David Bowie with Trent Reznor (1997)

Tired of the midterms yet?

I’m Afraid of Americans is a satire on American corporitisation, homogenization, aggressiveness and mass culture. Bowie explained the background to the song:

“I was traveling in Java when [its] first McDonald’s went up: it was like, ‘for fuck’s sake!'”

David Bowie

A successful and much darker remix with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails placed number 66 on the US charts and the music video featuring the remix was nominated for Best Male Video in the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards.

“The face of America that we have to put up with is the MacDonald’s/Disney/Coke face. This really homogenous, bland cultural invasion that sweeps over us – which is unfortunate, because the aspects of America that are really magical to us are the things it seems to reject, like black music or the Beat poets.”

David Bowie

Danny Elfman & Trent Reznor (2021)

Danny Elfman has enlisted Trent Reznor for a remixed version of True, a track off Big Mess, Elfman’s first solo album in 37 years.

“This is the first duet/collaboration I’ve ever done in my life, so to do it with Trent was a real surprise and a treat. He’s always been a big inspiration to me, not to mention he has one of my all-time favorite singing voices.”

– Danny Elfman

Reznor adds industrial flourishes, distortion, and vocals throughout the remix.

The True video also receives a remix of sorts, with the collaboration accompanied by an Aron Johnson-directed visual that combines archived footage from the original Sarah Sitkin-helmed video along with brand new 3D modeling.

Following a string of singles — Happy, SorryLove in the Time of Covid, and Kick Me. — in 2020, Elfman released Big Mess in June. The album, recorded during the Covid pandemic, also features a reworking of Insects, originally recorded by Elfman’s band Oingo Boingo in 1982.

“Once I began writing, it was like opening a Pandora’s box and I found I couldn’t stop. None of it was planned. I had no idea how many songs I would write but from the start, it quickly became a two-sided project with heavily contrasting and even conflicting tones.”

– Danny Elfman

Written by Daniel Kreps of Rolling Stone Magazine