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Year Zero

4.3 out of 5 stars 387 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 17, 2007
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From the Artist This record began as an experiment with noise on a laptop in a bus on tour somewhere. That sound led to a daydream about the end of the world. That daydream stuck with me and over time revealed itself to be much more. I believe sometimes you have a choice in what inspiration you choose to follow and other times you really don't. This record is the latter. Once I tuned into it, everything fell into place... as if it were meant to be. With a framework established, the songs were very easy to write. Things started happening in my "real" life that blurred the lines of what was fiction and what wasn't. The record turned out to be more than a just a record in scale, as you will see over time. Part one is year zero. Concept record. Sixteen tracks. All written and performed by me, produced / programmed by me and Atticus Ross, mixed by Alan Moulder, mastered by Brian "Big Bass" Gardner. Release date: April 17, 2007. 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 various perspectives of people in this world, "year zero" examines various viewpoints set against an impending moment of truth. How does it sound? You will hear for yourself soon enough, but given the point of this document is to provide information... This record is much more of a "sound collage" than recent efforts from me. A lot of it was improvised. It is very tedious describing your own music. It's not just music. It's probably too long, but it felt like the right thing to do to paint the complete picture. It will sound different after a few listens. You can think about it and it will reveal more than you were expecting. You can dance to a lot of it. You can f*** to a lot of it (maybe all of it depending on what you're into).

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Nine Inch Nails' sixth studio release, Year Zero takes the concept album further than it may have ever gone before. In advance of its release, URLs were hidden in tour t-shirts, music- and image-filled USB drives were 'found' at concerts, and dozens of websites have been packed with conspiracy stories that all involve the year 2022 or 'Year Zero.' Each clue is part of a cohesive whole, requiring a listener to follow an exhaustive web trail to grasp the entire tale. Focusing specifically on the music, "The Beginning of the End," the powerful first vocal track, is like the sonic and lyrical equivalent of an emotional ascension to a rollercoaster's peak, with the last few cacophonic seconds equaling the fall of individual freedoms. "Survivalism," Year Zero's first single, follows with guest vocalist/Slam artist Saul Williams pumping up the passion in its urgent chorus. While still industrial in genre, it's clear that Trent Reznor's musical evolution finds him bringing more mellow songs to the mix than he has on previous discs ("The Good Soldier," "The Greater Good," "In This Twilight") as well as an increased number of funk-affected rhythms, specifically in standout tracks "Capitol G" and "Me, I'm Not." Devotees of NIN's harder sound will appreciate the metallic crunch of "My Violent Heart" and "Meet Your Master." On the whole, the Nine Inch Nails we hear on Year Zero is less focused on producing heavy music and more focused on delivering its heavy, conspiratorial doomsday message. --Denise Sheppard
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 17, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nothing Records
  • ASIN: B000O178BY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (387 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,296 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Breaking the tradition of a five-year gap between albums, Trent Reznor has released the new Nine Inch Nails album "Year Zero" (2007) a mere two years after "With Teeth" (2005). Reznor attributes the long periods between albums in the past on alcohol and drug excess that comes from touring. Sober now for the last several years, focused and confident, Reznor's "Year Zero" is perhaps the best album of his career.

"Highly conceptual. Quite noisy. F@!#ing cool" is how Reznor describes "Year Zero," which I think, really hits the (pardon the pun) nail on the head. Stepping outside himself and eschewing NIN's usual self-involved angry and depressive themes, "Year Zero" portrays a bleak picture of (presumably) American society sometime in the not too distant future. Conflict abounds, militarily and between classes, which is the major theme of the album. Different songs offer different perspectives of this futuristic world--from soldiers ("the good solider,") to greedy industrialists ("capital G") to extra-terrestrials; the listener sees this corrupt society from different vantage points.

