Weeklies

Artist: "Nine Inch Nails"
Album: "Year Zero"
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label: Nothing

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 1/8/2008

Review: Our little Trent is all grown up. Or after years of whiny (albeit damn good) songs about unrequited love, broken relationships, shattered faith, and telling us just how damaged he is about it all, it certainly does feel like it. His songwriting has finally matured a bit as he's entered the angry realm of political and social commentary, and it's proven to be a place where he looks good and feels comfortable. The quality of these songs is most welcome after his previous and disappointingly soulless With Teeth. I was cautious in my expectations at first (despite a very promising and intriguing viral marketing campaign), but hearing this album for the first time was like having an old friend come back home, perhaps a little wiser and with something important to say after his travels abroad.

The songs on this album are far more interesting musically and lyrically than his previous album, as it feels like Trent's passion for the subject matter has finally allowed him to tap into the creative spark he'd lost contact with since The Fragile. This is clearly no contract obligation or a necessary evil to pay the bills - it's returned to a labor of love. The tune of "Survivalism" conjures up vague memories of Downward Spiral's "Ruiner", and because of that I see it as a sort of loose answer or flipside to that song. He no longer plays the wronged victim of so many older songs, instead giving us the perspective of the callous and uncaring "might makes right" crowd, the point of view of the Ruiner himself. Most of the album takes on the ironic perspective of the Victim Who Became Villain, which is something of a natural progression of his body of work. Get shat on long enough, and sooner or later you're going to start shitting on others.

Unlike the minimalistic release of With Teeth, Year Zero's packaging is very attractive in design, with lyric book and a cd that changes from black to white when exposed to the heat generated by playing it. It's a detail that has no bearing on the music, but it's a nice touch that doesn't cost anything extra (unless you're in Australia, in which case the record label hates you), and it's proof enough that Trent is back to being interested in what he's doing.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Get Your Own Title >:(
Jan 8th, 2008, 02:48 PM
Since when did I-Mockery start sharing my music tastes
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 8th, 2008, 06:17 PM
Since RIGHT NOW!
Member
Jan 8th, 2008, 06:17 PM
The computer rape noises on a lot of the songs annoyed me to no end.
Fake Shemp
Jan 8th, 2008, 07:13 PM
Nine Inch Nails always makes me want to play Quake.....why is that?
Member
Jan 8th, 2008, 08:02 PM
I saw the icon on the front page of i-mockery and had to pop the CD in...
pickled
Jan 8th, 2008, 09:26 PM
I just can't seem to get past Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt".
From the Home of MST3K
Jan 9th, 2008, 12:17 AM
I found this to be one of the better albums.
Fookin' up planets!
Jan 9th, 2008, 01:53 AM
I have been a Nine Inch Nails fan since I was, well... Nine years old. I am now 27. I still love all that Trent creates. If he put out an album with him humming along to a drum machine I would most likely buy it, praise it and see him do it live on tour. But with all that said, and with Nine Inch Nails still being my all time favorite band, I think he get's too much credit on this album for a sound that a few other amazing artist's already beat him to. Listen to any Richard D. James project... Aphex Twin or AFX or Polygon Window and you have the majority of how "Year Zero" sounds. Yes, the idea is fresh and the lyrics are amazing and it's nice to see the old Rez writing from different character perspectives but as far as sound... the album should have a huge sticker in the back saying.. "Thanks to Richard D. James for teaching me how to do this cool shit." Or, better yet... Give Atticus Ross (A very kick ass producer, mixer and musician in his own right, Check out "12 Rounds" or his kick ass side project "Error" for more on Atticus.. a bit more credit for bringing the Nails music to the next level instead of keeping it in the dirty faded industrial sound that carried "Broken", "The Downward Spiral" and a good half of "The Fragile". I still agree that "Year Zero" is damn good stuff, I just expect a musical genius like Trent Reznor to not just step it up but to kick the damn door down.
Hitler's Canoe!
Jan 9th, 2008, 08:24 AM
Not my favorite NIN album, but still pretty good. The song "The Good Soldier" is really fantastic but overall I would prefer to listen to an older album or even With Teeth.
Rape you...
Jan 9th, 2008, 09:12 AM
When i read this review, i just had to listen "Get down make love", NIN cover of Queen song of the same name.
But anyway, this album is my personal favorite of all NIN albums. It's the only one i can listen over and over again, without skipping any of the songs. Best songs (in my opinion) are: Survivalism, Vessel, Capitol G, Meet your master, The great destroyer and Zero-sum.
なにをみてんだよ
Jan 9th, 2008, 03:02 PM
Year Zero is one of Trent's weaker albums, in my opinion. Even though With Teeth was souless, it had catchy tunes that stuck with you and made you want to replay them. I gave Year Zero a few chances and there were none of those hooks that made me want to keep listening. Just like Al from Ministry, he was a better artist when he was all messed up.
Pickled Patriarch
Jan 9th, 2008, 03:07 PM
While I think this album is a big improvement over With Teeth I still don't listen to it all that often. I just don't think he'll ever be able to top what he accomplished with The Fragile. That album, along with the accompanying live tour, was just about as good as it gets.
Waiting for the worms.
Jan 9th, 2008, 03:08 PM
Not a huge NIN fan, honestly. I enjoyed Johnny's cover of Hurt, simply because the song fitted the man. I'll give this a listen unless someone suggests a better album to get started on. By the by, macrodeath, your avatar always freaks me out. Since I saw Audition I've been convinced an asian girl was the monster in my closet, rather than a vegan chef.
James Brown in hiding
Jan 9th, 2008, 05:47 PM
Oh my God please spare me. Trent Reznor going political is the equivalent of one of those dudes from Queer Eye for the Straight guy swinging his arms cyclically and screaming "Unnghh unnnghh stop it!". There are not enough explitives in the English language to accurately describe how bad this album or any of their previous work sucks suffice to say if you want to try then hit the most prominent bone on your foot with a ball pien hammer.

