Trent Reznor has joined Danny Elfman for a more sinister reimagining of “True,” off Elfman’s recent solo album Big Mess (Epitaph).
See-sawing between Reznor and Elfman’s vocals, the grinding rework of the song is pressed against the screech and halt of frenetic visuals, directed by Aron Johnson, who also contributed visual effects to the Sarah-Stikin-helmed video for the album version of “True.”
Transposing bits of Sitkin’s archived footage along with new 3D modeling and other abstract imagery, Johnson’s remodeled “True” follows a series of experimental, prosthetically engineered videos released around the songs of Big Mess.
Deviating from scoring films and soundtracks, Elfman returned to performing and writing the 18 tracks of Big Mess—the second studio album by the singer and composer since his 1984 solo release So-Lo—during the 2020 lockdown. The album features the addition of guitarists Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses) and Nili Brosh (Paul Gilbert), bassist Stu Brooks (Lady Gaga, Lauryn Hill), and drummer Josh Freese (Devo, Weezer).
“Once I began writing it was like opening Pandora’s box and I found I couldn’t stop,” said Elfman around the release of Big Mess. “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.”
He added, “I knew from the start that this wasn’t going to be a neat, easy-to-categorize record. It was always destined to be this crazy cacophony because that’s who I am. The ‘Big Mess’ is me.”
The “True” collaboration and duet with Reznor is also a first for Elfman.
“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,” says Elfman. “He’s always been a big inspiration to me, not to mention he has one of my all-time favorite singing voices.”