"The Becoming" as written by and Trent Reznor....
I beat my machine it's a part of me it's inside of me
I'm stuck in this dream it's changing me I am becoming
The me that you know he had some second thoughts
He's covered with scabs and he is broken and sore
The me that you know doesn't come around much
That part of me isn't here anymore
All pain disappears it's the nature of my circuitry
Drowns out all I hear there's no escape from this my new consciousness
That me that you know used to have feelings
But the blood has stopped pumping and he's left to decay
The me that you know is now made up of wires
And even when I'm right with you I'm so far away
I can try to get away but I've strapped myself in
I can try to scratch away the sound in my ears
I can see it killing away all my bad parts
I don't want to listen but it's all too clear
Hiding backwards inside of me I feel so unafraid
Annie, hold a little tighter I might just slip away
It won't give up it wants me dead
Goddamn this noise inside my head


Lyrics submitted by implode

"The Becoming" as written by Trent Reznor

Lyrics © KOBALT MUSIC PUBLISHING LIMITED,

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  • +6
    General CommentWhen life really begins to wear you down, you start to become sort of numb. With so many disappointments, failures, and so on, the narrator starts to get somewhat of an alter-ego. This alter-ego operates like a machine in that it has no real emotions or feelings. The narrator slowly feels as if he's being taken over by it.
    Ramzaon June 12, 2002   Link
  • +5
    General CommentThis song is a turning point in the album. Mr. Self-Destruct/the Ruiner/the villain of the story launches a massive campaign to completely take over the protagonist. Once he has the controls, he can run the character's life into the ground. He has already been weakened enough throughout the events of all the preceding songs, and now is when he makes his move. The protagonist slowly begins shutting down everything that makes him human. The mechanical voice keeps assuring that the human side of him is broken, wounded, gone forever. However, the human side of him is still there, as shown by the acoustic sections of the song (hiding, backwards inside of me) but it feels like its at an all-time low and may disappear soon (I might just slip away). However, the voice inside his head doesn't let up, it wants him dead.
    HammerFloydon September 25, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General CommentSomehow, this song reminds me of an artificially modified human, changed and intergrated with computer parts (sort of like a person with cybornetic organs, muscles, brain parts, etc). The "No escape from this / My new consciousness" line is like his train of thought is being replaced by a digital/quantum computer.

    The music really makes me think of this person (certainly in no relation to the character in TDS story) going on some kind of violent and unexpected rampage. Sort of like how these characters in movies (something like the mechanised people in "House of 1,000 Corpses") get completely insane, and start destroying people at absolute random. The ear-splitting music near the end gives kind of a high on this thought.

    Of course, this explains all but the "I can try to get away, but I've strapped myself in" line. Unless, of course, he signed up for this.
    restin256on December 29, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentTrent Reznor is slowly 'becoming' (sorry) one of my most favourite lyricists along with the god, Maynard James Keenan...*sigh
    Harry Manbackon August 26, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commentyeah, I think this about sums up NIN if you could pick one song....
    pinion7on February 24, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI don't mean to gloat, but I have this song completely figured out:

    As most of you know, this album, in short, is about a man's downfall into depression/madness and eventual suicide.

    The first verse is about how he is changing into and becoming a drug addict. Stuck in the dream is the high that he gets from the drugs.

    The chorus is saying that the old him, the one who didn't do drugs and tried to live a good life, is gone. In his place is a person who uses drugs and gets high, because getting high lets him forget about how messed up his life is. If he wasn't high, he'd have bad memories, so instead he gets high.

    Read this part carefully:
    I can try to get away but I've strapped myself in
    I can try to scratch away the sound in my ears
    I can see it killing away all of my bad parts
    I don't want to listen, but it's all too clear

    This is the character telling about how in one instance when he got high, he heard a message from inside his head that frightened him. Unfortunately, he did this to himself (getting high) and there's no way to quickly become sober again- he's strapped in. He wants to scratch away the sound (wants to block out the frightening message). He doesn't want to listen but it's all too clear- he is scared of the message but he's aware that it's the right message and he is indeed having these thoughts- it's all too clear. But he doesn't yet tell us what the message is.

    Finally, the last part of the song:
    it won't give up, it wants me dead
    and goddamn this noise inside my head

    This reveals what the scary message that he was hearing before. When he was getting high, the voice was telling him loud and clear that the message wants him dead. The noise in his head won't stop, the message is very clear. It wants him to commit suicide. Shoot, that sucks, but that's the truth. He needs to commit suicide.

    There you go, ladies and gents. The true meaning of this song and its place in the overall story of The Downward Spiral- the character's realization (not the act, yet) that he will kill himself.


    bobbyjay41on October 14, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is one of my favorite songs on The Downward Spiral. To me it is basically about people not knowing who the real you is.
    tool.freak.211on May 04, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti forget where i heard it, but its theorized that the name "annie" comes from a book by jean paul sartre.

    the book nausea is about a writer, antoine roquentin, in the pre-world war II years (i believe.) antoine hates his own existance, and it is about his journey through life. it also features is ex lover, annie (i believe her name is something to that effect...anne, anna, annie...)

    the book is about existance, and the hate of ones self. its rather perverse and crude at somepoints as well. it reminds me ALOT ALOT of something trent reznor would read/enjoy.

    check out the book. its great "nausea" by jean-paul sartre.
    mr.anthropeon May 15, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe Darth Vader theory is...interesting, however i highly doubt that's what the meaning of the song is...also, seeing as how i'm not intelligent enough to put in some insight of my own i think i'll stop picking at that before i make someone angry...
    Vanity_Asassin21on August 18, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAurally, its a sort of mimicked schizophrenia. The multiple, pained-sounding voices in the background are exaggerated auditory hallucinations ("voices"). At the end of the song, this made even more explicit with the repetition of "goddamn this noise inside my head," spoken in a voice which itself eventually morphs into a voice which is different from the first. In addition, there's a real two sidedness to the song, consisting of the main piece (which is electronic, dissonant, and yelled), and the "Annie" bit (which is acoustic, melodic, and sung). While this particular illness probably isn't within Trent's realm of experience, I think he's making a conscious effort to portray the perceived aesthetic, and it relates to him in the sense that he feels that his mental health has really been pushed beyond his limits.
    aspacetripon June 21, 2007   Link

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