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1,001 songs to listen to before you die...


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Yeah. While sometimes the book's decision to go with a less recognizable song by an artist rather than their biggest one doesn't quite work for me, "Into Dust" over "Fade Into You" (another great song) is a wonderful call. I definitely had "Fade Into You" in my music library for a long time and I don't even know when the first time I heard "Into Dust" was (it would have been either turning up on shuffle after I bought the album or on an internet radio station) but it blew me away and is a playlist favorite of mine now.

12 hours ago, RPS said:

As a kid, I loved the song Loser by Beck. 

As an adult, I think it is a good but not excellent song and I have no idea why it is considered one of Beck's best songs. 

It's an interesting one in that I think Beck has a lot of better songs, including better ones from the same period/style he was using in the mid-'90s, but I do think that "Loser" captures a moment in mid-'90s alternative really well, and does it in a way that's aged a lot better than a lot of the other songs that used a lot of those same elements (apathetic white guy rap, vague self-loathing) hasn't.

Like, it's definitely not a song I ever want to go out of my way to listen to but I can get why it's ended up as one of the representatives of that period of music.

EDIT: Also, to bounce back to "Deep Cover," IMO that song is included both because of its significance as a Dre/Snoop collab but also because that song is good as fuck. Some of their tradeoffs in there are as good as anything either of them have ever done.

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No update, but this is just a thank you to everyone who has got involved with this. Been a really enjoyable way to spend my time and look forward to finishing things off at the start of 2021.

In a perfect world, I'd have wrapped this all up in a year. I still could...yet my wife is due to give birth on Monday/Tuesday, so my priorities might be somewhere else for a little while. I appr

Liam really summarized Love Will Tear Us Apart brilliantly. I love that song, it helped get me through basic training (obviously I had to play it my head, thank you Andy Dufresne).  I personally

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I'm 100% Team Fade Into You when it comes to Mazzy Star, it's just impossibly gorgeous. An all-time favourite of mine.

Stereolab are a band I've liked everything I've ever heard from, but never known where to start. They have a lot of albums, and without ever really had a big iconic hit, it's hard to know where to dive in. I worked in a record shop once, and the owner was a major influence on my tastes for a long time - he was big into psychedelia, and a lot of jangly '80s indie pop, and had some really rare Syd Barrett stuff, but above all else he was (and is) the biggest Stereolab fan I've ever met. 50% of the time I go in there, chances are he's listening to a Stereolab bootleg or side-project. He'd go and see them every time they were on tour. They always struck me as an odd band to inspire that kind of passion, but they are lovely.

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"Deep Cover" is an extremely good song. Hard to top from Dre or Snoop to be honest.

"Into Dust" is a great stealth Mazzy Star inclusion. I love "Fade Into You" but going with their other song that might actually be better is a really solid inclusion even if, like happens so often in this book, it is kind of done to make it look and feel "smarter" than just going with the big hits.

I mostly like Beck and "Loser" is probably in the upper middle of my favorite songs of his. I think @GoGo Yubari described best what keeps it significant.

I have never really delved into Stereolab. I've heard some of their songs and it's always because they're adjacent to something else I'm into. And everytime I more or less go "hey I should check them out" and then I don't.

 

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786.      

‘Rid of Me’, PJ Harvey (1993)

I’ve heard a lot about PJ Harvey but have never been compelled to go and check her out. This is definitely an interesting introduction as the first song on her debut big label record and one in which she very openly threatens to torture someone who had done her wrong. Her vocals are completely unhinged in the best possible way, all building up to bursts of frenzied drums and guitars. She apparently aimed to show she was more than just your usual big label female singer – she definitely achieved that.

787.      

