Nine Inch Nails - year zero
April 5, 2007 4:31 AM   Subscribe

Listen to 'Year Zero', the new Nine Inch Nails album for free. Album main page. Via
posted by slimepuppy (66 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Full disclaimer: I am Trent Reznor's manwhore.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:34 AM on April 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Cool. Thanks.

Listening to it now. Hopefully the album is better than the first single, Survivalism, which sucked.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:40 AM on April 5, 2007

Thx! NIN is on an album binge lately, and that's a good thing.
posted by bhouston at 4:50 AM on April 5, 2007

posted by meh at 4:51 AM on April 5, 2007

I'm up to Track 5, and so far, the prognosis isn't good...

Meh. Maybe it's because I'm tired. I'll go to bed and listen again tomorrow. But as of right now, it seems as though Reznor has given up trying to make music and is more interested in how many bleeps and bloops he can stick onto a CD.

And this coming from a guy who thought With Teeth was excellent.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:51 AM on April 5, 2007

I thought "The Good Soldier" was kind of groovy.
posted by meh at 5:01 AM on April 5, 2007

Reznor lost it after Downward Spiral.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:05 AM on April 5, 2007

Blazecock, BAH! The Left disc of Fragile is the only NIN I still listen to with any frequency.
posted by trinarian at 5:09 AM on April 5, 2007

I've only heard about half the tracks so far, but I love this the way I haven't loved nin since I was a teen.
posted by dong_resin at 5:21 AM on April 5, 2007

On meh's implied recommendation, I've started with "The Good Soldier" and wouldn't you know it, it is kind of groovy. Not bad.

I sorta wish that he'd stop singing though. More instrumentals would be pleasant.
posted by the dief at 5:30 AM on April 5, 2007

My work here is done.
posted by meh at 5:41 AM on April 5, 2007

I HATED "With Teeth", but I"m digging this so far.
posted by empath at 5:55 AM on April 5, 2007

I'm one of those guys who likes to pretend that Reznor died a tragic death sometime after he made "Deep." I never worshipped the guy, but I thought he made some good music. The five year wait after The Downward Spiral was too much, and what I got was an album that left me puzzled. I believe I managed to sit through The Fragile three times, hoping that it would click, but it never did. The singles were obviously tacked-on, and the weird trend I had noticed from Fixed seemed to be dominant - the auditory equivalent of someone who just kept painting landscapes. I haven't even listened to With Teeth yet, which is pretty sad. I'm afraid of the disappointment. I like the fact that he is doing progressive things with the media, but it seems to have come with too high of a price.
posted by adipocere at 6:02 AM on April 5, 2007

well, i listened to the whole thing ... didn't really like it ... some of the synth and guitar sound designs were reasonably cool, but some of them were old hat in the 90s ... the tempos are plodding and the drums aren't really that interesting ... and the songs aren't all that memorable

it's time for him to try something else, i think ... oh, yeah, and cheer the hell up ... he's in his 40s ... does he want to be a miserable wretch ALL his life?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:05 AM on April 5, 2007

I'm confused. I only read this thread to see how many comments before the first "meh". It seems to be either the fourth or fifth comment, depending on how you count it.
posted by hermitosis at 6:06 AM on April 5, 2007

It must be hard to make such unrelentingly angry music every day for - what - 16 years?

He probably listens to George Formby in his car.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:12 AM on April 5, 2007

What do you expect? He's been sober for the last two albums, that's really all you need to know.
posted by prostyle at 6:19 AM on April 5, 2007

I liked them better when they were doing Johnny Cash covers.
posted by mendel at 6:38 AM on April 5, 2007 [2 favorites]

I don't think it's bad. I don't understand the comments about him making "angry music" for so long, It's NIN, it's what they do. I think it would be worse it they watered down, like so many people do.

And regards the tempos and the drums not being all that interesting, it's not like they ever did polyrhythm or anything like that, ¿no?

It sounds like a NIN album, and it's better than what he's done since 'Downward Spiral' in my opinion.
posted by micayetoca at 6:53 AM on April 5, 2007

I'm no Reznor fanboy, but I do always eagerly await new releases with the hope that they'll be as good as the great stuff.
I'm a sucker for a good concept album, though (damn you Queensryche and Savatage!). They are different animals all together.
I didn't like Survivalism when I first heard it. It sounds much better in context.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:03 AM on April 5, 2007

I've just started to listen so it's too early to judge. Not too enthusiastic so far, though.

"and the weird trend I had noticed from Fixed seemed to be dominant"

Ah, but Fixed is by far my favorite NiN album. I love, love, love Fixed.

