What does Closer mean?

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Nine Inch Nails: Closer Meaning

Song Released: 1994

Closer Lyrics

You let me violate you, you let me desecrate you
You let me penetrate you, you let me complicate you
Help me I broke apart my insides, help me I’ve got no soul to sell
Help me the only thing that works for me, help me get away from myself


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Sep 14th 2017 report

    This is a song about someone who hates themselves and finds an escape in mindless sex. This is in no way a happy party song either. He gets closer to god because of the fact that when he's with someone he can feel better about his own insecurities. And when he does this he takes something from the other person.
    The entire album is about the downward spiral that is mental illness.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Jun 13th 2012 report

    As some of you know, the album, The Downward Spiral, is a concept album and follows a story about a person who tragically commits suicide at the end. I believe the song, Closer, is a part in the protagonist's life where he tries to escape his angst ridden feelings by having sex (sex that is non-romanitic/passionate, but carnal and animalistic). He's trying to mask up his anger from the first song, Mr. Self Destruct, and he's trying to get "...closer to God", aside from his recent departure from God in the third song, Heresy.

    Conceptually, this song, like all the others on the album, ultimately leads the protagonist of the story further down the spiral of hate, anger, lust, and isolation.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Nov 30th 2008 report

    This is actually an easy one, if you listen closely to the downwardspiral album you find a lot connections with Nietzsche,

    Closer is not about having sex, but knowing there is no God, and by a lack of acception finding heaven in sleeping with people.

    My whole existence is flawed
    You get me closer to god

    You can have my isolation, you can have the hate that it brings
    You can have my absence of faith, you can have my everything
    Help me tear down my reason, help me its' your sex I can smell
    Help me you make me perfect, help me become somebody else

  4. anonymous
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    Mar 20th, 13:24 report

    I believe the song is about shooting up. Beat and pays to the song go along perfectly with it: Starts out with a heartbeat, inserting needle, yeah after slightly adjustment (if necessary) then the flash, then the trip watching the plunger go down the numbers (that's where time and space start becoming different goes right along with the song, then....RUUSSHH! I WANT TO F*** YOU LIKE AN ANIMAL I WANT TO FEEL YOU FROM THE INSIDE. If you were taking in that particular method of ingestion, it should make perfect sense to you.

  5. anonymous
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    Jun 26th 2021 report

    It's about soul searching and masturbation. He has never had real sex and is hiding from his reality. Masturbation gives him strength and he can see and understand things and he has great control over his world. His soul is hurting since he is often alone. He cannot escape his kingdom. There is only so much he has control over. Part of himself he may never discover yet he is his own worse enemy. The song is about power and money and our whole fucked up society. There I said it and it feels good.

  6. anonymous
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    Jan 5th 2021 report

    I’ve listen to this so to many times to count trying to figure out what was going through my boyfriends head just hours before he passed away, he was nothing but a romantic and always scared he was hurting me, always telling me he’d be better and just a few days before he passed he had messaged me asking me to help him, that my love was killing him.he almost seemed obsessed with me and while I loved him more than life I was mortified to see this on his Facebook page so I quickly logged in and hid it. But he never ever treated me like a freak in bed so so after reading everyone’s opinion on this song I’m sadden and more confused. This makes me feel like I did something wrong. Isn’t there somewhere that tell exactly what this song means from the artist?

  7. anonymous
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    Dec 5th 2020 report

    I like to think it’s about discovering a whole new level of what the experience of sex can be. Obvs someone who isn’t very happy with who they are is discovering this.
    Like maybe it’s a level so divine, so mind blowing, that it makes him question everything, letting go of any and all preconceived ideas about life. It shakes the very foundation of what he thought he knew, his belief system is smashed, he has connected with someone on a level he never knew was possible.
    And the ‘I want to fuck you like an animal’ line just means he wants to enter that space again... that space where they are out of the heads (with all its thoughts and insecurities and distractions) and experiencing sex in a purely natural state, free from societal stigmas of sex, free from deep rooted religious connotations (that influence the way we have sex and the way we see/judge ourselves and others), free from everything... sex as it is supposed to be.
    Think of two people having sex for the 1st time who have never seen porn, never been told sex is dirty, not been raised in a society that stifles a woman’s sexuality and makes her feel that losing her virginity makes her less whole, less desired, etc., the two lovers have no preconceived ideas about what sex should be so they would approach it in an animalistic way. Wouldn’t it be beautiful to make this world that place for all the young lovers to come? I kinda wish I was born in a world like that.
    (I’d like to add that my interpretation makes this a beautiful song)

  8. anonymous
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    Mar 17th 2020 report

    I think it's about having sex with people you're not supposed to have sex with... .you let me Violate you She is open and doesn't stop him from coming on to her just because they're in a committed relationship sometimes you have feelings fora certain person , as they do for you... and sometimes you were kept apart my reasons out of your control and you cared so deeply for this person so u desecrate marriages and then of course this leads to the penetration... the beautiful thing about music I like what Layne Staley said do you think the song is about something and that's what it's about

  9. anonymous
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    Nov 30th 2018 report

    This song is actually based on philosophic religious belief. The belief is that the only time you even a chance of seeing god is during an organism. During those limited seconds your mind is pure and free of any hate or evil, and in pure ecstasy. So in that moment your mind possible has the purity to see god.

  10. anonymous
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    Aug 15th 2018 report

    This song describes what goes on in a narcissist's head perfectly.

