Last night I was lucky enough to attend the Hollywood listening party for Nine Inch Nails’ new album, Year Zero, which hits stores everywhere on April 17. A lot of people have been asking me, “why are you covering the album here?” First of all I think it’s extremely important – and if you ask me, there’s nothing more terrifying that the Apocalypse. Read on for my opinion on the new album and please keep in mind I don’t review music, that’s an art form on it’s own.
I’ve been a fan of Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails since I was 13-years-old and have followed the progression of his music and his personal life very closely. On some level I’ve always felt a connection to him and his music, which ha all lead up to his latest effort, YEAR ZERO, which hits stores on April 17.
I don’t know if his music has opened my mind over the years, or if we’re just on the same wavelength, but YEAR ZERO has already earned a special place in my heart nearly a month before release.
The new album is a concept record that “takes place about 15 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,” Reznor exclaims.
Over the years, Reznor’s music took an odd turn beginning with FRAGILE in the late `90s. This was when his drug addiction took over and left him with writers block. Clean and free from a long, pending lawsuit, WITH TEETH took off two years ago with a bang and would slightly touch on where YEAR ZERO heads.
WITH TEETH felt very dispersed and unfocused as a lot of the tracks sounded different and the lyrics didn’t really connect. It was almost as if Trent was saying “look at what I can do, I still have it.” There is a beginning, with the song THE HAND THAT FEEDS we start to touch on what YEAR ZERO is about. The Apocalypse.
The other night, I was lucky enough to attend the YEAR ZERO listening party in Hollywood, CA, where along with a few hundred people, we got to take in the entire new album early. The crowd wasn’t as ambitious as I was, being that maybe 20 other people were standing up jamming – everyone else appeared to just be soaking in the melodies.
I really wanted to take the time to dissect the lyrics, in this piece, but unfortunately it was hard to understand all of the words as the bass was blaring (in a good way). Even without the lyrics, the music itself is a story piece just like in a movie. Before I get into the actual music, let it be know that I am NOT a music reviewer and really appreciate the art in writing music reviews. This is going to come off as much more of a “fanboy” perspective then an actual review. I feel that this CD is extremely important to us and I really hope that Reznor can use this as a tool to make some changes in the world.
The first half of the CD was extremely interesting as it opens with intense power and very melodic beats that almost feel like “chants”. THE BEGINNING OF THE END has no actual chorus, just a poetic pattern that keeps us screaming, “This is the beginning of the end.” As you all have heard, SURVIVALM is the progression of the end, things are out of control and the government is taking away our rights. We are losing our own war. The CD progresses into more monotone jams that carry beats that had a few people screaming “Michael Jackson?” Yes, you heard me right; Billie Jean is in the house. ME, IM NOT continues the symbolic pattern through MY VIOLENT HEART, where the people begin to rebel. Eventually the chants evolve into prayers with GOD GIVEN, MEET YOUR MASTER, THE GERATER GOOD and THE GREAT DESTROYER. If you’ve been following the story of the album, this is the pinnacle moment of YEAR ZERO where “The Presence” comes out of the sky… the Apocalypse is here, the end is here… or is it the beginning of something new? YEAR ZERO is the perfect title to an album declaring that we as people are on the wrong track. At some point it, will all crash and burn, we will fall like Rome, will be begin all over again with year 0.
The CD might sound depressing, scary and unnerving… and it should; this is the vision of the future that I share with Reznor. This is his genius work; this is an artist with a voice who can help change the world. Reznor ends the CD with a glimpse of hope. IN THIS TWILIGHT, conjures up many emotions that reflect a beautiful light in the sky, a reflection on oneself and a possibility that people can change. The finale, ZERO-SUM, is a soft breathe of fresh air. Its smooth, warm and reflective on what would happen in the situation. Mankind has finally learned from their mistakes, but it’s too late. They all chant melodically “God have mercy on us,” as everyone now knows they need salvation for their soul.
YEAR ZERO is the Holocaust before the Holocaust. Trent Reznor is warning us through his words, through his viral marketing campaign, that we need to change the world – make things right. The album reflects how there is no separation of Church and State, how mass murder is happening all over the world and how nobody will band together to change things. We sit back on our TV’s and on the internet and wait for someone else to do something. We go to work and complain about what Bush is doing; but nobody does anything. This article is my voice, I’m hoping that this will inspire others to open their minds, think freely and help change the world. There is much horror out there that we know about, but don’t do anything to stop. World War 3 or a second Holocaust would be the most horrific story mankind will ever know. Let’s not let that happen.
YEAR ZERO, the first part of the story, hits stores on April 17.
02. The Beginning of the End
04. The Good Soldier
06. Me, I’m Not
07. Capital G
08. My Violent Heart
09. The Warning
10. God Given
11. Meet Your Master
12. The Greater Good
13. The Great Destroyer
14. Another Version of the Truth
15. In This Twilight