Nine Inch Nails, “She’s Gone Away”
The music of the original early ’90s run of “Twin Peaks,” which like the show itself was both creepy and beautiful, able to shift from major to minor in one beat and a wash of reverb, was so influential that Stuff That Sounds Like “Twin Peaks” has become its own genre (think: Beach House, Wild Nothing, Warpaint). Aside from the musical cameos that have appeared at the end of most episodes, the 2017 iteration of the show has been thin on both score and soundtrack, but the bands that perform those cameos have largely felt like they were selected based on their fitting into the Stuff That Sounds Like “Twin Peaks” mold. Episode 8, however, featured Nine Inch Nails (introduced by an old man in formalwear as “The Nine Inch Nails”), who perform a newish NIN song, because apparently they still make those. It’s the first song that feels like it was made for Twin Peaks two-point-oh.
Trent Reznor, better known in the last decade for scoring films than making records, looks like a proper Lynchian villain in leather jacket and gloves, stalking around the roadhouse stage, screaming digitally fucked up, demonic laughter. The song, “She’s Gone Away,” originally appeared on 2016’s Not the Actual Events EP, but sounds right at home in the dark, often industrial-looking-and-sounding world of new Twin Peaks. It shows up, not at the end of the episode, but after the opening scene (because nobody tells David Lynch what to do, not even David Lynch), and segues the episode into the straight-up weirdest shit that’s ever aired on cable.
Lynch and Reznor make so much sense as a collaborative duo, it’s hard to imagine why they don’t do it more often (Reznor previously contributed music to Lynch’s 1997 film Lost Highway). Lynch, the auteur (if we must) and Reznor, the producer/multi-instrumentalist/only continuous member of NIN, share many of the same aesthetic predilections that make both of their outputs so often scary and unsettling. The manufactured percussives and digital-clip distorted voices that both men favor go hand in hand. As Lynch moves more toward the musical, making solo albums and curating a music festival, and Reznor continues his work in film, this probably isn’t the last time we’ll see the two names together.
John Dziuban is no longer a musician. Metal Minutiae is an occasional column on the decline of rock music.