A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves

I have seen the future

Bad News: We’re F*cked

That’s what Trent Reznor said and he screams (My Violent Heart):

…on hands and knees. we crawl. you cannot stop us all

That is the message to tyrants. So despite the bad news there is still hope.

To make comparisons to other previous albums like legendary The Downward Spiral would be an understatement because Year Zero is a landmark musical achievement. There is no Hurt here, no Closer or other critically-acclaimed single.

The album successfully projects America in the distant future with overwhelming shades of authoritarianism and also mirrors the political conundrum of this tiny little island or any other despotic regimes for that matter. Consider the fifth stylish track Vessel and perhaps you may find similarities. Prior to the album’s release, Nine Inch Nails took a very different marketing approach. Xeno Boy writes:

There is something very interesting about NIN’s latest album. It is an actualisation of a viral marketing strategy that was probably first popularised in Gibson’s novel, Pattern Recognition. Year Zero came into existence when a fan found a URL printed on his NIN concert t-shirt. He typed the URL and the entire Year Zero narrative began. The narrative is deliciously simple : we are finding relics, in the form of mysterious websites and songs embedded in thumbdrives, from future scatter. In short, we are finding fragments of the future telling a story of a resistance movement in Year Zero. As these fragments mysteriously appear, their existence are spread virally through the Web. Fans start to scour cyberspace, concert venues for these hidden fragments which provide clues to where the next song can be found. Then, download sites are set up and the songs are spread like illegal music downloads except that in this case, its perfectly legal. It is the basis of the marketing strategy, the basis of the narrative of a future resistance. As more songs and more sites are found, the story of Year Zero is gradually pieced together.

The genius of Trent Reznor is never in question, he is master of it all and we are constantly at his behest from the start to finish. Here the revolutionary techniques are clearly defined and provides an avenue to create movement in societies where opposing views are treated with the equal opposing force by totalitarian states. While Year Zero breaks new ground wewt.gifin the complex sound engineering; at some point the music gnarls and explodes, it is as if reminding us of the complexities of social repression and the clash of ideologies. Its thematic Orwellian message of hegemony mirrors the manic political climate in this world with aplomb and artistry. Survivalism is the third track, one of the highlights of the album, that delivers this message and the music video complements it well (see below video).

Year Zero is not an easy album where you can initially swallow the music at one sitting; it is complex yet subtle to your intelligence especially where the abnormally normal mind may not conjure shades of cathartic resistance. For the listener, for pleasure or inspiration, can choose to accept or reject and take it like it is- Music. Year Zero warrants several listening to those new to the NIN genre and it begs you to transport the contents onto your MP3 player. Download it to your mp3 player at the highest bitrate please; you are doing injustice if it is converted at a low bitrate and thus all the intensity of the masterful sound engineering is lost.

Nine Inch Nails’ latest effort is in my opinion an excellent album and rather inspirational. I have always liked Nine Inch Nails and their albums never cease to please me. It is a comforting change from the previous schizophrenic innuendos of previous albums and finally there is a focus in a new direction in Year Zero. That being said, I’d give it a 4½ out of 5 stars. If you’d like, buy the near-perfect Nine Inch Nails live performance dvd Beside You in Time as well. It is an excellent visual and auditory accompaniment and will enrich your Nine Inch Nails experience. Year Zero and the live dvd are available at HMV Heeren or any good CD shops.

Warning: The video contain objectionable scenes. Viewer discretion is advised.

One Response to “I have seen the future”

  1. I have added some NiN songs which I consider, in my opinion, relevant to the context and theme of this blog. You can access these songs from the widget i have included on the sidebar. These free mp3s are from my own collection and are free for you to peruse and for your own consumption. Do think for the recording label and their property rights. 😉

    Let me know if there is anything else that you would want to hear.


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