What's worse is people have drank enough bleach to call this pussy a genius. A fucking genius! Jimmi Hendrix was a genius. Bach was a genius. Robert Plant was a genius. Chuck D was a genius. Reznor was just a guy that got some black nail polish, cried over some old, sped up Cure samples and somehow inspired a legion of whiny teenagers to dress like gay, zombie magicians. It's all such an incoherant mess and Reznor can't even sing to boot! It's like Death metal for weak people. And as juvenile, insipid, rediculous and flat out retarded as Death metal is I'd still take the growling incontinent ramblings of some band named after a gross biological mishap then NiN's latest offering of childish whining.

Maybe I'm just not relating to the material. Maybe NiN's not my cup of tea because I'm not a teenage virgin with a book full of poetry and maybe I don't get it because my biggest problem is a huge penis that I don't know what to do with. No screw that, my Grandmother would hear this album and still do the jerk off pantimime motion. Years and years of snivelling and NOW Reznor wants to try doing something a little self absorbed? Public enemy this guy ain't. Seriously if anyone knew a guy like this they'd start punching them in the head until they stopped crying and bought back their balls from wherever they pawned them from. But if he's bawling over a drum machine people lap it up. Seriously, Reznor should just give up and stick to what he knows best: guyliner, public humliation and sucking at sports.
frappez le cochon rouge
Jan 9th, 2008, 11:38 PM
Haha, yeah man!
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 10th, 2008, 12:04 AM
You tell 'im, Dreadsy!
Mongoloid
Jan 10th, 2008, 12:46 AM
i love how people got out of their way just to tell everyone that they hate a band or an artist
James Brown in hiding
Jan 10th, 2008, 02:46 PM
I love how wussies go out of their way to make a point of sounding condesending when people express their viewpoint in a manner of their choosing.