‘Laid’, James (1993)

Influenced by: Orange Crush • R.E.M. (1988)  

Influence on: Glass of Water • Coldplay (2008)   

Covered by: Matt Nathanson (2003) • Better Than Ezra (2005)   

Other key tracks: Sit Down (1989) • Come Home (1990) • She’s a Star (1997)

A song about sexual desire and violence, this was a song that saw James have some modicum of success in the US alongside charting in the UK. There is an effortless breeziness to the noise from the moment the initial drums hit and it is all done and dusted at around two and a half minutes making it over before it ever threatens to overstay its welcome. Simply a really good song in my opinion.

788.      

‘Open Up’, Leftfield-Lydon (1993)

Influenced by: Burn Hollywood Burn • Public Enemy (1990)   

Influence on: Firestarter • Prodigy (1996)   

Other key tracks: Release the Pressure (1992) • Song of Life (1993) • Afro-Left (1995) • Original (1995) • 21st Century Poem (1995)

I’ve already mentioned how I don’t particularly care too much for Lydon and his vocal stylings, yet they do really work when placed alongside Leftfield’s electronic onslaught. There is a dancey groove underpinning everything, though the waves of noise begin to approach the tone of alternative/rock songs, making this another interesting collaboration between styles. The best thing Lydon has done on the list by my reckoning, though I might be on an island with that suggestion.

789.      

‘Possession’, Sarah Maclachlan (1993)

Influenced by: Desire • Talk Talk (1988)   

Influence on: You Oughta Know • Alanis Morissette (1995)   

Covered by: Transfer (2001) • Evans Blue (2006) • Smile Empty Soul (2007)

As much as this song is really good in and of itself, the story that goes alongside it is interesting. Rather than a song about love, this is about a stalkerish fan, based off of letters that Maclachlan used to get from some of her more unhinged supporters. This even saw one of the kill themselves not too long after this song was released. The video was also banned in the US, though I can only assume it was a different one to the video in the link… Pleasant female singer/songwriter fare.

790.      

‘Cannonball’, The Breeders (1993)

Another tune here that I vaguely recognise – I think it is the guitar line as much as anything – yet I can’t entirely place it. I’m assuming it ended up on a film soundtrack as it has 90s teen comedy written all over it. In some ways, that feels like damning with faint praise, yet I feel it is the fun vibe that is created within the song that leads to that belief. If not, this joins ‘Waterfall’ by The Stone Roses as a song that needs to be used on an opening montage to something. A real mix of musical moments, discordance and melody, though they all come together to create a really catchy song.

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There used to be a show on MVT called the, it featured on one of their skits. I love that song though, another song where you hear it and you're like "Yep, thats the 90s". Great band really. 

Oh shit I know that song Laid. My wife plays it a lot, I like it.

 

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I can't be doing with a lot of this early 90s rock, to be perfectly honest with you. Sure, Nirvana are great, so are Soundgarden. On the UK side you have the Manic Street Preachers and Suede, sure. But so much of the other guitar music we've been seeing in the last couple of years is decidedly second rate. Beck and James and the Breeders and all that - they aren't bad, but they are second rate.

The Leftfield song is good though.

I might just be a bit too militantly anti-early 90s, though, because when I worked at HMV the shop's management that were around a decade older than me played this stuff ad infinitum. In any case I find a lot of the rock music of the early 90s tired and lacking in ideas, trying to hard to be knowing and ironic and arch without having the tunes to back it up.

There was a lot of great pop music from the 90s that endures, but it is largely not coming from the world of rock music.

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Yeah the rock music from this era is largely weak, and to be honest not a ton of it gets better going forward. Two kinds of concepts in rock music at this point, 1) deliberately looking backwards to a time before arena rock and hair metal, or 2) trying deliberately to be so "different" that it winds up sounding uninspired. A generation of people a few years older than me swear by this stuff but it largely bores me. It's so... disaffected? There's no stakes in their music, just a bunch of people playing music for the sake of playing music.

And it keeps going back to this well instead of a ton of really great and innovative pop, R&B, and hip-hop that came out during this time period.

