"The Background World" as written by and Trent Reznor....
You left me here
What am I supposed to do?
I never dared to look inside
Just like you told me to
I'm going into you again
I know you saw it, too
And I will keep myself awake
I know what’s coming
I feel it reaching through
There is no moving past
There is no better place
There is no future point in time
We will not get away

The world is bleeding out
It folds itself in two
Behind, the background world
Is always bleeding through

Are you sure
(This is what you want?)
Hard as you try not to see it

Lyrics submitted by Mellow_Harsher, edited by 7shadesofblack

The Background World song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song sounds like a relationship coming to an end.
    It is not because of a lack of love in the relationship.
    It is because the world around them creates situations that destroy their relationship. They keep trying to build barriers between them and the rest of the world so the relationship can exist in a vacuum, and no matter how hard they try, it does not work.

    It has exhausted them and they go their own ways.

    "I'm going into you again" sounds like a key change , or notes in 'sharp' which sounds pretty uncomfortable. I think this is the early stage of admitting a relationship is coming to an end, where he tries to fight it and it drives him crazy, perhaps making everything worse.

    "There is no future point in time" sounds like the line has a slight echo it. I think it's because he realizes he is actually alone in the relationship and the other person has exited the 'safe room' they constructed. I think he wants her, but she has already moved on.

    "The world is bleeding out
    It folds itself in two"

    I believe this is referring to the isolated world they tried to create to protect their relationship. That was their world, and it is slowly dying around them. It has folded in two, because it has been cut in half. There is one person in that world, not two.

    "Are you sure
    (This is what you want?)
    Hard as you try not to see it"

    I love this part very much.
    She has said she needs some space to think things over, she wants to be with him but wants space. There's a little duality here: He does not fight her about it, he wants to be with her, but he is not asking her to stay, it sounds more like he is saying 'be careful what you wish for'. She keeps saying it's not over, and he says yes it is.

    I think after this, the song gets the most interesting. It repeats for a long time like there relationship repeats in his head. The loop has a pause on purpose because he re-plays it, he keeps going through the motions, and the more he re-plays it the more it goes away. I think the length of time it re-plays until it is indecipherable (until he does not care anymore) may actually indicate time in real life, how it translates, I'm not sure, but point is everything eventually disappears.

    Either he is replaying the memories, or they keep going through the same thing over and over again until it is completely gone.

    the song sounds about 83 beats per minute, which is about the speed of a resting heartbeat, so I assume he goes through this strikingly calm despite what he endures and like other songs, indicates he has a depersonalization disorder if this was intended to symbolize his heartbeat, because he is just watching it happen like an observer rather than making himself a participant.

    Oh yeah, and these lyrics:
    "The world is bleeding out
    It folds itself in two
    Behind the background world
    Its always bleeding through"

    Sound like they are coming from behind a door, it is a little muffled, kind of like listening in to a phone call in the next room. I think there is a combination of things being said here. She is on the other side of the barrier, but I think this final resolution is based on hearing a conversation.

    "Are you sure" Is clearer because he is "present", participating in events rather than observing.
    kitty11193on September 29, 2017   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationAbout the impossibility of going back to the concept of home and the inevitable (but oft-denied) march towards decay and death and end of things. The degenerative looping track at the end supports this interpretation as well.
    nil_ptron October 12, 2017   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think the background world is the dark reality of how the world really is.
    7shadesofblackon July 21, 2018   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThe roller coaster ride of marriage...
    rcontraelon September 06, 2017   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI feel like this isn't about love or life at all caw caw.

    Of more of less made for people who aren't seen by people in society caw caw. Like dumpster divers caw caw, you know they exist caw caw, but you never pay attention to them caw caw. I happen to be a dumpster diver.
    ToxicCrowon June 04, 2018   Link

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