Released 20 July, 1999, The Day The World Went Away (halo1 13) was Nine Inch Nails' first single for The Fragile. Some stores priced the release at 99 cents, tying the release in with an ad campaign Nine Inch Nails had been running emphasizing "ninteynine" since The Fragile, Nine Inch Nails' first full length album in five years, was released in 1999. The song also appears in a "deconstructed" (minimally distorted, simplified) version on Still.

The CD, cassette, and vinyl versions of this release all had slightly different track lists.

CD version

  1. The Day The World Went Away (4:03)
  2. Starfuckers, Inc. (5:24)
  3. The Day The World Went Away (Quiet) (6:20)

cassette version (both sides)

  1. The Day The World Went Away (4:03)
  2. Starfuckers, Inc. (5:24)

vinyl version

The version of "The Day The World Went Away" that appears on The Fragile is slightly longer than the version which appears on the singles. The difference is in how the song ends: Both versions end rather abruptly but the version on the album echoes the last riff a few times, fading out as it repeats. Aside from that, the versions are the same. A quiet beginning of ambient noise then, suddenly, loud guitars before returning to a quiet ambience again. This time during the quiet piece, the words are recited. Loud guitar riffs later return, eventually with "na na nah / na na na, nah" being repeated over and over. The single/album version of this song contains no drums whatsoever.

The version of "Starfuckers, Inc." is also slighty different than the version on The Fragile. Once again, the difference is at the end: On the single, the song fades out with the sound of a crowd cheering and "Complication" (the song after "Starfuckers, Inc." on The Fragile but not this single) beginning to play. On the album, the song ends abruptly and "Complication" begins right away. Originally, "Starfuckers, Inc." was planned as a b-side for this single only but at some point during the months between the single's and The Fragile's release, Trent Reznor decided that "Starfuckers, Inc." fit in (related to mood, not space allowed on the discs) on the album and included it on the second disc.

The "Quiet" mix of the song (remixed by Trent Reznor) begins with overlapping and very loud alterations of the "na na nah na na na, nah"-ing2 then changes to a very calming, piano-driven piece.

The "Porter Ricks" mix (remixed by, you guessed it: Porter Ricks) of the song is primarily a repetitive, somewhat slow drum sample for about seven minutes. Somewhere in the midst of this, the lyrics are spoken with the voice warped so it sounds as though Reznor is speaking through a telephone. I think it's fucking boring.

The package for the single is the first from Nine Inch Nails (with the possible exception of Sin) not to be designed by Gary Talpas. There is no mention of who designed it, though I suspect the designer is David Carson3. The design is centered around a Kangaroo-Paw (a really weird looking type of flower). The front of the package displays the Kangaroo-Paw, the words "Halo Thirteen The Day The World Went Away" and the NIИ logo. The back shows a close-up of part of the flower and has the track list and some fine print.

The single was produced by Trent Reznor and Alan Moulder and mixed by Alan Moulder. "The Day The World Went Away" was written and performed (mostly) by Trent Reznor. Backing chants were done by the Buddha Debutante Choir (Melissa Daigle, Jude Miller, Christine Parrish, M. Gabriela Rivas, Heather Bennet, Fae Young and Martha Wood), a group of women assembled from bar near Nothing Studios (compare: the Buddha Boys Choir, who did chanting for "Starfuckers, Inc."). Additional vocals on the "Quiet" mix were done by Kim Prevost.

Various fan-run NIN news sources throughout the world wide web reported at one point that a music video for "The Day The World Went Away" was created. The video centered around a funeral and a beautiful, dark-haired woman. Trent Reznor decided the video was too personal to release, his grandmother, someone he was very close with growing up, having passed away recently.

1All official Nine Inch Nails releases have a "halo" number. The number increases by one with each new release (e.g. the first release is halo 1, the second release is halo 2, etc.). Halo 13, therefore, is NIN's thirteenth official release.
2The lyrics in the sleeve for The Fragile actually spell out that part of the song that way.
3David Carson has created the design for all the NIИ releases since this one.

My music collection, the Unofficial Official NIN FAQ, and my memory of some interviews with Trent Reznor all aided in providing information for this write up.

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