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Eh I have call to bullshit on the 90s rock being second rate. Atleast the early 90s, a lot of great stuff probably isn't making it on the list, but I think it held its own with any era. I think its memorable, catchy, and a perfect product of its time. We're probably not going to see the really wild shit like Jesus Lizard, Girls Against Boys, Cop Shoot Cop, Shellac, Unsane, etc, great stuff that probably has its place for being different and quite interesting, but falls to the side for the hit singles of the 90s. 

I mean yeah I agree Pearl Jam, STP, Beck, Smashing Pumpkins and that ilk are boring, but I think the 90s were a great time for rock fans. I'll take it over 70s arena rock or 80s hair bands any day of the week. 

Edit - and to be fair, at one time I did think the 90s was not a great era for rock, but I've grown to really enjoy some of the shit on the fringe, you'd see it on MTV or Beavis and Butthead but probably wont hear it on classic stations these days.

Edit 2 - Sorry didn't intend to disagree with a sort of harsh choice of words. I mean I do disagree but I wont call bullshit.

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I really like Pearl Jam and STP. Just putting that out there...

791.      

‘C.R.E.A.M.’, Wu-Tang Clan (1993)

I don’t know too much about the ins and outs when it came to rap from different places in the US, but the book suggests that this was a fair step away from what Dre and Snoop were beginning to offer from California. Sparser, bleaker, less about the bitches and bling, it was earthier in nature. I do particularly like the repeated sample and piano that sets the backdrop for a tale about drug dealing and its necessity as a means for some to survive days on the street. I may not know much, but I do know I enjoyed this.

792.      

‘Because the Night’, 10,000 Maniacs (1993)

It is odd to see a cover version from an Unplugged set make its way onto the list, but there is little denying that it is a great song, both before and after this version. Written by Bruce Springstreen and tinkered with by Patti Smith, this was then 10,000 Maniacs biggest hit. Natalie Merchant has a vocal style that I enjoy, which the acoustic setting naturally allows to shine, alongside the quality of the original song. Everything builds into a really thumping chorus that loses none of its power by removing the electric element.

793.      

‘Ching söörtükchülerining yryzy’, Huun-Huur-Tu (1993)

live version

Tuva throat singing is next on the list and it is a selection that is here primarily to showcase the broad spectrum that music has to offer outside of the popular music charts. Your mileage may vary about whether you enjoy the song or not, but the mix of skill and tradition is laudable and engaging in equal measure for me.

794.       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DI-DRbf_AZk

‘It Ain’t Hard To Tell’, Nas (1994)

In my brief dalliances into rap, Nas has always been a rapper that I have particularly enjoyed. I’m not entirely sure why, but there was a mixture of an impressive rapping ability and judicious use of samples and backing music that probably did it for me. This was apparently his first real hit at the age of 20 and includes a sample from ‘Human Nature’ by Michael Jackson for good measure. He has better songs, yet this is nicely representative of what he was capable of at a young age.

795.      

‘Inner City Life’, Goldie presents Metalheads (1994)

This is the official music video version, though the song on the album is turned into a 3 part, 21 minute long piece. As a UK music fan, I’ve always somewhat wonder what Goldie ever actually did to become famous or to have such longevity. This at least goes some way to helping me understand as this is a banger of a tune. Goldie sought out to create a drum and bass sound that was more uplifting than the darker stuff that was in the scene at the time and the mix of strings and soaring female vocals does just that.

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2 hours ago, metalman said:

I can't be doing with a lot of this early 90s rock, to be perfectly honest with you. Sure, Nirvana are great, so are Soundgarden. On the UK side you have the Manic Street Preachers and Suede, sure. But so much of the other guitar music we've been seeing in the last couple of years is decidedly second rate. Beck and James and the Breeders and all that - they aren't bad, but they are second rate.

The Leftfield song is good though.

I might just be a bit too militantly anti-early 90s, though, because when I worked at HMV the shop's management that were around a decade older than me played this stuff ad infinitum. In any case I find a lot of the rock music of the early 90s tired and lacking in ideas, trying to hard to be knowing and ironic and arch without having the tunes to back it up.