I was a bit of a NiN snob when Downward Spiral came out, so at that time I liked his earlier stuff better. Now, though, I noticed the other day that Downward Spiral has held up better over time than has Pretty Hate Machine. But both Broken and Fixed are still just as enjoyable to me as they were back then.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:13 AM on April 5, 2007

I think the first half is a bit uneven, but to me, the second half (pretty much starting from track 8 "my violent heart") picks up quite a bit.
posted by chimaera at 7:20 AM on April 5, 2007

Well, track five, Vessel is the first song that's gotten my attention. Not so much the lyrics, but the sound.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:22 AM on April 5, 2007

I'm gonna go with slimepuppy too, I am also a Reznor manwhore. Everyone's opinion is going to be different, and in fact, an opinion, not fact. So, for my fanboy ranting (sorta):

Pretty Hate Machine: Damn good at the time. Has not aged very well.

Broken: Awesome. Obviously went thew same route Al Jorgensen did between Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste: Give guitars more leverage, with a couple dashes of rage. Bake @ 350 for 45 minutes, or until fully angst riden.

Fixed: Fucking brutal. The Foetus remix of "Wish"
is absolute genius. I used to listen to "Screaming Slave"
when I dropped. What's up with that?

The Downwards Spiral: i guess this is his "masterpiece". This is one of my favourite albums. Also, the story behind the recording of this album is just as interesting as the album itself.

The Fragile: I'm going to admit, I'm a bit disappointed with this album. I mean ,a fair Trent Reznor album is better than many people's best, but this is his decent towards alternative pop radio. There are alot of good songs on here (it is 2 discs), but his lyric writing has weakened

[With Teeth]. This album is shit. Total shit. Okay, I will say the songs "The Line Begins to Blur" and "Beside You in Time" are really good...and that's it. This also is the first album of theirs I didn't buy. I don't plan to either, find those songs elsewhere.

Year Zero I just heard the album in it's entirety yesterday for the first time on Q101. I like it. Better than The Fragile, not better than Broken or TDS. I like the minimalist approach to the songwriting and recording as well.

Also, as a fellow musician. I can tell you IMHO that Reznor is a near genius. He takes into his recordings not only a vast knowledge on digital recording, but also acoustiphysics, classical training, and audio manipulation.

OK I'm done rambling now.
posted by Chocomog at 7:41 AM on April 5, 2007

Thx! NIN is on an album binge lately, and that's a good thing.

When I heard the first leak I freaked out a little, I was thinking "New NIN album... it's been five years already? Where did the time go?"

it's time for him to try something else, i think ... oh, yeah, and cheer the hell up ... he's in his 40s ... does he want to be a miserable wretch ALL his life?

Ugh, remember when The Cure started putting out happy albums? Stick with your strengths.

And Chocomog, I'd agree with you that so far this album seems better than his last two, but there's still a sort of "sameness" to the tracks. Actually I would guess that Trent's career would be the same if he released those albums in the reverse order.
posted by bobo123 at 7:47 AM on April 5, 2007

Please let it be a Batman concept album.
posted by klangklangston at 7:58 AM on April 5, 2007

me, i'm not is one of my favorites, as is my violent heart. Those are the more accessible tracks, though, so maybe the album just hasn't sunk in yet. Still, I'm not disappointed.

Also, are the track titles supposed to be lowercase or is that just the style they used for the website?
posted by theiconoclast31 at 8:17 AM on April 5, 2007

Whats with all the Fragile hate? I thought it was really really good, I would listen to La Mer on repeat just for that double bass.
posted by Mach5 at 8:22 AM on April 5, 2007

Have any of you guys been following along on the Year Zero ARG (omg! not Pepsi Blue!!!1 I just like ARGs!!!) associated with this game? I didn't find out about it until late into it so I've just been playing catch up with other people's discoveries on it but it got me interested in the album and it seems like some people are agreeing that getting into the ARG increases the appreciation of the album's concept.
posted by kkokkodalk at 8:36 AM on April 5, 2007

So far, this is confirming that I am indeed over Nine Inch Nails. Can't stay seventeen forever, I guess.

Chocomog - Broken, however, was teh hotness.

I think it was The Fragile that did my Reznor fanboyishness in. For all the hype, all the interviews, all those forecasts of music changing forever with it's release, we were given an album padded out like Micheal Keaton's Batman suit. The music had evolved, but the lyrics were the same old whiny crap that one could find on the back of some Hot Topic kid's math homework, for far less money.

