Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Nine Inch Nails -- Year Zero
I don't slag albums very often, especially not ones by artists I admire, but I am about to slag Nine Inch Nail's Year Zero.
You know how right now I can go to Target and use whatever restroom I choose, regardless of what's hanging or not hanging between my legs? The now nine-year old Year Zero posits that at this point in history (2016), the exact opposite will be true. Year Zero is a thematic departure for Nine Inch Nails's Trent Reznor, in that his lyrics are often explorations of his own emotions and mental state, and Year Zero's are not..
For Year Zero, Reznor attempted something different: a concept album about a hypothetical future where the Bush Administration transforms American into a morally repressive theocracy. This concept would have been amusing and dare I even say "palatable" in 2003--even in 2005, perhaps. By 2007, though, this concept is laughable and ridiculous. Reznor is so late to the Bush-bashing party, there's no cake left, and everyone who's still there is severely drunk, passed out, or tripping in the attic. By 2007, after Afghanistan, Iraq, Katrina, the subprime mortgage crisis, and The Great Recession, even W.'s mom was tired of the Bush's. The country was in about as much danger of becoming a Bush-led theocracy as it was of suddenly spontaneously combusting into pink fire composed entirely of cotton candy. On top of that, social issues progressed in America during the Bush Administration, just like the have every year since this nation was founded, regardless of who is sitting in the Oval Office.
Year Zero simply doesn't resonate. It sounded ridiculous in 2007, and it sounds even more ridiculous in 2016, when view of Bush's character has improved and his charitable work in Africa has become legendary, even if popular views on his war and economy records remain just as unpopular as they were...in 2007.
I had more slagging to do, but I just don't have it in me. This album, like anything Reznor creates, has some interesting textures, atmosphere, and rhythms, but this is the worst thing the man has ever released for public consumption. It breaks no new ground musically, and nothing sticks. (DON'T!) Listen to the album's awful lead-single "Capital G," which sounded dated in 2007, and sounds even more musically out-of-touch now. Reznor claims that the "G" stands for "Greed" and not "George," but that's some serious back-pedaling when the song's opening line is "I pushed a button and elected him to office and he pushed a button and he dropped a bomb."
With that said, I am going to end this review right here, so that I can go listen to something I actually enjoy...like essentially every other piece of music Reznor has released in his justifiably storied career. Adverbs.
1. HYPERPOWER! 1:42
2. The Beginning of the End 2:47
3. Survivalism 4:23
4. The Good Soldier 3:23
5. Vessel 4:52
6. Me, I'm Not 4:51
7. Capital G 3:50
8. My Violent Heart 4:13
9. The Warning 3:38
10. God Given 3:50
11. Meet Your Master 4:08
12. The Greater Good 4:52
13. The Great Destroyer 3:17
14. Another Version of the Truth 4:09
15. In This Twilight 3:33
16. Zero-Sum 6:14