Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The End of the Eighties, Track 28

“That’s What I Get”
Nine Inch Nails
Pretty Hate Machine

Once again, it’s all about the flow within the playlist here. “Batdance” somehow fits perfectly against the synthesized steel drum percussion opening Nine Inch Nails’ “That’s What I Get”. It’s a song that is musically stark, devoid of softness. The only real emotion is conveyed by Trent Reznor’s vocals. Interestingly, though, the beats of Pretty Hate Machine’s leadoff single, “Down In It”, suddenly appear in the latter half of this song.

Thematically, “That’s What I Get” is all about the nihilistic place I found myself in between Pam leaving and my further self-exploration at Bowling Green in 1989. It’s as if every word of this song was ripped from my heart as I tried to navigate my victimized feelings over Pam’s departure. 

Just when everything was making sense
You took away all my self-confidence
Now all that I’ve been hearing must be true
I guess I’m not the only boy for you

That’s what I get

How could you turn us into this
After you just taught me how to kiss you?
I told you I’d never say goodbye
Now I’m slipping on the tears you made me cry

That’s what I get

Why does it come as a surprise
To think that I was so naïve
Maybe didn’t mean so much
But it meant everything to me

The song’s sentiment is echoed in hundreds of different variations throughout my writings of the era. Portrait of a Tortured Punk Poet as he attempts to find his way through both his feelings and the larger world, dressed in black, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, and approaching his freshman college responsibilities more as “guidelines” as opposed to requirements.

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