  11. anonymous
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    May 21st 2018 report

    This song is about Heroin. I cant believe one person here has not GOT THIS....
    This song ....is Trent talking to heroin and then heroin SCREAMING back at him. Every song on this album is about Trents battle with HEROIN addiction....the courus is HEROIN SCREAMING BACK AT HIM ....the sexual conitations in this song is completely tied to his desires for the drug

  12. anonymous
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    Mar 13th 2018 report

    Sex addiction that’s what it’s about escaping depression, loneliness and fear with sex. I know about this first hand it struck a chord with me

  13. anonymous
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    Mar 4th 2018 report

    This song is about bible humppers who fuck there bible to get rid of there sins lol

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  14. anonymous
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    Sep 14th 2017 report

    This is a song about someone who hates themselves and finds an escape in mindless sex. This is in no way a happy party song either. He gets closer to god because of the fact that when he's with someone he can feel better about his own insecurities. And when he does this he takes something from the other person.
    The entire album is about the downward spiral that is mental illness.

  15. anonymous
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    Aug 14th 2012 report

    Or maybe it's about somebody who is about to get married.. She lets him fuck her like an animal, she lets him violate & desecrate her. Which is why he loves her & is gonna marry her, because she deals with all his complications & still accepts him....

    But before her.. He was just a player, never dreamed about getting tied down, going from girl to girl. & was up to no good in life. "help me I've broke apart my insides I have no soul to sell. Help me get away from myself"

    But now he's met her & at first he thot she was just another girl, & he just wanted to fuck her like an animal, & now that he has he's questioning everything he has ever believed in to that point about never being tied down. & he realizes how good she is for him, she brings out a better person in him. & he falls in love. "I wanna fuck you like an animal. My whole existence is flawed. U bring me closer to god"

    "you bring me closer to god"   He wants to change for her, he's gunna marry her, which is a holy tradition. She definitely brings him closer to god.

    "you can have my isolation you can have the hate that it brings. You can have my absence of faith you can have my everything".   He knows he's not ready for marriage tho, as his life is so messed up & he's an angry person.

    He wants to better himself for her tho, he's begging her to help him become the man he needs to be so he can walk down that aisle.    "help me tear down my reason" help him change.

     "help me it's your sex I can smell" she's obviously good in bed which is why he even payed attention to her in the first place.

    "help me you make me perfect. Help me become somebody else"
    If any girl can help him change his ways it's her, so he wants her help

    It can be a song about what a guy might be going through in his head, when dealing with love/marriage. When you've met that special girl that just makes u wanna change for her but u don't know how to deal with it.....but in a dark spooky way tho. It can still be a sweet normal song about love & marriage...but just looked at from a different point of view, a dark point of view.

  16. anonymous
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    Aug 14th 2012 report

    It's about an abusive boyfriend. That only uses his girlfriend for sex. Maybe he was a loser all his life, was bullied in school, & never had a girlfriend & was still a virgin. & I get the feeling that it's a girl that he is not even supposed to be with, like maybe she's a minor. But by some unlucky way (especially unlucky for her because no girl should ever go thru this) their paths met. & now he's addicted, in an extremelously unhealthy way, to the sex. & the fact that she is the only one to ever "let him in" & give him a chance. & now he's infatuated with her & obsessed. He can't let her go. & now everything that he has ever believed in & everything that he has ever lived by has become threatened, becos he has gotten a taste of her sex. & he isn't ready to let it go, maybe he tells himself that he'll let her go later in the future (a day that'll probably never come), but for now he can't. But he doesn't want the relationship just the sex, so he lies to her, treats her like shit, threatens her that she better stay with him, tells her false promises about how there gonna be so happily married in the future. Does everything in his power to keep the situation going to his advantage. Including sneaking around with her, keeping her a secret from everyone, cutting ties with all his friends one by one. Just going deeper & deeper into this shit hole, of madness and pain. Bringing her down with him & ruining her life little by little too (which is why he says "u can have my isolation, u can have the hate that it brings. U can have my absence of faith. U can have my everything" but all he has to offer her is pain). All becos he's too weak to just get over his obsession (with the sex) now. & he doesn't take her out to the movies or on dates & doesn't show her off like how a normal relationship is supposed to be, probably becos she's a minor & he doesn't want people to know he's a pedophile, or some other reason. & she cries on a daily basis & is unhappy with herself. Cos she knows what he's doing to her, but she's waiting for the day that he'll "change" , a day that will probably never come... & now he's in this hole too deep, to the point of no going back & everything in his life is so fucked up now that the only happiness he gets in his crappy life is sex with her. So he's definitely not gonna let her go now, so he keeps doing it, & keeps abusing her & keeps this terrible situation going on.. As the song progresses the instruments get more & more intense & the beat of the song really takes u for a ride..this is definitely a metaphor. it's probably what's going on in his head, & u can just imagine everything in your head as if it were a movie. As the song gets more intense & violent, he is getting crazier & more frustrated, feeling so ashamed with himself for what he's done. & the situation is getting worse, & he barely even has the energy now to keep this situation going as he's getting more desperate dealing with all the drama that it's bringing. As him & the girl just keep sinking deeper & deeper into this downward spiral of pain & madness.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  17. anonymous
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    Jan 21st 2012 report

    I to believe that Closer is about escaping the inhibition and feelings, yet is willing to throw all control out the door and give into temptation and feeling deep shame in what he has done

  18. anonymous
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    Jun 16th 2011 report

    Its about serial rapists. It looks at how their minds work. it shows how guilty (broken on the insides) they feel, yet how they are addicted and the how sad it is

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
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