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Survivalism (Single):Nine Inch Nails

"Survivalism" (also known as "Halo 23") is the first single by industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their 2007 album Year Zero. The song is the third track on the album. The single was released digitally on the iTunes Store on March 13, 2007, and the CD and vinyl singles were released internationally on April 2, 2007.[1]

On February 14, 2007, a clip of the chorus to "Survivalism" was first heard by fans calling the telephone number 1-310-295-1040, which was found by joining discolored numerals on the back of a tour t-shirt.[2] FMQB reported that "Survivalism" would arrive at radio stations on February 27 with an add date of March 6,[3] but 102.1 The Edge in TorontoCanada debuted the song on February 15, and on the next day, it was officially played on radio stations across the United States. It was later made available on Nine Inch Nails' MySpace page.

As with "The Hand That Feeds" and "Only," the "Survivalism" multi-track GarageBand file was released by the band for fan remixing on March 13.[4] It can be downloaded on the album's website.

In July 2012, Canadian house musician deadmau5 did a remix of the song. This remix was later included in his 2014 album while(1<2).


 [hide*1 Music video

Music video[edit]Edit

Nine Inch Nails was scheduled to begin shooting a video for "Survivalism" on February 5, 2007, in the Los Angeles area.[5] It was directed by Alex Lieu, Rob Sheridan, andTrent Reznor.

The video was circulated on the Internet on March 7, 2007, when Nine Inch Nails played the Carling Academy Brixton in LondonEnglandUSB pen drives containing low and high resolution versions of the video were found at different locations in the venue by concert-goers.

The video consists of a series of images from a console of secret cameras installed in an apartment block. As the camera moves between the footage, viewers are able to see into the lives of a number of residents, including:

  • A catatonic older couple watching television with a portrait of Jesus behind them.
  • A man looking after his drugged spouse (and in one scene possibly dripping or injecting the fictional drug "opal" in her eyes).
  • Two men having sexual intercourse in bed. (Covered by the US Bureau of Morality image in the TV edit.)
  • A topless woman applying make-up in a bathroom. (Covered by the US Bureau of Morality image in the TV edit.)
  • A man sitting at a table staring at his food.
  • Three men in a shop (and later in an alley) working with stencils.
  • A man in his cubicle surfing the Internet on his Apple laptop computer.
  • A band (portrayed by Nine Inch Nails) performing the song in a room.
[1]Still image from the black and white video with the band.

There are also cameras directed at hallways and stairs inside the apartment block. After about a minute, these screens show a SWAT team armed with submachine gunsassembling outside. They enter in formation, and eventually break down a door (on which the letters "REV 18 3-4" are stenciled, a reference to a passage in the Bible) and enter the apartment where a band is playing. The noise disturbs all the residents, who momentarily stop what they are doing and move off to investigate, then return to their activities. At this point, a number of cameras have been turned off and show static. The band is no longer in their room. It has been torn asunder and a large smear of blood is visible on the floor. The final shot shows a bleeding corpse being dragged around a corner and out of sight.

The Bible passage referenced by the door is from the Book of Revelation, a passage describing the fallen city-nation of Babylon and how she has been corrupted by luxury and adultery, and how people are being called to leave this whorish nation behind and not share in her immorality to keep from sharing in her judgement. (see here)

The time code in the monitor sometimes changes the last digit for a letter. This eventually spells out "THE_TURNEDTO_". In addition, several Bible verses that reference water and blood are shown throughout the video. "Isaiah 15:9" on the graffiti wall, "John 19:34" on the picture of Jesus behind the couple, and "II Kings 3:22" and "Exodus 7:21" in the board behind the man with the laptop. This led to the discovery of the Year Zero website,, which is a collage of a hand picking a man up out of the wreckage of a crumbling bridge, claimed to be drawn by a prison inmate. There are various biblical quotations surrounding the drawing, and capital letters (un-capitalized letters in the second paragraph) align to form the word "francesca" once in the first paragraph, and twice in the second. Francesca has two documented meanings; 'free', and 'from Franconia' or 'from France'.