There was a lot of great pop music from the 90s that endures, but it is largely not coming from the world of rock music.

 

1 hour ago, damshow said:

Yeah the rock music from this era is largely weak, and to be honest not a ton of it gets better going forward. Two kinds of concepts in rock music at this point, 1) deliberately looking backwards to a time before arena rock and hair metal, or 2) trying deliberately to be so "different" that it winds up sounding uninspired. A generation of people a few years older than me swear by this stuff but it largely bores me. It's so... disaffected? There's no stakes in their music, just a bunch of people playing music for the sake of playing music.

And it keeps going back to this well instead of a ton of really great and innovative pop, R&B, and hip-hop that came out during this time period.

These posts articulate my feelings about rock from this era very well. There's not a lot from those few years that does much for me at all.

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I bloody love The Breeders. One of the best live acts I've ever seen. But there's a lot of other tosh in these lists now, aside from the emergence of hip-hop and R&B as a genuine force.

I actually quite like Natalie Merchant, but that 10,000 Maniacs track making the list is a headscratcher.

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796.      

‘End of a Century’, Blur (1994)

Influenced by: End of the Season • The Kinks (1967)   

Influence on: Modern Way • Kaiser Chiefs (2005)  

Covered by: Squeeze (1995)   

Other key tracks: Popscene (1992) • For Tomorrow (1993) • Girls & Boys (1994) • This Is a Low (1994) • To the End (1994) • The Universal (1995)

This feels somewhat like a deliberately controversial choice when ‘Girls & Boys’ seems like the song you’d expect from Blur and this album in general. However, this song’s popularity on places such as last.fm are cited as a reason as to why it was chosen, alongside the subject matter – the mundanity of a relationship towards the end of a century. To give them their credit, they make it sound more fun than it is as the tune is uplifting even as the lyrics don’t always paint the prettiest picture.

797.      

‘Connection’, Elastica (1994)

Influenced by: Three Girl Rhumba • Wire (1977)  

 Influence on: Sing Back Connection • Moloko vs. Elastica (2007)  

Covered by: Talbot Tagora (2008)   

Other key tracks: Stutter (1993) • Line Up (1994) • Waking Up (1994) • Car Song (1995)

Oh, it is this song. I couldn’t work out what the song was from the title or the band alone, yet the moment the guitar kicked in at the start, it was clear. Apparently there was a fair bit of controversy about the possible plagiarism within this song as Wire’s publishers sued and were given an out of court settlement before the song was released. Noisy, but with pop sensibilities, it isn’t hard to see the allure of this song and why it has ended up on a million TV shows and adverts in the years that followed.

798.      

‘Confide In Me’, Kylie Minogue (1994)

Influenced by: Justify My Love • Madonna (1990)   

Influence on: Stronger • Sugababes (2002)   

Covered by: The Sisters of Mercy (1997) • Nerina Pallot (2006) • Angtoria (2006) • Noël Akchoté (2007)  

Other key tracks: If You Don’t Love Me (1994) Nothing Can Stop Us (1994)

I genuinely don’t believe I’ve ever heard any Kylie outside of her first lot of incredibly poppy tracks, and her comeback when she was ‘Spinning Around’. This is a world away from her initial pop songs, moving towards a more trip-hop styling, mixing dark and brooding backing music with her high pitched vocals (I stole a lot of the sentiment of this from the book, I’ll be honest – it explained it a lot better than I could). It was definitely a fair bit more ‘artistic’ than what had come before, yet she wasn’t really much of a single/album seller again into 2000. The song is interesting more than exciting as far as I’m concerned – it also has that slightly Bond-esque element to it that I quite enjoy.

799.      

