Copy of a

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"Copy of a"
Single by Nine Inch Nails
from the album Hesitation Marks
Released August 13, 2013
Recorded 2012–13
Length 5:23 (Album version)
4:22 (Radio edit)
Writer(s) Trent Reznor
Nine Inch Nails singles chronology
"Came Back Haunted"
"Copy of a"

"Copy of a" is the second single from the Nine Inch Nails album Hesitation Marks. The single was given away for free on for a limited time starting August 13, 2013, to anyone with a US or UK account.[2][3] It was also made available to those who had pre-ordered the album from Nine Inch Nails' official online store, together with "Came Back Haunted" in a zip file labeled "Hesitation Marks Singles". The song was played live in concert for the first time about two weeks before the official studio track was released.[4][5][6] The song was featured in the soundtrack to the video game FIFA 14.


The song features the use of Swarmatron, an analogue synthesizer which was most notably used by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the soundtrack of the film, The Social Network.[7] Reznor's vocal lines use both minor mode and the Lydian dominant scale.

Critical reception[edit]

When referring to the song, Marc Hogan of Spin magazine had stated "The concept of "a copy of a copy" is somewhat quaint in a time when digital files can be copied limitlessly without any discernible drop in quality." Hogan had also described the drum machine in the song as "crisp" and the synths as "jittery", while noting the "overlapping vocals and smeared tendrils of fuzzy noise".[8] Andrew Trendell of Gigwise described the song as "an epic, sprawling and typically NIN number that features a gradual and repetitive trancey build-up with a dark intensity before an almighty rock crescendo." He also interpreted the song's lyrical theme as "a struggle for identity."[9] Triple M Network inferred from the song that "Trent Reznor stays true to his roots while trying something different."[10] Similarly, Forrest Wickman of Slate magazine stated that "the song is an update on an old NIN sound", while speculating on the possible muse on the postmodern condition or Fight Club on the lyrics. He also praised the musical beats by Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder and the use of Swarmatron.[7] This Is Fake DIY also referred the song "as a punchy electronic piece, suitably harsh on the senses."[1] Fact magazine described the song as "an urgently paced but slow-building chiller constructed from ice-cold techno arpeggiations and droning synths",[11] while Katie Hasty of Hitfix remarked the mellow vocals. She also praised the effect of looping sampler and itchy beat, contrasting it with the features of the previous single, "Came Back Haunted."[12]

A parody on Trent Reznor's writing style was sung to the tune of "Copy of a". Spin referred to the parody as "reductive, unfair, and more than a little silly" but also said "the way the song deploys various Reznor moves ("random percussion," "weird guitar," "creepy piano") is priceless." [13]



  1. ^ a b Milton, Jamie (August 12, 2013). "Listen: Nine Inch Nails Unveils 'Copy Of A' Track". This Is Fake DIY. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Copy of a" on Amazon
  3. ^ Battan, Carrie (August 12, 2013). "Listen: Nine Inch Nails: "Copy of a"". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  4. ^ Comer, M. Tye (August 12, 2013). "Nine Inch Nails Releases New Song 'Copy of a': Listen Now". Billboard. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  5. ^ Tuffrey, Laurie (August 12, 2013). "LISTEN: Nine Inch Nails - Copy Of A". The Quietus. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Listen to Nine Inch Nails' new single, "Copy of A"". Consequence of Sound. August 12, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Wickman, Forrest (August 12, 2013). "Trent Reznor Muses on the Postmodern Condition in New Single". Slate. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  8. ^ Hogan, Marc (August 12, 2013). "Hear Nine Inch Nails' Patiently Searing 'Copy of A'". Spin. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  9. ^ Trendell, Andrew (August 12, 2013). "Listen: Nine Inch Nails unveil new single 'Copy Of A'". Gigwise. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  10. ^ "NIN's Copy Of A". Triple M Network. August 13, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Nine Inch Nails unveil 'Copy Of A', the second single from the new album "Hesitation Marks"". Fact. August 12, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  12. ^ Hasty, Katie (August 12, 2013). "Nine Inch Nails' release new song 'Copy of A'". Hitfix. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  13. ^

External links[edit]