And this is back when people still paid for music!
posted by EatTheWeek at 8:38 AM on April 5, 2007

NIN snobs? That's a phrase I'm unfamiliar with.
posted by boo_radley at 8:41 AM on April 5, 2007

Eh, I'm enjoying this far more than The Fragile or With Teeth, which I thoughgt both kind of sucked. And it's reminding me to get out my old albums and rip 'em to the computer (though I can't seem to find Fixed).

Ah, the heady days of being a teenage industrial fan. I've gotta say that NIN was never my first choice— I generally prefered Ministry and folks like KMFDM and Pigface. But it was industrial that got me into Einsturzende Neubauten (which I've probably misspelled), and allowed me to enjoy more metal and noise, which I listen to far more now. Industrial was kind of an entry point into the far more interesting music that came before and after my mid-90s portal, and I feel kinda bad for my pals who still only listen to industrial and metal. It's like, can't we all just admit that Die Krupps was never all that great, and that Chemlab had only one good song? That the lyrics for the vast, vast majority of this stuff are absolutely moronic?
I kinda wish there was an industrial equivalent to Mastodon or something, somebody who could be both smart and heavy and connected to an industrial scene. But I think that NIN's '90s success meant that a lot of the things that used to be industrial hallmarks are now heard in mainstream music, so pure industrial is sort of a fool's game anymore.
Still, this is decent musicc to have on in the background. Reminds me of Shriekback, and I like the glitchy textures he's working with. Kid 606 still kinda eats his lunch, but whatever.
posted by klangklangston at 9:03 AM on April 5, 2007

Oh, and I still can't hear Terrible Lie without thinking off our high school parody "Terrible Pie."
posted by klangklangston at 9:05 AM on April 5, 2007

it's time for him to try something else, i think ... oh, yeah, and cheer the hell up ... he's in his 40s ... does he want to be a miserable wretch ALL his life?

It's worked for Morrissey ..... not to mention Leonard Cohen .....
posted by blucevalo at 9:05 AM on April 5, 2007

He has lots of really nice gear. (sidstation, etc)

Wish is pretty good. Oh, and Perfect Drug was pretty good too. But, that's all I can take.
posted by four panels at 9:13 AM on April 5, 2007

Nothing makes me feel like I don't belong here more than a NIN post.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:15 AM on April 5, 2007

I don't like the whole angst thing so much, but I'll admit that I really thought the earlier NIN albums were well done. I haven't listened to anything after The Downward Spiral I think, and probably wouldn't be interested in Year Zero, but I have read all about the epic marketing scheme on this album. People looking at this post that aren't into NIN, might at least find the marketing aspect of Year Zero interesting: worth a look see.
posted by aletheia at 9:25 AM on April 5, 2007

Nothing makes me post about NIN more than feeling like I don't belong here.
posted by Parannoyed at 9:30 AM on April 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

"I've gotta say that NIN was never my first choice— I generally prefered Ministry and folks like KMFDM and Pigface."

I have some KMFDM now, but I never liked them that much. I do (and did) like Ministry and Pigface. I also like(d) Skinny Puppy, who you don't mention.

My discovery of this industrial happened during my discovery of alternative music in general starting in 1989. And that only happened because I met my ex-wife then. I was 25 and had mostly given up on pop music in general. She was only 20, from Toronto, extremely involved in the music scene and very knowledgeable about alternative music. Her tastes ran more to the folkish part of the spectrum, though, and so I was exposed only to the most prominent harder stuff.

I don't have the temperament or motivation to go way out of my way to really discover new music. I'm more casual about it. I'm the sort of person who discovers the cool music about six months to a year before it becomes popular, not two years, if you see what I mean.

After my ex and I divorced in the mid-90s, without her influence I've not been very good at discovering new music. I do a little bit, but I find a lot of my tastes are stuck in the early 90s. I've been belatedly discovering a lot of the most popular electronica these days. But I don't recognize some of the industrial bands you mention, klangklangston, and I regret that I didn't discover stuff more deeply in industrial, which I liked best of all the genres.

Partly that's because even as a middle-aged guy, I still find that angry music appeals to me most strongly. I'm not so interested in adolescent angst type anger, which does seem to be too common and a legitimate complaint against NiN. But I do like politically angry music, as long as it's not just simpleminded and merely trendily angry. Angry folk-ish music appeals to me, especially by female singers. I love Ani DiFranco, for example. So, I don't know. Is angry music inherently juvenile? I don't think so. It often is, however.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:35 AM on April 5, 2007

A little off topic, but this leak is good example of rabid RIAA lunacy.

