"Ruiner" as written by and Trent Reznor....
You had all of them on your side didn't you?
You believe in all your lies didn't you?
The ruiner's got a lot to prove he's got nothing to lose and now he
Made you believe
The ruiner's your only friend well he's the living end to the cattle
He deceives
The raping of the innocent you know the ruiner ruins everything he
Sees
Now the only pure thing left in my fucking world is wearing your disease
How did you get so big?
How did you get so strong?
How did you get so hard?
How did you get so long?
You had to give them all a sign, didn't you?
You had to covet what was mine, didn't you?
The ruiner's a collector he's an infector serving his shit to his flies
Maybe there will come a day when those that you keep blind will
Suddenly realize
Maybe it's a part of me you took to a place I hoped it would never go
And maybe that fucked me up so much more than you'll ever know
How did you get so big?
How did you get so strong?
How did you get so hard?
How did you get so long?
What you gave to me
My perfect ring of scars
You know I can see what you really are
You didn't hurt me nothing can hurt me
You didn't hurt me nothing can stop me now


Lyrics submitted by implode, edited by madpoet

"Ruiner" as written by Trent Reznor

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Ruiner song meanings
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  • +4
    General Commentruiner is another name for god - he already defied god in heresy, and now he is opposing him
    "how'd you get so big?
    how'd you get so strong?
    how'd it get so hard?
    how'd it get so long?"
    This has sexual and powerful messages - he now knows that he can become godlike through sex and violence, and by the end of this song, god is overthrown and he has taken his place
    (you cant hurt me, nothing can stop me now)
    this isnt about sexual abuse, its about abuse of power, and now that he is in control of it, he will begin to abuse it for his own gains aswell (in the next few songs)
    The Numptyon April 29, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentTrent isn't in high school dude.
    FluidDelusionson April 05, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti think the ruiner as refered to as a person is supposed to be god or a form of one, someone better than he is, to tell all the people the answers to questions they didnt know, and how this reflects on him, his is nothings, all the fucked up things he thinks and feels is a result of someone having all the answers, detering attention away from him or what he has done...one of my favourite NIN songs...
    HalfLifeSuicideon April 30, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOne of the most genius songs on TDS. Not because of it's meaning, I don't think it has a meaning, it's just lyrics. Angry lyrics against someone he hates, someone manipulative, a liar. We've all met someone like that, they're everywhere, they manifest themselves in one way or another. I think that's why this song is so smart, it doesn't imply that it is anyone, he keeps it subtle and open. It could be about God, a religious figure, one of his parents, an authority figure, a friend, a lover, or a complete stranger that is somehow "ruining" him and others. I don't think you can tie a song down like this. I think Trent is considerate enough to let his fans fit their own lives and perspectives into TDS, and not overcrowd and dominate with only his feelings and views. People are able to relate to TDS easily, and this song in particular. It just seems way too open and flexible to be about just one single thing.
    libertykillingconson February 19, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWhile I do think it alludes to things like a sociopath and religion and abuse of power, I also think it plays a significant role in the story of the album. The Ruiner is Mr. Self Destruct, the mechanical voice inside his head who was introduced in the first song on the album. The way I see it, this song is almost like an ominous prelude to what the Ruiner is going to do to our protagonist, almost like a preparation. You get a feel for what the Ruiner does to people, and nothing can stop him. Though everybody has this voice inside their head, the Ruiner cashs in on depressed, desperate people, like our main character. So when his self-esteem and mental defenses begin to crumble, the Ruiner becomes more powerful, and nothing can stop him. Then in the next song, The Becoming, the Ruiner begins to take over.
    HammerFloydon August 24, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's about some sort of authority or higher power. It could even as simple as a significant other that has control over you.
    princeton70on June 08, 2002   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningTHIS IS A SERIOUS REVIEW:

    30% of the people reading this have a perfect ring of scars.*
    *estimate

    It's about a Religious figure and Cocks!

    you had all of them on your side didn't you?
    you believed in all your lies didn't you?
    (Church and Dogma)
    the ruiner's got a lot to prove
    (Don't all religions?)
    he's got nothing to lose
    (Whats the alternative? Social disconnection in some societies. Atheism?)
    and now he made you believe
    (This is the Religion spreading)
    the ruiner's your only friend
    (The only way to salvation)
    well, he's the living end to the cattle he deceives <- beautiful & literal
    the raping of the innocent
    ( I have family paying tithing they cant afford. Seriously. )
    you know the ruiner ruins everything he sees
    (I agree, belief has consequences)
    now the only pure thing left in my fucking world is wearing your disease
    ( This is his cock I am serious )

    how'd you get so big?
    (this is his cock, and the church, both very literally)
    how'd you get so strong?
    (this is his cock, and the church, both very literally) they are powerful
    how'd it get so hard?
    (this is his cock, and the church, both very literally) Hard on peoples interests
    how'd it get so long?
    (this is his cock, and the church, both very literally) Time running