Hey Prot! Normally I dig some of the stuff you talk about but if you're going to do album reviews why not review the actual good ones? There's an entire back catalog of Janis Joplin, BB King and Cab Calloway records out there to write about. If this NiN garbage netted a four and a half I'd love to see what kind of rating something like Jimmi Hendrix' Are you Experienced? or Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power would net. Seriously, there's a world of jazz and blues albums out there that you could expose people too. Hell even old school soul and R&B music. Why this whiny shit? Reznor needs to have his underwear yanked up his ass and stuffed in his locker with the rest of his gothic ilk.
Forum Virgin
Jan 10th, 2008, 03:46 PM
Ah yes, damn fine production on this disc too. Not all the songs are given me a spark like the Fragile did, but the well chosen Survivalism as first single gets me pumped everytime I hear it. Very satisfying disc indeed.
Get Your Own Title >:(
Jan 10th, 2008, 04:04 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by D-MoN View Post
I love how wussies go out of their way to make a point of sounding condesending when people express their viewpoint in a manner of their choosing.

Hey Prot! Normally I dig some of the stuff you talk about but if you're going to do album reviews why not review the actual good ones? There's an entire back catalog of Janis Joplin, BB King and Cab Calloway records out there to write about. If this NiN garbage netted a four and a half I'd love to see what kind of rating something like Jimmi Hendrix' Are you Experienced? or Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power would net. Seriously, there's a world of jazz and blues albums out there that you could expose people too. Hell even old school soul and R&B music. Why this whiny shit? Reznor needs to have his underwear yanked up his ass and stuffed in his locker with the rest of his gothic ilk.
Woah dude, he's just reviewing an album he likes
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 10th, 2008, 06:20 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by D-MoN View Post
Hey Prot! Normally I dig some of the stuff you talk about but if you're going to do album reviews why not review the actual good ones? There's an entire back catalog of Janis Joplin, BB King and Cab Calloway records out there to write about. If this NiN garbage netted a four and a half I'd love to see what kind of rating something like Jimmi Hendrix' Are you Experienced? or Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power would net. Seriously, there's a world of jazz and blues albums out there that you could expose people too. Hell even old school soul and R&B music. Why this whiny shit? Reznor needs to have his underwear yanked up his ass and stuffed in his locker with the rest of his gothic ilk.
I reviewed this album because I happen to think it is a good one. I enjoy it. It makes my ears happy. I'm well aware that Trent Reznor is a whiny bitch, which I even mentioned in my review.

By all means, you're fully entitled to share your opinion here, and I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with me on every review. Hell, I'm even interested in seeing what the people who disagree with me have to say.

But keep in mind this is only my first album review. Sooner or later I'm bound to get around to something that you agree with. And there'll probably be a lot that you don't.

Music is the one section of "Weeklies" that's the most subjective, because it tends to get inside you in ways that other art doesn't necessarily do, so I imagine it's going to cause the most debating in the comment threads.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and at least elaborating on them rather than just contributing nothing by saying "NIN SUKS!!"

And I'm actually fairly ignorant about the work of Janis Joplin, BB King, and Cab Calloway, so you won't be seeing me reviewing them here anytime soon, I'm afraid.
James Brown in hiding
Jan 10th, 2008, 07:08 PM
Well it is i-mockery. I figured why not do a little mocking as opposed to NiN sucks! That's just glorified bathroom grafitti.
Pickled Patriarch
Jan 11th, 2008, 02:25 AM
D-MoN, I like how you're basically equating Reznor's skills with that of some bubblegum pop princess. Clearly you're too fixated on some of his earlier, whiny lyrics and his Hot Topic dwelling fans rather than the quality of the music itself. You're quickly dismissing him as somebody who "just pushes buttons on a drum machine" when he's not putting on eyeliner, when in fact, there's a lot more that goes into creating that music and you clearly just don't get it.

As for Janis Joplin, unlike Protoclown, I've heard a veritable shit-ton of her music as a result of riding to school every day with a bunch of hippies when I was younger. I'd gladly give Janis that Mercedes Benz she always wanted. Just have her stand in the middle of the street so I can run her ass down with it to forever rid those wretched vocals from my memory.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
I was forced to listened to Janis, now it's time for revenge!

Wanted to listen to real music, no help from my hippie friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
Fookin' up planets!
Jan 13th, 2008, 08:38 AM
Hell yes! Run that bitch down...