Might have found themselves in an awkward position, trying to sue the shit out of themselves...
posted by beta male at 9:44 AM on April 5, 2007

Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral pretty much defined my high school years. When we weren't fighting, me and my first girlfriend listened to both albums religiously. NIN played as soundtrack to many a Saturday night house wrecker, and otherwise assisted in the venting of much teenage angst. Further kudos to Trent and Co. for acting as the long, winding introduction to really great stuff like Dalek. Which is my way of saying that, in spite of their long-standing and continued suckiness, there's always going to be a soft spot in my heart for NIN.
posted by sookypops at 10:44 AM on April 5, 2007

Ok, so God Given is so far the most club friendly track, but mostly because it rides into the same vein as Closer did from The Downward Spiral.

I like this album as a whole more than I like any single song though. It has a story. It goes somewhere. Trent writes each song from particular mindsets, particular characters, each with their own attitudes and personas. I like this. Concept album versus a collection of singles. Nifty.

Of course I've been listening to a lot of King Crimson and Pink Floyd lately. Don't ask me why. Now I'm going to go back through my NIN discography. You all forgot to mention all the remix albums that came out of The Downward Spiral. There are so many other tracks that are amazing done by Trent and company. His cover of Get Down Make Love is awesome.

And really, it's not Trent most people have a problem with, or his music. It's his fans. They scare me more than anything else, mostly because they won't listen to anything else without saying "why doesn't this sound more like (insert some NIN song here)" or "oh, this sounds like (insert some NIN song here". Same for Marilyn Manson fans, or just fans in general.
posted by daq at 11:22 AM on April 5, 2007

Also, The Great Destroyer, is an excellent track, mostly because it is noisy as all get out and has some great sonic layouts (namely at 1:41 into the song. Gotta love that harmonic chorus). Then it goes completely glitch, which I would have never expected from hook happy Trent. It's like he finally began to grasp some of the uses of good glitch (and this song is definitely good glitch, which means that it has a steady evolution of sound, versus just some random noise generator).

Another Version Of The Truth - ah, excellent, much like A Warm Place from The Downward Spiral. I love some of his more thoughtful instrumental peices. The excellent use of dynamics, which is so rare in pop music today. I will definitely put this into my rotation of "thinking" music.

So who else is going to be buying this album when it's released?
posted by daq at 11:32 AM on April 5, 2007

I really didn't like Survivalism when it first came out, but then I figured out a trick: crank it way up. It's been mixed to be played loud. I like it pretty well with the volume up.
posted by jmhodges at 12:01 PM on April 5, 2007

This album confirms that I can't really get into NIN anymore. I mean, this album definately seems like an improvement over With Teeth, which is great for Trent... but yah... I'm just not angsty/aggressive/edgy at all anymore. It's questioniable whether I ever really was, or if I just thought it was cool when I was a teenager.

The only album which I can still listen to with no nostalgia in mind is Broken. This is because, as others have pointed out, it completely fucking rules.
posted by Alex404 at 12:17 PM on April 5, 2007

I lost all ability to take NIN seriously after going back and listening to Joy Division and early New Order.
posted by Artw at 12:59 PM on April 5, 2007

Well that was fucking awesome, though to be honest I'm the last person to be objective about NIN. Yes, I even liked With Teeth (though I'll admit it was Reznor's weakest album).

I was pretty worried when I heard that this was going to be a concept album. I was worried it would be all marketing and no meat, but I'm feeling good about Year Zero.
posted by lekvar at 1:39 PM on April 5, 2007

I have never been a huge fan, I was exposed to Foetus, Einstuerzende, NWW, Skinny Puppy, Coil, et al too early to think much of NIN. That said, I am enjoying this well enough. Good, Amon Tobin-ish density.
posted by everichon at 1:56 PM on April 5, 2007

everchion, it helps if you think of NIN as descending from Front 242 rather than Foetus and the rest. I was listening to them all too, and NIN still has its place.
posted by lekvar at 2:04 PM on April 5, 2007

It's funny how taste and culture flow--I only gave it a listen cos Warren Ellis seemed pleasantly surprised. It's like finally learning to like avocados. Which I do not.
posted by everichon at 2:10 PM on April 5, 2007

everichon - FWIW the new Amon Tobin album is amazing.
posted by Artw at 2:29 PM on April 5, 2007

I never ever thought I would be cancelling a pre-ordered NIN album - especially when everyone hated With Teeth, and I couldn't stop listening. Maybe it will grow on me. Maybe I have crappy speakers. I'll come back in a few months time and try again.
posted by saturnine at 2:30 PM on April 5, 2007

the new Amon Tobin album is amazing

I agree wholeheartedly! :o) What he does with knobs ain't natural.
posted by everichon at 2:48 PM on April 5, 2007

Listening to the album right now. Sounds pretty good so far. It's definitely NIN, but Trent seems to have evolved, which is a good thing IMO.

