Listen: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Cover David Bowie’s “Life on Mars”


This post contains mild spoilers for HBO’s Watchmen. You can just skip down to the song at the bottom of the post if you don’t wanna know shit.

Before David Bowie died in 2016, he and Nine Inch Nails showrunner Trent Reznor enjoyed a friendship going back twenty years. Bowie hand-picked Nine Inch Nails to open for him in the ’90s, and I guess they hit it off, ’cause in the decades that followed, they continued to collaborate and do live guest appearances at each other’s shows. Which is to say nothing of NIN’s numerous Bowie covers.

So I kind of imagine Trent Reznor doing whatever his version of jumping up and down and clapping with glee when he realized that he and his creative partner, Atticus Ross, would have an excuse to record a new Bowie cover. Specifically, a cover of 1971’s “Life on Mars.”

That excuse, of course, was this past weekend’s seventh episode of HBO’s Watchmen, which ended up making a BIG reveal about Dr. Manhattan. Within the mythology of the show, the super-powered being is said to have been living on — yup! — Mars. Of course, we now know he hasn’t been living on Mars… which I guess makes this an ironic cover? Kinda sorta not really?

ANYWAY, this is all a long, rambling way of letting you know that the Reznor/Ross “Life on Mars” cover is now available for your streaming pleasure. Check it out below. It will appear on the third of the super-duper-cool multi-volume vinyl editions of the Watchmen score, which will be out December 16. You can also listen to the rest of the Watchmen score here. It’s most excellent.

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