And as far as what our "Classic rock lovin', can't stand all those "wussies' who hate real music and dislike the stuff they rarely even play on the classic rock station" D-Mon. It's nice to see you "dehumanize" a groups fans all due to your dislike for the material of the band and of course the fans so called fashion sense (though I know a whole slew of us that do not A) wear nail polish and "Gothic" clothing and B) don't cry themselves to sleep every night... except me, but I do so for a whole different reason... I am married.) And it's rad to see you have so much dislike only for the more "Sensitive" fan's as the ones who use the band as an outlet or express themselves through poetry and (although too much for me) gothic dress... Damn dude... You know what? your right! We should just throw all those Trent Reznor fans in a big old camp where they could like... "concentrate" on their taste in crappy music, and at some point march them right into the showers and just be rid of the whole lot of em'."

Oh and you may not think the man is a musical genius but let me give you these few tidbits to wrap your head around:

1. Oliver Stone heard his stuff and had to work with him, handing over what had been at the time the entire soundtrack duties for one of the most controversial film's he had done in years... "Natural Born Killers".

2. David Lynch, Felt same way about working with "No Talent Reznor" and handed over soundtrack duties for "Lost Highway".

3. ID Entertainment stepped up gaming ambiance and music when they collaborated with Reznor and had him design the entire soundscape to the original and very spooky (due mostly to the music) "Quake".

4. Everyone who has worked with him in some for or another has had quite the musical background in their own right...
David Bowie (Whose career was re-vitalized by touring with the Nails), Peter Murphy of Bauhaus fame, Aphex Twin, Ice Cube, Megadeath, Johnny Cash (Who takes the classic's of Joplin, Calloway and BB King and say's "Fuck you I am the man in black"), Marilyn Manson, Pop Will Eat Itself (And their former lead singer "Clint Mansell" whom if you look him up has done some extremely gratifying work on many decent soundtracks.), Puff Daddy, Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes, and before her death Aaliyah (Whom they were collaborating on doing a whole album together), Upcoming Political Hip-hop freestylist Saul Williams, David Bowie compared NIN's impact to that of The Velvet Underground.In 1997, Reznor appeared in Time magazine's list of the year's most influential people, and Spin magazine described him as "the most vital artist in music." Bob Ezrin, producer for Pink Floyd, Kiss, Alice Cooper, and Peter Gabriel, described Reznor in 2007 as a "true visionary" and advised aspiring artists to take note of his no-compromise attitude. The Year Zero concept has included a remix album, an alternate reality game, and a potential television or film project. Just to name a few...

And here is a bonus short from Rolling Stone.com

We wondered what repercussions Radiohead’s In Rainbows independently released, pay-what-you-want maneuver would have on the record industry. Let this serve as Exhibit A: After years of disagreeing and downright bad-mouthing his record label, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor has finally been cut free contractually from Universal Music Group, allowing him to reach his avid fanbase as an artistic free agent. Recently, Reznor attacked how his record label boosted the price on Year Zero CDs in the foreign market, telling fans during a concert to just download his music illegally, a move that likely foreshadowed the fallout. Reznor posted on the official NIN blog today that after eighteen years of being signed to a label, it gives him “great pleasure to be able to finally have a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit.” Reznor also told fans to “look for some announcements in the near future regarding 2008.” Will we see the sequel to Year Zero (and the resurrection of its alternate reality game?) The real question now is, who will be the next artist to follow Thom Yorke and Trent Reznor down this new, unbeaten path?

So that's all I got to say...

So now I am gonna go take a bath in the dark with a few lit candles while applying some black nail polish, get dressed in my favorite "Goth" outfit and write some depressing poetry... all while listening to Cab Calloway of course.
Letch
Jan 14th, 2008, 11:24 AM
trent reznor only knows like 3 vocal melodies and there all on one album. he sorta just talks to mediocre music now. he should do somethin with avenged sevenfold. OOOOH SHIT!! burn.
Fookin' up planets!
Jan 20th, 2008, 04:53 AM
everything you just said made me want to shit my pants...
no, not in a good way.
James Brown in hiding
Jan 21st, 2008, 09:13 AM
Quote:
3. ID Entertainment stepped up gaming ambiance and music when they collaborated with Reznor and had him design the entire soundscape to the original and very spooky (due mostly to the music) "Quake".
The same ID entertainment that's been spinning out generic, shit ass first person shooter games for the "l33t" fans? Yeah sure, I'm going to trust their judgement on what's good. What else could this paper thin argument hold? Oh yeah!!

