Study Guide

Head Like a Hole Introduction

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Head Like a Hole Introduction

In a Nutshell

When Trent Reznor unleashed "Head Like a Hole" on the world back in 1989, there wasn't anything else out there that sounded quite like it. 

Thrashing, metal-inspired guitar parts? We'd heard that. Bleak, brooding lyrics full of self-loathing and allusions to S&M? That was something more unusual. But building it all on top of a rollicking electronic dance beat? That was mind-blowing. 

This is the darkest upbeat song you'll ever hear.

About the Song

ArtistNine Inch Nails
LabelTVT Records
Writer(s)Trent Reznor
Producer(s)Trent Reznor, Flood, Adrian Sherwood, Keith LeBlanc
Musician(s)Trent Reznor
Learn to playTablature
AlbumPretty Hate Machine

Music Video

Influences on Nine Inch Nails

David Bowie
Jane's Addiction
Joy Division
Public Enemy
This Mortal Coil
Skinny Puppy

Influenced by Nine Inch Nails

David Bowie
Marilyn Manson
Stabbing Westward

Head Like a Hole Resources


Nine Inch Nails (1997)
Martin Huxley's biography of Trent Reznor is a well-written and tempered examination of the artist.


Pretty Hate Machine (1989)
NIN's first release is an imperfect beast, one that doesn't capture Reznor's capabilities as well as, say, The Downward Spiral, but it makes up for this in its incredible accessibility, innovation, and infectious nature. This is only the first step.

The Downward Spiral (1994)
The second full NIN album is a brilliant descent into Reznor's then-troubled soul and, more rewardingly, the way in which he transforms that emotional baggage into his unique, sampled, distorted form of musical genius.

Year Zero (2007)
This one's a concept album. Reznor takes NIN's distorted and sampled sound to another level with this glitch-infected picture of a despotic distopia where the government has gone out of control.

The Slip (2008)
Nine Inch Nails' latest album continues to develop the group's blend of pop, dance, glitch, and buzz. The standout here is "Discipline." Best part? It's free.


Nine Inch Nails Logo
The logo, which has become somewhat iconic, has changed little over the years.

Nine Inch Nails Performing
The band has the most superior experimental and artistic light design of any band to tour in recent years.

Movies & TV

Nine Inch Nails—Live—Beside You in Time (2007)
The engaging 2006 tour gets condensed into this two-hour showcase of NIN's live presence.

Nine Inch Nails Live—And All That Could Have Been (2002)
This tour DVD originates from the Fragility 2.0 tour in 2000.


Nine Inch Nails' Official Site
Trent Reznor has made sure that NIN has had a powerful web presence over the years. This website isn't your ordinary celebrity/band site. Check it out.

NIN Wiki
Here's the one-stop resource for past NIN information.

Nine Inch Nails on Vimeo
The group's live performances and videos are available here in HD clarity.

Video & Audio

"Head Like a Hole" Music Video
Eric Zimmerman's music video, very cool, with cybernetic heads, tribal dancing, and dread-locked Trent Reznor.

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