While Reznor took a more rock oriented, organic, almost live sounding approach with "With Teeth," "Year Zero" sounds more like old-school NIN in that it is more "industrial" sounding, with less live drumming. And whereas when listening to most past NIN albums, one gets a sense of what the singles will be, with "Year Zero," this is not so obvious. While some of the songs have an infectious hook, it's hard to imagine most of these songs as radio-staples, as the album is kind of "out there.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm not one of those guys who says that the newest work from an artist is their best. Did I like "With Teeth"? Of course. Was it better than "The Fragile"? Not really. Ignoring personal taste, I think it's fair to say that "The Downward Spiral" is the music-changing masterpiece of Nine Inch Nails. It was a fusion of the electronica of "Pretty Hate Machine" and the raw guitar of "Broken" and Reznor has done nothing like it since (unless you want to count the track "Burn" which came out shortly after "TDS"). "Year Zero" picks up sonically where "TDS" left off and politically where "With Teeth" left off. All of which is to say that I think this may be the best thing he's ever done. Again, this is my personal taste of preferring a lot of electronic noise (I always wanted a whole album of material like "The Becoming" and boy, did I get it!), but the bigger proof may come from the fact that Reznor has never recorded or written anything as quickly as he has "Year Zero." Anyone who understands a creative mind will understand that if it spews out of you and you don't mess with it, that's your subconscious working, which is where genius lives. It's loud, it's angry, and the future's not bright. I can't wait to hear what Part Two is like.
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Format: Audio CD
Don't be fooled, "Year Zero" sounds nothing like previous Nine Inch Nails releases. Perhaps its because the whole album was constructed on a lap top music making program. Perhaps because Trent Reznor has evolved as a human being. Perhaps its because "Year Zero" is part of a bigger picture, a concept album that depicts a story set in a dystopian future where the government oversteps its boundries in a post apocalyptical cyberpunk world. Perhaps because the planets and stars were aligned at the perfect moment.

Whatver the case may be, "Year Zero" sounds worlds apart from all of the previous Nine Inch Nails outings, and for the better. Yes, it sounds much different from "With Teeth", a less than stellar, yet enjoyable album. "Year Zero" sounds nothing like "The Downward Spiral", even though a select few are comparing them. And it certainly sounds nothing like "The Fragile", NIN's most versatile and complete recording.

One thing that you must remember is that all previous Nine Inch Nails albums convey a vary dark world and very self-depricating lyrics, bi-polar depression rantings, sickness and healing.

Unlike all of his previous albums, "Year Zero" features lyrics that have nothing to do with Trent Reznor's problems. It is a concept album, and an awesome one at that.

Maybe its because I am in love with anything cyberpunk, to which this album directly relates, in both sound and lyrics, that I find awesome. Or maybe its because Trent is evolving as an artist and as a human, shedding the depressing and darkness allowing for a more cohesive vision to protrude through. I don't know.

That is not to say that "The Downward Spiral" and "The Fragile" are not amazing projects, because they are.
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Format: Audio CD
("Year Zero" by Nine Inch Nails)

I'm sure that by now you've been reading about the elaborate "viral marketing" scheme Trent Reznor has concocted for his new concept album, "Year Zero." Numerous mysterious web sites with names like IAmTryingToBelieve and AnotherVersionOfTheTruth help tell the hyperlinked story of a future America (2022, now reset to just 0000) in which a Christian theocracy has seized power, setup a Draconian Department of Morality, keeping the nation in a perpetual state of war and fear, and is dumping mind control drugs into the water, etc. etc. ad nauseum. This is all very appealing if, say, you're still crushed by "The X-Files" no longer being in production or obsessively haunt "Lost" related sites searching for clues. However, if you're just a plain old music fan, you'll tend to ignore the crypto-hype and just ask if this is an actual album worth losing part of your hearing to. Well, friends and neighbors, I'm happy to report that not only is this a great album, but it's also NIN's best music since The Downward Spiral way back in 1994.

Don't get me wrong, I liked The Fragile and With Teeth, but "Year Zero" returns Reznor's work to the more experimental edginesss that gave "Spiral" such a spark of brilliance. Ignoring current trends in music, YZ often goes full throttle into left-field electronica.
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