‘Your Ghost’, Kristin Hersh featuring Michael Stipe (1994)

Influenced by: Hymn • Patti Smith Group (1979)   

Influence on: E-Bow the Letter • R.E.M. featuring Patti Smith (1996)   

Covered by: Paul Durham (2003) • The McCarricks (2007) • Greg Laswell (2009)

The tone from the moment the song begins is ominous and menacing – Hersh apparently sang notes that didn’t necessarily go with the notes she was playing. The addition of Stipe came from their friendship and his role as a musical overseer of this solo project. Apparently, a rough recording of the song was playing in the background as they were talking, and Hersh realised that Stipe’s vocals were the missing ingredient. It never quite hits the heights for me, though I do like the darker feeling that it evokes with simple vocals, guitar and cello.

800.      

‘Doll Parts’, Hole (1994)

I think I’ve only ever heard ‘Celebrity Skin’ from Hole, so this is at least a chance to delve a little further into that particular band’s output. This was actually written in 1991, a point the book makes to quash suggestions as to Cobain’s influence on the song. It does feel very grunge-y considering that was largely passé at this point, yet it also be why I quite like it. A mix of quiet and loud, vocals that build ever angrier, and a possible commentary on celebrity as a whole lyrically make this a fine piece of music.

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One of my favorite Blur songs. A really surprising addition because it feels like one of their "deep cuts" but I guess it's done extremely well growing in popularity in the decades since.

That Elastica is a classic 90s guitar pop song that basically exists for a catchy riff and not much else.

I had never heard this Kylie Minogue song before (she's not a big deal in the US) but, man, that's a strong track. Definitely some strong trip-hop influences it. Might be a bit too long but that's it.

I've never been blown away by "Your Ghost".

Ehhhh... Hole. I don't think they were ever particularly good, especially since they got big the same time Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill were getting big. I guess the importance is always because of the presence of Courtney Love.

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58 minutes ago, metalman said:

Oh Confide In Me is really good, nice that they dropped that in. I like the Eb on the third line of End of a Century, that sounds pretty cool. The rest are songs, you certainly can't deny that.

I randomly heard Confide in Me on the radio the other day for the first time in years, I like Dark Kylie. 

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I really like Your Ghost; its neither's standout track, but it just quietly worms its way into my brain, it feels atmospheric without trying too hard to be.

Confide In Me is great; there's this weird mid-90s trend for pop stars to try and get a bit indie and serious, and start trying to become a bit more Britpop, a bit more grunge, or a bit more trip-hop. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, but this really did.

Doll Parts is probably my favourite Hole song, except maybe Olympia. Nothing particularly to say about it beyond that, though, it's just a good track.

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Just realised we passed 1992 with no Would I Lie To You by Charles & Eddie which is utterly outrageous. Obvs had to step aside to make way for the umpteenth dull American alt rock band that can’t play their instruments or form a basic melody and takes pride in both of these things because they are ironic.

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Honestly, this book does a kind of bad job with the '90s. It's only going to get weirder too, I think.

Anyway, "End of a Century" is the best of what I think are the big four from Parklife (that, "Girls and Boys," "To the End," title track). I was happy to see that get in, I think it plays to Blur's strengths the best.

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801.      

‘7 Seconds’, Yossou N’Dour featuring Neneh Cherry (1994)

This has a sneaky outside bet to be one of my favourite songs of all time, which kinda feels weird to say. It falls into that category of tune which I sometimes forget about – it falls outside of the ‘usual’ music I listen to – but it is so good and every reintroduction is an enjoyable moment. The vocals from both are really strong, the incorporation of multiple languages is effective and promotes Dour’s cultural identity alongside this song that explores the innocence of the first seconds of life. There is a moody and sultry feeling to the overall tune that I’ve always really dug, creating an overall package that I’ve never failed to enjoy.

802.      

‘Live Forever’, Oasis (1994)

Influenced by: Shine a Light • The Rolling Stones (1972)   

Influence on: Club Foot • Kasabian (2004)   

Covered by: The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1997) • Joe Dolan (1999) • Counting Crows (2000) • MGMT (2009)

I was always more of a Blur man in the moment and a Pulp man after the fact, but Oasis were definitely a band who knew how to put together (or steal the main parts of) a catchy tune or two. ‘Live Forever’ is quite low down on my list of their songs – it is always one that it takes me a little while to remember, even though it is very indicative of what they offered. This being their first top 10, it isn’t overly surprising that it ends up on the list ahead of some other choices, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more stuff from them pop up at some point.

