I was unlucky enough to receive Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails in the post this morning from CD Wow. It doesn’t appear to be very good. Certainly, I hadn’t heard the single until I listened to the album otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bought it. I do feel though that they were a good enough band to buy what they had produced without hearing any of the songs on it. I usually do that.
The packaging is pretty nice. It has a funny little bit of paper attached saying “Consuming or spreading this material may be deemed subversive by the United States Bureau Of Morality. If you or someone you know engage in subversive thoughts, call.” Etc. So I was well prepared for some pretty harsh lyrics about the state of the world and serious comment regarding Iraq and that.
The album starts with Hyperpower! which is a nice enough start. Echoing Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar album opening. It swells nicely and ends abruptly. Strangely, Mr Reznor then follows this simple enough intro with another song which does exactly the same thing, The Beginning of the End. A album filler with no redeeming qualities except to waste time getting to the single. And ahem, then there’s the single. It’s awful. Uninspired and its lyrics target a subject that I think that shit UK rapper who we entered for Eurovision last year could’ve done better.
Vessel immediately upset me as it appears Mr Reznor has lost all talent for interesting beats and melodies. I think, by the age of 30, I’ve listened to some seriously wild and clever glitch and electronica by other artists so it’s very unfortunate to hear it done crappy. Mind you, at 4 minutes and 25 it starts to work and I was hoping it would go on for another five minutes in that vein but no, it lasts another minute. Shame really, but then the next track again tries to emulate some nice electronic stuff at about 4 minutes 10 seconds. So again, another minute of weird electronics and then stops. This is only the 6th track and he’s run out of ideas.
Basically apart from the single every single track so far builds layer after layer verse chorus verse chorus and then stops. Structurally, it’s offensive.
According to the packaging Capital G is the next single. Oh dear. Within 45 seconds I was laughing out loud at his vocals. More lyrics blaming God for everything. Man, has he been hanging out with Marilyn Manson too fucking much or what? Antichrist Superstar was 13 years ago!!! Thanks Trent, all this talk of God has even got me praying – I’m asking Him for this album to end!
Oh and that song just stops as well. Has he forgotten how to end songs?!
Ah, My Violent Heart is Nine Inch Nails being good. Doesn’t seem to fit on the record but it’s good. It does have echoes of most of the other tracks I’ve heard so far. It’s like looking through an artists sketch pad so you can see all his ideas and then finally look at his final painting. That’s what all the other songs on the record have been up until My Violent Heart – incomplete sketches.
God Given‘s chorus isn’t good enough. And oh look, after the second repetition of the verse and chorus we go into a middle bit with some weird electronic industrial stuff. This is so predictable it’s sad.
What really gets to me is that all the songs are the same. They all appear to be the same tempo, all with that off beat groove.
Meet Your Master, mind you, is pretty good. Has a decent, if not, excellent chorus. Obvious, I guess. But nice, and reintroduces the opening electronics neatly with the end of the chorus. After the second chorus = weird and not-good electronics. Oh man.
The Greater Good, although the same tempo as the rest of the album, has some lovely percussion and string/piano stuff on it. His voice is just whispered so you can’t hear him – makes the song better.
Ah, now then! The Great Destroyer. This turns into the best track on the record! But it has some totally cheesy vocals for 2 minutes first. Then it does a hilarious Queen harmony then attempts to go into Hardcore Breakbeat. Sounds good, but this’ll be the point most of their metal fan base turn the record off. Still nowhere near as intense as Hypnoskull or anything, but still quite loud and bass thumping! Better!
I’m sick of this record now. It doesn’t need to be this long. Still, I’ll keep listening…
Ooh, a rubbish elevator music instrumental. The kind of waffle that clogged up The Fragile and made it two discs of poop instead of one disc awesomeness. Skipped.
In This Twilight continues with the theme of having the verse and chorus have the same drum beat (ala Closer) and just add more instruments and stuff on the chorus. Skipped.
And the last track is another electronic borefest. He uses his nice whisperer vocals though so that changes it a bit. I’m so shocked at how he’s sang nearly the entire record with his normal voice with no weird effects and stuff.
The record fails because it lacks any really memorable chorus’s. Which for a pop band like this, is outrageous.
And finally Trent, how fucking dare you make a record/concept album about war, army and America and not even have the fucking balls to scrape the surface of the issues. You’ve been too busy making up fake websites to promote your album that you forgot to write any songs for it!
Now fuck off for five years and you may write something good again. In fact, make it ten. You used to be the fucking best thing in music. The Downward Spiral, Broken and even the Fragile to be fair were unparalleled genius! With Teeth was pretty damn good too. But this? Dull! How is that possible for you of all people to be dull?! Hang your head in shame.