Copy of a

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"Copy of a"
Single by Nine Inch Nails
from the album Hesitation Marks
ReleasedAugust 13, 2013 (2013-08-13)
FormatDigital download
Songwriter(s)Trent Reznor
Nine Inch Nails singles chronology
"Came Back Haunted"
"Copy of a"

"Copy of a" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released as the second single from their eighth studio album, Hesitation Marks (2013). It was originally released as a free digital download on Amazon in the United States and the United Kingdom for a limited time starting on August 13, 2013.[4][5] On August 20, the song was made available on the iTunes Store.[6] 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.[7][8][9]


The song features the use of a Swarmatron, an analogue synthesizer which was most notably used by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the soundtrack of the 2010 film The Social Network.[10] Reznor's singing on the track uses both the minor and the acoustic scales.

Critical reception[edit]

When referring to the song, Marc Hogan of Spin magazine stated that "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". He 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".[11] 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".[12] Triple M Network inferred from the song that Reznor "stays true to his roots while trying something different".[13] 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.[10] 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",[14] while Katie Hasty of Hitfix remarked positively on the track's 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".[15]

In popular culture[edit]

"Copy of a" was featured in the soundtrack to the video game FIFA 14.

A parody by comedian Freddy Scott about Reznor's musical style was performed 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".[16]



  1. ^ a b c Milton, Jamie (August 12, 2013). "Listen: Nine Inch Nails Unveils 'Copy Of A' Track". DIY. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  2. ^ Kaufman, Spencer (September 3, 2013). "Nine Inch Nails, 'Hesitation Marks' – Album Review". Loudwire. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  3. ^ Martins, Chris (August 23, 2013). "Nine Inch Nails Share Dark New Mantra 'Find My Way'". Spin. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  4. ^ "Copy of a: Nine Inch Nails: MP3 Downloads". Archived from the original on August 14, 2013.
  5. ^ Battan, Carrie (August 12, 2013). "Listen: Nine Inch Nails: "Copy of a"". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  6. ^ ""Everything," the New Single from Nine Inch Nails, Is Streaming Now on NPR Music's "All Songs Considered"" (Press release). Columbia Records. The Fun Star. August 20, 2013. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  7. ^ Comer, M. Tye (August 12, 2013). "Nine Inch Nails Releases New Song 'Copy of a': Listen Now". Billboard. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  8. ^ Tuffrey, Laurie (August 12, 2013). "LISTEN: Nine Inch Nails – Copy Of A". The Quietus. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  9. ^ "Listen to Nine Inch Nails' new single, "Copy of A"". Consequence of Sound. August 12, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Wickman, Forrest (August 12, 2013). "Trent Reznor Muses on the Postmodern Condition in New Single". Slate. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  11. ^ Hogan, Marc (August 12, 2013). "Hear Nine Inch Nails' Patiently Searing 'Copy of A'". Spin. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  12. ^ Trendell, Andrew (August 12, 2013). "Listen: Nine Inch Nails unveil new single 'Copy Of A'". Gigwise. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  13. ^ "NIN's Copy Of A". Triple M Network. August 13, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  14. ^ "Nine Inch Nails unveil 'Copy Of A', the second single from the new album "Hesitation Marks"". Fact. August 12, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  15. ^ Hasty, Katie (August 12, 2013). "Nine Inch Nails' release new song 'Copy of A'". Hitfix. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  16. ^ "Nine Inch Nails Parody 'This Is a Trent Reznor Song' Is Uncomfortably Dead-On". January 30, 2014. Retrieved June 29, 2017.