"Mr. Self Destruct" as written by and Trent Reznor....
I am the voice inside your head (and I control you)
I am the lover in your bed (and I control you)
I am the sex that you provide (and I control you)
I am the hate you try to hide (and I control you)

I take you where you want to go
I give you all you need to know
I drag you down, I use you up
Mr. Self Destruct

I speak religion's message clear (and I control you)
I am denial guilt and fear (and I control you)
I am the prayers of the naive (and I control you)
I am the lie that you believe (and I control you)

I take you where you want to go
I give you all you need to know
I drag you down I use you up
Mr. Self Destruct

You let me do this to you (I am the exit)
You let me do this to you (I am the exit)
You let me do this to you (I am the exit)
You let me do this to you (I am the exit)
You let me do this to you (I am the exit)
You let me do this to you (I am the exit)
You let me do this to you (I am the exit)
You let me do this to you (I am the exit)

I am the needle in your vein
I am the high you can't sustain
I am the pusher, I'm a whore
I am the need you have for more

I am the bullet in the gun (and I control you)
I am the truth from which you run (and I control you)
I am the silencing machine (and I control you)
I am the end of all your dreams (and I control you)

I take you where you want to go
I give you all you need to know
I drag you down, I use you up
Mr. Self Destruct

I take you where you want to go
I give you all you need to know
I drag you down, I use you up
Mr. Self Destruct


Lyrics submitted by implode

"Mr. Self Destruct" as written by Trent Reznor

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Mr. Self Destruct song meanings
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78 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentThis is one of the songs that forced me to confront the ugly reality of my narcissism. My self-love, which is just a mask for my self-hate, has turned me into a largely unaware monster of sorts. Years of seemingly arbitrary fuck-ups, dashed relationships, and eventual desires for self-destruction are the hallmarks of this condition. Leave it to a narcissist to ramble on about his own problems though, eh?

    Anyway, I wonder whether the narrator of this song and other songs from The Downward Spiral ever considered himself to be a narcissist. We all have our dark passengers of sorts, but some of us never realize it until it's too late.
    swollen uvulaon October 25, 2007   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI read through almost every post on here thinking "man, I can't wait to get my interpretation out there" only to find it got put finely only a week or so ago. The fact that the song has a different meaning to anyone proves it: it's about self-destruction in general, or more specifically, the self-destructive "drive" within the "character" of the album. That becomes apparant in the very first lyric of the song, "I am the voice inside your head."

    I always viewed the first and last track on the album as kind of an intro/outro to the album, with the self-titled song being the sort of creative climax where the overall sound and everything perfectly gets the tone of the album, the idea of being "dragged down and used up."

    From Piggy to Reptile I always saw those songs as the real "meat" of the album, following the evolution of "the" self destructive person from love, to religion, to sex, to society, and to bringing out the overall dark side of a person. then with "big man with a gun" I always saw it as a run-in with the law, and A Warm Place is the contemplative and introspective state that one enters after those situations. after that state people often try to "erase" their old selves (sometimes even programs like AA/NA), only to relapse, as shown in Reptile.

    In conclusion, I basically agree with those who said that this song is like an introduction that shows what is to come. It's probably my favorite off of the album along with Hurt, which I always saw as kind of the epilogue, with the end being most important. "If I could start again, a million miles away, I would keep myself, I would find a way..." and that horrible chord that's played over it expresses much more than any words could have.

    ...man, I ramble.
    Azuriteon July 17, 2007   Link
  • +4
    Song MeaningI was just reading a book today that said there are such things as bad and good interpetations. Saying this song is just about drugs is like saying Brokeback Mountain is just about gay sex. To me the interpetation of this song is about humanizing a self destructive nature. Some people have already said this. I think to get the meaning you have to remove yourself from the song entirely. I tend to view it from a psychological perspective. Everything in this song seems to point to the ego. The way it controls you and takes you where you want to go. The idea of the ego goes along nicely with this song. The Guy Ritchie film Revolver does a really good job of showing a visual interpetation of how the ego manifests itself. It keeps saying you as in the self and the I is the ego. The lover in your bed is a reflection of the ego. Without it the ego feels hurt and insecure and so you the self does. It controls you. The funny thing is Trent could've had no knowledge of ego and still wrote this song just based of the interpetations of his feelings.
    Ghettoninjaon January 05, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song acts as the introduction of one of the greatest villains in my opinion, Mr. Self-Destruct/the Ruiner/the distorted voice in his head/whatever you wanna call it. Mr. Self-Destruct is symbolic, the embodiment of all our sins, our dark side if you will. To me, this is general: he exists in ALL of us, not just one person, and we all fight him on a daily basis. Indeed it is tempting to let him take over, everyone wants to embrace their alter-ego in one way or another (you let me do this to you, I am an exit) and when we give in, he gains more control over us. All the verses describe everything he is, essentially, all the elements of the sins he cashes in on. Ultimately, his motivation is to "drag us down and use us up", pretty much run our lives into the ground.
    HammerFloydon September 25, 2011   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI thought it was about cats...
    philosphaton February 05, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think its more about any addiction, though the only thing we ever really think about addiction in relation to is drugs. You could just as easily be addicted to sex or religion or anything else, and the lyrics make just as much sense.
    Raistlinon July 20, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIts a good song. But there is one thign with this site, not every song happens to be about drugs. I mean even fuel by Metallica, which is clearly about James' passion for racing, is slandered as a drug song.

    Anyways back to the meaning, i think it's about how he is in a relationship with someone, and she is threatening to break up and his argument is "You cant live without me! i'm all you ever relied apon"

    Then again, it might be about drugs, it's whatever the song means to you :P
    dorepollon June 30, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think this song is about a person who's subconscience is driving themself crazy...he's self destructing....and the only thing that helps is drug use (you let me do this to you.....i am an exit).
    mr.self destructon February 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSelf-hate. It's also a warning, in my mind, to others to stay away from the wreck he has become.
    randygophron April 29, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think its a warning of vices, dont let them become you..very cool song...
    HalfLifeSuicideon April 30, 2002   Link

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