Something I Can Never Have

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"Something I Can Never Have"
Song by Nine Inch Nails
from the album Pretty Hate Machine
ReleasedOctober 20, 1989
Songwriter(s)Trent Reznor
Producer(s)Trent Reznor, Flood, Adrian Sherwood, Keith LeBlanc, John Fryer

"Something I Can Never Have" is the fifth track by industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from the 1989 debut album, Pretty Hate Machine. According to Loren Coleman, the song deals with suicidal themes.[2]

Tom Breihan from Pitchfork Media gave a positive review to the song, stating that the song portrays "an absolute mastery" with "its haunted, minimal piano figure and a few hushed synth tones slowly, letting in sputtering static, faraway door-slam drums, and quiet little counter-melodies."[3] When the song was re-released in 2006, Rob Mitchum referred to it as a "'Goodbye Blue Sky' rip-off" .[4]

A "deconstructed" version of the song was also included in the live album And All That Could Have Been. The accompanying live music video, with Jerome Dillon was also released.[5]

The song was used in the 1994 film Natural Born Killers.[6][7]


This song has been covered by Dutch dark wave band, Clan of Xymox, in its 2012 album Kindred Spirits, and by the band Flyleaf for Underworld: Evolution OST.[8] In July 2014, Tori Amos covered the song on her Unrepentant Geraldines Tour.[9] A version of the song was used in the fifth episode of the HBO series Westworld in 2016.[10]


  1. ^ Top Ten Most Depressing Alternative Rock Songs Retrieved January 5, 2015
  2. ^ Coleman, Loren (2004). The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines. Simon & Schuster. p. 184. ISBN 1416505547. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  3. ^ Breihan, Tom (November 24, 2010). "Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  4. ^ Mitchum, Rob (January 12, 2006). "Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  5. ^ "Nine Inch Nails - Something I Can Never Have". NME. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  6. ^ Lochhead, Judy (2001). Postmodern Music/Postmodern Thought. Taylor & Francis, ISBN 9780815338208
  7. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. ISBN 1858284570. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  8. ^ "Marco Beltrami – Underworld: Evolution (Original Score)". Discogs. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
  9. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (August 21, 2014). "The 10 Best Cover Songs from Tori Amos's Unrepentant Geraldines Tour". Slant Magazine. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  10. ^ Vineyard, Jennifer (November 2, 2016). "Why Did Westworld Choose That Downer of a Nine Inch Nails Song During the Orgy Scene?". Vulture. Retrieved November 2, 2016.