Nine Inch Nails (NIN) has been around for the thirty years this year and has put out eight studio albums and an insane amount of singles, EP’s and remix totalling over fourty releases in their long career. As a fan of the band since their inception with Pretty Hate Machine in 1989, I have diligently followed their career awe and wonder. Frontman Trent Reznor continues to bring his best with every track released and I am there for it each and every time. This brings me to today’s album, Year Zero and why it is a Stand Out Album.
Why This Album?
In 2006 rumors began to swirl of a large project involving Trent Reznor and his new NIN album entitled Year Zero. With what was rumored to be more than just an album, people began to talk, as they do. The project was said to be something big, a movie, a tv series and/or even a a video game. Over time Trent made a cool AR game, may have been involved with some early leaks of the album and more.
When the album was finally released there were even more easter eggs to be had. The CD itself was printed with heat sensitive ink that revealed a string of numbers which, when translated, lead fans to a website that built an even bigger universe around the album. This was certainly one of his most involved marketing elements for an album but what of the album itself? With all of this effort, was it even good?
The answer is a resounding YES. I mean, lets get serious here, why would I be writing about a Stand Out Album if it sucked. Okay, maybe I would as this is about albums that mean something to me and even bad albums could find their way into this list. This, however is NOT a bad album.
To me, this is possibly the pinnacle of Trent Reznor’s career with Nine Inch Nails. It is a deep, thought provoking album about a future that we thought, at the time, was bordering on science fiction. It is a story of a post apocalyptic future not unlike that of George Orwell’s 1984 but with the desolate feel of The Mad Max films. Starting with an event known as The Presence and moving into a dark and dangerous time. Well, let’s let Trent tell you in his own words :
‘What’s it about? Well, it takes place about fifteen years in the future. Things are not good. If you imagine a world where greed and power continue to run their likely course, you’ll have an idea of the backdrop. The world has reached the breaking point – politically, spiritually and ecologically. Written from multiple perspectives, “year zero” examines various viewpoints set against an impending moment of truth. How does it sound? You will hear for yourself soon enough, but the point of this document is to provide information…’
The album itself is phenomenal. Every track from the opening Hyper Power! to the deep introspective Zero Sum, there is not a moment lacking depth and artistry. It is intense, it is powerful, it is real. Sadly, it is becoming more and more real and his prediction that this album took place 15 years from it’s release in 2007 is becoming more and more prophetic than I think even Trent intended.
There is not a bad track on this album and, while each one can be listened to on their own, I highly recommend listening to this album as a single piece than just a random song here and there. Dont just add it to your playlist and hit shuffle, let the album speak for itself as a single work of art. It is well worth it.
That being said, the track that really stands out to me is The Warning.
It is literally that, a story of how something arrives and tells us what must be done to prevent our ultimate demise.
One other that just pulls me in every time I hear it is the track The Great Destroyer. It is just insanely cool and quite topical as well.
Ok, Where do I get it?
This album is available from many places, first of which is NIN’s official website. While it isnt up yet as of the time of this writing, they plan to release a definitive LP version and it is sure to be amazing.
Otherwise, just listen here, on Spotify.
You can also get the instrumental versions here for free from the band themselves.
And, as a bonus the teaser trailer for the album. If this doesn’t get you interested I don’t know what will.
Late to the Game 9/25/2018
Thanks for reading, If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and also check out some retro tv goodness with the ongoing series Retro TV Reviews here. You can also find a few of my other Music Reviews Here.
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