803.      

‘Cut Your Hair’, Pavement (1994)

Influenced by: So You Want to be a Rock ’n’ Roll Star • The Byrds (1967)   

Influence on: Could You Wait? • Silkworm (1997)  

Covered by: Airport Girl (2003)  

Other key tracks: Gold Soundz (1994) • Grounded (1995) • Shady Lane (1997) • Stereo (1997)

This seems to make the list as an example of a band who were touted for big things but never quite realised their potential. Having been touted as the ‘next Nirvana’ of all things, the lyrics for ‘Cut Your Hair’ were the band’s attempts to get their head around the musical merry-go-round as they were thrust into the limelight. It is a fairly decent alternative rock/pop song, though it doesn’t do much more than that for me. The singer/writer even stated that the song wasn’t quite the anthem they needed in order to push the band further into the public conscious, so I’m not alone in feeling a little nonplussed.

804.      

‘All Apologies’, Nirvana (1994)

The book does very specifically list the Unplugged version of this song, whilst the song had been kicking around in some form or other since 1990, putting paid to suggestions it acted somewhat like a suicide note considering it came at the end of ‘In Utero’. It is definitely one of my favourite Nirvana songs as it best realises the more accessible sound that Cobain was able to achieve whilst still retaining the rawer edge that made it appeal to alternative music fans. The Unplugged version is a good version of a good song – not much more I can add about that choice.

805.      

‘Hurt’, Nine Inch Nails (1994)

Surely this is all about the impact the song has at the end of ‘The Downward Spiral’ moreso than the quality of the individual song? Not to knock it – it is a good song – but it is the spiral that the album takes you on and this as the end point that makes it so effective as a piece of music. As I’ve said before, I write these as I listen to them, and maybe the opening has somewhat underplayed the power within the song. The emotion is so raw, the lyrics so bleak, the tone so unrelenting even without the usual sonic assault that NIN were known for. Maybe it deserves a fair bit more credit than I gave it.

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"7 Seconds" is a splendid song. The rest are decent to good songs by artists who all did songs that were much better. "Cut Your Hair" is the recognizable Pavement song, sure, but they're an odd group in that a lot of their songs felt like they were all really close to being classics. Anyway I wouldn't pick this song from their catalog as something you absolutely must hear.

Oasis really had those pop hooks down in a way that Blur and Pulp didn't. But catchiness will only get you so far which is basically how I view Oasis when compared to other Britpop groups. Their songs often feel almost lacking in a substance that can be found elsewhere.

Nirvana are a great band and they have so many incredible, off-the-wall influences coupled with Cobain's almost innate pop sensibilities. "All Apologies" is pretty depressing and the Unplugged version even moreso. It's what gets played in all the montages talking about his suicide. It's forever a tragedy we lost Kurt Cobain so young but, eh, I don't like the songs that have been explicitly repurposed as reminders of what we lost.

"Hurt" is kind of in the same vein. I really enjoy NIN and Downward Spiral is a brilliant album, with the perfect song to close it. But this isn't really the NIN song you have to hear. Johnny Cash may have actually done it better. But unlike "All Apologies" at least Trent Reznor beat his demons so this song doesn't carry with it even more added weight.

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I get Hurt is an interesting song, but Closer is a much better song and more representative of Nine Inch Nails. I can distinctly remember the first time I ever heard this song. The song never gets old and I have probably listened to it thousands of time. It is the perfect mix of dance and rock music- I cannot think of another song that even gets closer (hehe) to achieving the pure audio bliss that Reznor achieves here. And it is all the basis for Trent Reznor to tell you he wants to fuck you like an animal and get closer to God. 

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