The Fragile didn't grab me, but by then I was out of my teens. With Teeth failed to interest me as well. However, I heard the advance tracks from this album and I liked them, so I've been looking forward to this one.

Personally, I've always preferred Skinny Puppy (and I'm so glad they're back, too!). Teen weirdo angst 4eva!

(and yeah, the new Amon Tobin album is 100% awesome. just like the one before it!)
posted by neckro23 at 3:02 PM on April 5, 2007

The Splinter Cell one, or the one before that? TBH Tobin went through a patch where he was a little too experimental and cacophonous for his own good, but he's recovered marvelously.

(His Solid Steel mix albulm is something like 300% awesome, BTW)

In other derails, I'm still waiting for former NIN collaborator Aphex Twin to do something as good as the good bits on Druqks which doesn't swoth styles every 5 seconds.

TBH these days I'd much sooner listen to spooky industrial inspired electronica than "Industrial Rock". The lack of whiny angsty lyrics is a definate plus. In my mind Reznor is perpetulaly wearing a cape.
posted by Artw at 3:14 PM on April 5, 2007

(I meant Out From Out Where. The Splinter Cell album doesn't really "count".)

Industrial rock has been dead for years, recent efforts by Ministry and Acumen Nation notwithstanding. Long live industrial rock!
posted by neckro23 at 3:24 PM on April 5, 2007

I saw them live last night in Frankfurt.

Reznor mentioned after performing one of the new tracks that the audience could "steal the album from the Internet starting, well, today." I assumed that it had finally shown up in full as a *.torrent, and he was being wry.
posted by moonbiter at 3:37 PM on April 5, 2007

Is this post something you have to have a head like a hole to understand?
posted by maxwelton at 3:40 PM on April 5, 2007

OK, I'm only tangentaly familliar with Amon Tobin, but I've been running into fans with increasing regularity over the past year. If one was to wish to become more intimately familiar with his works, where would one start?
posted by lekvar at 3:47 PM on April 5, 2007

I can't believe more people aren't talking about the associated Alternate Reality Game. It seems essential to understanding the album. I wouldn't know since I haven't listened to it yet. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the game.
posted by rhizome23 at 3:49 PM on April 5, 2007

Fifty-six comments and still no answer to the most obvious and important question: Can strippers dance to it?
posted by oncogenesis at 3:57 PM on April 5, 2007

lekvar - I'd give Permutation or Supermodified a shot - they're pretty accesable and satisfyingly noisy without making you feel like you've been put in an oil drum and roled fown some stairs. And the new one, Foley Room, is really, really good.

more here:
posted by Artw at 4:19 PM on April 5, 2007

No thanks.
posted by Eideteker at 4:38 PM on April 5, 2007

each album is different, which is a good thing. this is different, too. a good thing.

and it has a bit more to say than previous ones. i'm a big trent manwhore also (have a trent manwhore id card) and that being said, i'm as happy as i was when i finally "got" the downward spiral.
posted by dopamine at 5:50 PM on April 5, 2007

Speaking of new, harsh industrial albums with Trent Reznor on them, has anyone heard the new El-P yet? Yeah, Trent cameos on the track which I swear just happens to be on the winamp now: Flyentology. I really like what I'm hearing on the album as a whole...very dense production, slightly more melodic. Goes by the name I'll Sleep When You're Dead.

And I heard nothing of this new Amon Tobin till now! I'm downloading it as I type this. All the stalwarts are coming out with new, promising albums.
posted by Edgewise at 8:05 PM on April 5, 2007

I've given it a few good listens. I think I like the individual songs more than the album as a whole; when I listen to it all the way through I keep thinking to myself that there's a few dud tracks, but I can't really pick them out. I guess God Given and Survivalism are the two big stinkers on the album for me. And there are spots on other tracks where the music seems a little samey, but it's not enough to ruin the album for me by any means. The glitchy stuff is cool, and I like how Trent incorporated it into the NIN sound, but I hope that after all the Year Zero hooplah plays out (including the rumored second YZ-themed album next year) he'll go a different route.

Vessel is great. So's My Violent Heart (still). Lots of good tracks. Much better than With Teeth, but I still like The Fragile more. Also pleasantly surprised to see some Mefites digging it.

It's all worth it to hear Trent lose himself and have a Journey moment during The Great Destroyer right before the noise kicks up.
posted by kryptondog at 11:35 AM on April 6, 2007

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