    you had to give them all a sign
    ( On Our Cocks )
    you had to covet what was mine
    ( Our Cocks )

    the ruiner's a collector
    ( collects people and foreskin )
    he's an infector
    ( Infecting minds and circumcision wounds )
    serving his shit to his flies
    (the dogma is shit and the flies are the followers )
    maybe there will come a day when those that you keep blind will suddenly realize
    (don't hold your breath)
    maybe it's a part of me you took it to a place i hoped it would never go
    ( I dont really know, maybe this is an emotional wound? )
    and maybe that fucked me up much more than you'll ever know
    ( I have family being torn up over religion, it's totally gay )

    and what you gave to me
    ( On his Cock )
    my perfect ring of scars
    ( a perfect ring of scar. Google images it if you aren't familiar with a cut hog )
    you know I can see
    ( I declare, I see this is a bullshit game for what it is )
    what you really are
    ( And what part you play in it )

    you didn't hurt me, nothing can hurt me
    you didn't hurt me, nothing can stop
    ( This is liberation from the religious chains )

    Nothing like a little penis surgery on infants!
    I'm pissed off about my missing penis skin too dammit!
    blueox01on December 03, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI am the ruiner. I get satisfaction in destroying things because I cannot be satisfied. I want more. Then when I get more, I don't want to share it because I really want everything. When I see people suffering and in pain, seeking for my help, I just laugh and tell them to help their selves.
    kmaxaaon October 15, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThe protagonist has found out that he's been infected with HIV and the world crumbles in front of him until he decides to listen to the voice of the cynic inside him.

    "You had all of them on your side didn't you? Didn't you?"
    The cynic inside him is belittling him for having believed all along in the goodness of people, the illusion of happiness and the security provided by Society, to escape his own fragile mortality and the reality of his insignificance.

    "You believe in all your lies didn't you? "

    Now he asks him why he refused to bought into all those illusions, while ignoring the voice of the cynic inside him.

    "The ruiner's got a lot to prove he's got nothing to lose and now he made you believe "

    The ruiner is the cynic inside him urging him to act on his id-driven animalistic tendencies. The ruiner tells himself that this is an opportunity for him to guide the protagonist.

    "The ruiner's your only friend well he's the living end to the cattle he deceives "
    Now that the protagonist's been ostracized and abandoned by everyone he knows, and knew, he has no one to turn to but the destructive, misanthropic cynic inside him.

    "The raping of the innocent you know the ruiner ruins everything he sees"
    Now that he's lost all faith and hope in goodness, he's losing his innocence. And by projecting his innocence onto other naive beings, he must hurt them in order to distance himself from his own innocence, eventually losing it.

    "Now the only pure thing left in my fucking world is wearing your disease "
    But the ruiner, who had no sense of purpose all along finally sees light and finds his purpose, which is embracing the disease and making the most out of it.

    "How did you get so big?
    How did you get so strong?
    How did you get so hard?
    How did you get so long?"

    Violating another human being and inflicting pain doubles the pleasure. I think that's what this part means. That his sexual pleasure has reached a pinnacle because it involved defiling another human being.

    "You had to give them all a sign, didn't you?
    You had to covet what was mine, didn't you?"

    "The ruiner's a collector he's an infector serving his shit to his flies"
    Cynicism seems to be an ideology the ruiner wants to propagate by infecting more people.

    "Maybe there will come a day when those that you keep blind
    will suddenly realize"

    I think now, the protagonist sides with the ruiner and justifies his actions to Society by claiming to do good to other people like him by removing the veils that Society has put in front of them, forcing them to view themselves and the world through rose-tinted glasses. 'you' here = Society.

    "Maybe it's a part of me you took to a place I hoped it would never go And maybe that fucked me up so much more than you'll ever know "

    He knew this place existed, the place being the world for what it is, without all the positive appendages, but refused to go here because he had too much to lose. Now, he has none.

    "What you gave to me
    My perfect ring of scars
    You know I can see what you really are
    You didn't hurt me nothing can hurt me
    You didn't hurt me nothing can stop me now"

    Either way, the protagonist is thankful to the ruiner for letting him see the reality, the world with far more clarity; which he finds very liberating. In this case, the ruiner might not just be the cynic in him, but the person who infected him in the first place by raping him. He feels a sense of defiant gratefulness towards him.
    rohitraon August 26, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song sees the Ruiner from Trent's (protagonist) perspective. The lines sung fast (almost like rap), is what Trent thinks about the Ruiner. The lines of "how to get so..." don't represent anything sexual or religious: they represent how he doesn't understand how the Ruiner grew so strong inside of him. The final lines are sung by the Ruiner: "you didn't hurt me, nothing can stop me now" is the Ruiner saying that no matter how much Trent tries to erase him, he cannot hurt him and nothing can stop him to fuck Trent up.
    FedeDixion May 14, 2014   Link

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