Quote:
David Lynch, Felt same way about working with "No Talent Reznor" and handed over soundtrack duties for "Lost Highway".
So, some stupid idiot that can't even bother making a comprehensable movie and who's biggest target audience are first year art students who are all convinced of their own brilliance that they can't see the fact that they're pretentious and full of shit. And Lynch likes NiN... OK... so yeah, I'm definately going to take that guy's advice for what's good music. What was missing? Some dude pissing in an oil drum? I'm sure Lynch would use that for a soundtrack for one of his half assed "deep" movies.

As far as using Cash for an example when he covered the truely awful "hurt" well fuck, it's the man in black. Let's face it, cash has testicles. Trent don't and I'm damn sure that Cash heard it and covered it just to spite the world's biggest sissy.
Hitler's Canoe!
Jan 21st, 2008, 03:12 PM
D-mon your ranting has convinced my eardrums and connected brain tissues that I no longer enjoy certain types of music, and for that I think you.

But answer me this; why should we ignore the champions of the film and game industries but listen to you?
Fookin' up planets!
Jan 23rd, 2008, 03:09 AM
D-Mon, you have soooo convinced me that some of my favorite music artists and directors are just pure shit with your super intelligent drivel. Thank you for getting me to see the light! Tomorrow I am going to sell all my shit and buy as much Joplin, B.B. King and Cab Calloway as much as humanly possible. I dare ask what directors you would recommend but I don't think I could handle all that awesome world rocking opinion in such a large dose...
Although I do have to admit that I am a bit confused... from your accompanying picture I would have thought that you would be preaching the good word of the Grateful Dead, Phish and a shite load of "Jam Bands". Hold on let me get back to reality for a moment...

My reason amigo for being on the defense is that you judge a group of fans in one single stroke based on their enjoyment for "one" band... and that is wrong. I enjoy everything from Nine Inch Nails to Arcade Fire to Lagwagon to Beethoven. You can't pigeon hole a group by what music they enjoy, that does not define them and if you are "half" as intelligent as you play it, you would realize that. My personal belief is that you are a lonely individual who has too much time and not enough friends and you just needed to ruffle a few ass feathers to get some excitement in your life. Man, you don't got to do that, anytime you wanna hang out let us all know and we can arrange a Nine Inch Nails listening party or sumthin'.


"Having been fucked is no excuse for being fucked up"
-Kimya Dawson-
Fookin' up planets!
Jan 23rd, 2008, 03:46 AM
P.S. It's ok that you are Canadian... My Mom is as well and she enjoys shit like "Supertramp", "Bread" and the "Bee Gee's".... so maybe the musical deficiency is just a Northern disease?

By the way I forgot to ask about some other Artist's you may be able to tear up with your wit:

Tom Waits? Nick Cave? Portishead? Atari Teenage Riot? Elliot Smith? Bright Eyes? Pink Floyd (Roger Waters fronted of course)? Bouncing Souls? The Weakerthans? The Dropkick Murphy's? It just came to me... your a "Korn" fan aren't you?

What about Cinema?

How's about....
Wim Wenders? Werner Herzog? Luc Besson? Harmony Korrine? Th Cohen Brothers?
Shit... I bet you love the Wachowski's huh?

I give up.......




not really.
Forum Virgin
Apr 15th, 2009, 03:36 PM
i thought the first track sounded a lot like something off last rights by skinny puppy... which is one of the best albums there's ever been..

i've started to like nine inch nails again, after a long time of disliking them. but i do think this is one of their weaker albums. i'm glad that reznor is starting to release things more or less independently though