"The Great Below" as written by and Trent Reznor....
Staring at the sea
Will she come?
Is there hope for me
After all is said and done
Anything at any price
All of this for you
All the spoils of a wasted life
All of this for you
All the world has closed her eyes
Tried faith all worn and thin
For all we could have done
And all that could have been

Ocean pulls me close
And whispers in my ear
The destiny I've chose
All becoming clear
The currents have their say
The time is drawing near
Washes me away
Makes me disappear

I descend from grace
In arms of undertow
I will take my place
In the great below

I can still feel you
Even so far away


Lyrics submitted by thewhitepony33

"The Great Below" as written by Trent Reznor

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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The Great Below song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentThe great below starts as though trent is waiting from something, someone, an event. A loved one, a lover, like everything he does is for himself and someone else. He wants so much for them to be a part of this bigger picture. So much is at stake, so much could happen. He could only be happy if....... Then he comes to the realization that it will never be, fuck!, fuck the idea, he has given up all hope, all desire, and yearning. He makes peace with himself and resides himself to the idea that it will never be and outwardly he's ok with that, but still at the end of the song he wants it so much, secretly maybe he wants to belong again, he wants the bigger picture, a perfection. Listen to the melody of the song, and then listen to the words with it.
    my_beautiful_liar_on February 07, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWell, i don't expect anyone to be as big of a fan as me, but he says clearly in an interview that he wrote this song right after the loss of his grandmother, who he was incredibly close to.
    I know the song is about the loss of her, and the rest could technically be interpreted how you want, and again there's usually no wrong or right interpretation to a song. That's why it's called interpretation.
    Yet, "staring at the sea, will she call. Is there hope for me, after all is said and done. etc." is him saying possibly that he might not feel as though he had a meaningful enough life so far in his days.
    "all the world has closed her eyes, tired faith all worn and thin." Being so close with his grandmother, he propably (and again, this is my interpretation) felt that the rest of the world didn't feel the loss like he did, and went on with their lives.
    "For all we could have done, and all that could have been." He most likely felt because of being so busy on the road, etc. like he could have spent so much more time with her, and if things were different, all that could have been between his grandmother and him."
    Now, "ocean pulls me close and whispers in my ear, the destiny of choice, all becoming clear" is him realizing that no matter how bad he felt, he (and only he) was responsible for his own choices, which can never be taken back.
    "the currents have their say, the time is drawing near" is that life takes it's course, and his time will come as well. "washes me away, makes me disappear." he feels his empty soul almost leaving his body temporarily.
    Next, which I feel is the climax in the song, and literally brought me to tears after i lost my grandmother, who i loved so much is the line, "as i descend from grace, in arms of undertow. I will take my place in the great below." He was afraid that if he continued the path he was taking, which again in interview he talks about not being fulfilled and happy at the time (which is a huge reason why he was using drugs so much) which would be descending or becoming farther away from grace and the undertow being life carrying him on his path which maybe he felt was inevitable, due to the popularity of NIN at the time.
    And then the obvious ending line which he repeats, " i can still feel you , even so far away" being him still feeling her soul, even though she was in another place and gone.
    ez2bagon February 07, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree that the song is about what he thinks death is. And how its not really a terrible one... its nothing to fear...

    its peaceful... its like the ocean.
    EmpireOfDirt NINon April 19, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLet's just say i never cried about something that happened in a movie or song...not even when my grand parent died..the only time i ever cry is when my brother beats the shit outta me...

    until i heard this song...so beautiful and fucking good
    NINharryon June 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of my favorite NIN songs. The music, the lyrics, Trent's voice..it all melts together beautifully. I would love to make the video for this song, because I have a perfect idea for it. Besides my idea, though, I wish they had made a video for this song, as well as for 'The Day The World Went Away'.
    the wretchedon February 09, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthey did make a video for the day the world went away, and actually this is a conceptual cd too. both discs together tell a story just in seperate parts...and no, this cd is about hope, not death :)
    Squall02on April 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've always felt that the narrator is already dead and is in hell, waiting for that "she". He chose his paths in life and is fine by it, even though he is "in the great below".
    BrokenSwordon May 18, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have always kinda thought that the fragile was like a follow up to the downward spiral but in the sense that it is the same story as in the downward spiral, just a different take on it.
    KJ__15on September 01, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me, it's about being in love and then being rejected. It's aboutgiving soeone everything even if you don't have that muh to give, and them taking it and leaving. i love this song. i listen o it atleast once a day. normaly more. and yeah, i just relate it to something tat happend. to me. when i hear it i imagin him on a bech at night, waiting for something, well, someone, to come back to him. i know it's not actually about an ocean, it's just the imagry it sets up. loney, dark, beautiful and depressing. i think part about the ocean pulling him close and the arms of undertow is all about getting sucked into depression. and in the end, even afte being rejected, you still love that person.
    Omega_Cryptorchidon September 28, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWaiting

    Nothing in life is sadder than what might have been
    A Staring Elfon March 03, 2003   Link

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