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Something I Can Never Have

"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 on industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails' 1989 debut album, Pretty Hate Machine. The song was used in the film Natural Born Killers.[1][2] According to Loren Coleman, the song deals with suicidal themes.[3]

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."[4] When the song was re-released in 2006, Rob Mitchum referred to it as a "'Goodbye Blue Sky' rip-off" .[5]

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.[6]


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.[7] In July 2014, Tori Amos covered the song on her Unrepentant Geraldines Tour.[8] A version of the song was used in the fifth episode of the HBO series Westworld in 2016.[9]


  1. ^ Lochhead, Judy (2001). Postmodern Music/Postmodern Thought. Taylor & Francis, ISBN 9780815338208
  2. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. ISBN 1858284570. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Breihan, Tom (November 24, 2010). "Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  5. ^ Mitchum, Rob (January 12, 2006). "Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  6. ^ "Nine Inch Nails - Something I Can Never Have". NME. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  7. ^ "Marco Beltrami – Underworld: Evolution (Original Score)". Discogs. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
  8. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (August 21, 2014). "The 10 Best Cover Songs from Tori Amos's Unrepentant Geraldines Tour". Slant Magazine. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  9. ^ 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.