the way you wanted it to
    It didn't turn out the way you wanted it, did it?
    It didn't turn out the way you wanted it to
    It didn't turn out the way you wanted it, did it?
    
    Now you know
    This is what it feels like
    Now you know
    This is what it feels like
    
    The clouds will part
    And the sky cracks open
    And God Himself
    Will reach His fucking arm through
    Just to push you down
    Just to hold you down
    Stuck in this hole
    With the shit and the piss
    And it's hard to believe
    It could come down to this
    Back at the beginning
    Sinking
    Spinning
    
    And in the end
    We still pretend
    The time we spend
    Not knowing when
    You're finally free
    And you could be
    
    But it didn't turn out the way you wanted it to
    It didn't turn out quite the way that you wanted it
    
    Now you know
    This is what it feels like
    Now you know
    This is what it feels like
    
    You can try to stop it but it keeps on coming
    You can try to stop it but
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