The music video is available for download (both the lo-res and hi-res version) at the album's website.

At the end of 2007, Rolling Stone readers voted the video as the best music video of year.[6]


  • Trent Reznor – Co-director
  • Susan Bonds – Co-director
  • Alex Lieu – Co-director
  • Rob Sheridan – Co-director
  • Eric Wycoff – Director of photography

Release and reception[edit]Edit

"Survivalism" had 501 plays and debuted at #28 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart in the week ending February 23, 2007. It eventually climbed to #1 for one week, becoming NIN's fourth consecutive number 1 single (as well as their most recent),[7] and debuted at number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100.[8] Since Linkin Park's enormously more successful "What I've Done" single debuted at number one and replaced "Survivalism"'s position, the song however had fallen drastically after 1 week at #1, almost dropping off the top 20 modern rock tracks within just one month. The song dropped from #7 to #19 during the week of May 12, 2007, proceeded to fall to #26 during the week of May 19, 2007, then hit the bottom at #37 in the week of May 26, 2007 leading the song to stay on the chart for 13 weeks which was a disappointment where a few notable songs that didn't even peak at #1 on the chart such as Breaking Benjamin's Breath (#3), Papa Roach's Forever (#2), Incubus's Dig (#4), and even Rise Against's Prayer of the Refugee (#7) stayed longer on the top 20 of the chart and even the songs stayed much longer on the whole chart (Breath stayed on the chart for 39 weeks whereas Survivalism stayed for 13 weeks) and they were bigger pop hits leading the songs to be not only bigger pop hits, but even bigger hits on the modern rock chart despite not peaking #1 at all. Survivalism debuted at number two on the UK Rock Singles Chart [9] and on #29 in UK Singles Chart.[10][11] The song is Nine Inch Nails' forth consecutive top ten single on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.[12]

The single debuted at number one on the Canadian Singles Chart (the only time a Nine Inch Nails single debuted at the top of a chart), a position which it maintained for six weeks.[13]

Track listing[edit]Edit

Promo CD[edit]Edit

  1. "Survivalism" (LP version) - 4:22
  2. "Survivalism" (edit) - 4:22

iTunes Single (Halo 23i)[edit]Edit

  1. "Survivalism" - 4:22

UK / International 2-Track[edit]Edit

  1. "Survivalism" - 4:22
  2. "Survivalism_Tardusted" - 4:19

International CD Maxi[edit]Edit

  1. "Survivalism" - 4:22
  2. "Survivalism_Tardusted" - 4:19
  3. "The Greater Good" (Instrumental) - 5:03
  4. "Survivalism" (Video)

UK 9" Vinyl[edit]Edit

  1. "Survivalism" - 4:22
  2. "Survivalism_OpalHeartClinic_Niggy_Tardust!(Escaped…" - 4:18

Chart positions[edit]Edit

Chart (2008) Peak


Austria Singles Chart[14] 63
Canadian Singles Chart 1
Denmark Singles Chart[15] 15
Finland Singles Chart[16] 7
Spain Singles Chart[17] 2
UK Singles Chart[18] 29
U.S BillboardHot Mainstream Rock Tracks[19] 14
U.S BillboardHot Modern Rock Tracks[19] 1
U.S BillboardHot 100[19] 68
U.S BillboardPop 100[19] 66
Preceded by

"Brianstorm" by Arctic Monkeys

Canadian Singles Chart number-one single

May 3, 2007 - June 7, 2007

Succeeded by

"Umbrella" by Rihanna (on the Canadian Hot 100)

Preceded by

"From Yesterday" by Thirty Seconds to Mars

U.S. Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks number-one single

April 14, 2007

Succeeded by

"What I've Done" by Linkin Park


"Survivalism" single[edit]Edit

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