Members of Health attempted to explain what the song was about in an interview with Webworm With David Farrier; it originated “in the middle of the lockdown,” according to the group’s Jake Duzik.
“I think at the time it was written — part of the reason we wanted it to come out so quickly, is that being an American in America, we were in the middle of Trumpocolypse and George Floyd and so there is some pretty poignant messaging relating to that specific experience,” Duzsik said. “And my side of the lyrics are a little more abstract, which is kind of the way I write. There is a little bit of a ying and a yang. We are very proud of how it came out.”
“And we are not trying to write a single or anything,” Health’s John Famiglietti added. “It’s longer. It’s got all these great parts. It’s really good.”
The two groups first crossed paths when they toured together in the summer of 2008. At some point, Trent Reznor offered them the chance to record at his house and they struck up a personal friendship.
“Isn’t Everyone” came about after Health concocted the idea that they would make an album of collaborations, rather than remixes, and sent Reznor a track they made with another artist and explained they hoped to build something from the ground up. The Nine Inch Nails frontman’s response, Duzsik said, was, “Oh, shit.” They sent Reznor a skeletal track, and he and his Nine Inch Nails partner, Atticus Ross, began meticulously working on it with them. “They take everything they do very seriously so it was very deliberate, with a lot of attention to detail,” Duzsik said.
What blew Duzsik’s mind, though, was that Reznor suggested they sing together. “Just for me personally, I want to hear [Reznor’s] voice in the song, not my voice,” he explained. “I don’t think of myself as being a terribly untalented musician or anything, but it’s kind of that line of — and this kind of music — the immediacy of the voice is what really emotionally moves people. There’s a reason why certain people’s voices touch people. It’s an emotional response.”
Asked to comment on releasing the song after Reznor and Ross won a second Oscar last month, Duzsik simply said, “Yeah, what the fuck.”
Last month, Reznor and Ross shared an Oscar win with Jon Batiste for their score for Soul; the Nine Inch Nails members were also nominated for the music they wrote for Mank. In 2011, they also won an Oscar for their score to The Social Network.
From Rolling Stone US