Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero CD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero CD Review

Nine Inch Nails - Year ZeroCompared against the last Nine Inch Nails release, the band's latest CD is pretty solid. The band's sound has almost gone full-circle back to the early (pre-Woodstock) days. At one point, it seemed that Reznor was going for more of a "live" full band sound but this disc is a return to Reznor as a one-man show. In commenting on this CD, Reznor said that "[a]ll [songs were] written and performed by me, produced / programmed by me and Atticus Ross."

There was a lot of pre-release hype around this release ('mysterious' websites and flash drives) and Reznor bills this release as a concept album. "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..."

I am not sure this release works as a concept album as the music is too similar across tracks. When I think of a concept album, I think of work by The Residents, Biomechanical and Anata. With these bands, the music forces you to pay attention to the story line. With Year Zero, this simply sounds like a well put-together Nine Inch Nails release.

Trent Reznor evidently doesn't see this release as an end-to-end concept as he is only playing a couple songs from this release in the band's current setlist. Here is a recent setlist from one of the band's shows last month in Europe:

01 HYPERPOWER! (from Year Zero)
02 The Beginning Of The End (from Year Zero)
03 Heresy
04 Terrible Lie
05 March Of The Pigs
06 Closer
07 Survivalism (from Year Zero)
08 Burn
09 Gave Up
10 Me, I'm Not (from Year Zero)
11 The Great Destroyer (from Year Zero)
12 Eraser
13 Only
14 Wish
15 The Good Soldier (from Year Zero)
16 No, You Don't
17 Suck
18 Dead Souls
19 The Hand That Feeds
20 Head Like A Hole
21 Hurt

Of the 16 tracks on the CD, only 6 are in the set list for this particular night.

This is a solid CD and well worth the listen for fans of Nine Inch Nails. I don't think this release is going to convert many new fans. Old fans need to know in advance that there aren't any "radio hits" on this release. (None of the tracks compare to "Head Like A Hole" or "Suck")

Nine Inch Nails' Website