The Last Word: Nine Inch Nails’ “Zero” Impact

Apr 17th, 2007 // 8 Comments

yearzerocover.jpgEvery week, we round up the all-important, all-summarizing last sentences of the biggest new-music reviews. Today’s entry is Nine Inch Nails’ just-released Year Zero:

- “Even his use of electronics has shifted to a new level: ‘Vessel’ evokes nothing so much as a sentient, schizophrenic computer having a nervous breakdown. Is the truth in here? Dunno, but Reznor’s claim that ‘I got my violence in high def ultra-realism’ sounds like gospel to us. B+” [Entertainment Weekly]
- “And you can’t accuse Reznor of laziness: Every song on the album is carefully thought through, and there isn’t an inch of sonic space that hasn’t been painstakingly decorated. But despite Reznor’s efforts — and sadly appropriate, considering the album’s themes — the strongest emotion “Year Zero” is likely to inspire is apathy.” [Salon]
- “The fan-artist communion reaches a peak on the post-doomsday finale, ‘Zero-Sum,’ a welcome addition to the lofty tradition of NIN album-closing ballads. ‘And I guess I just wanted to tell you,’ says Reznor in a conspiratorial whisper, ‘As the light starts to fade/ That you are the reason/ That I am not afraid.’ It’s the end of the world as he knows it, and he feels (relatively) fine. 6.7″ [Pitchfork]
- “Even the electronic noises on “Year Zero” sound a bit old-fashioned: a throwback to the days when computer-generated music was full of static and blips. If “Year Zero” feels warm and, for better and worse, familiar, this is why. It’s not really a cautionary tale: it’s a reminiscence.” [NY Times]


  1. Jfrankparnell

    Trent wouldn’t last a half hour in Jandek’s general malaise.

  2. Ned Raggett

    He would ask why Jandek doesn’t record in 5:1 stereo though.

  3. Trackback

    What is it that makes me want to buy the new Nine Inch Nails album, which comes out today? (Update: Idolator gathers the reviews.)

  4. stephenbush

    So I thought my time for NIN had passed — a couple years ago, I sold everything but The Downward Spiral, which is Trent’s obvious masterpiece.

    The creative promotion of Year Zero as a concept album, though, has been extremely well-done. On the whole, the album’s advance promotion (judging on technique, creativity, effectiveness, etc.) has been better at holding my interest than anything else in 2007 so far. The physical packaging for the album (including, of all things, a thermosensitive CD that had my jaw on the floor) is flat-out excellent.

    As for the music? I think about half the tracks are filler, but the better ones — The Beginning of the End, The Good Soldier, Vessel, Capital G, My Violent Heart, God Given, The Great Destroyer, Zero-Sum — my god, these are pretty fucking great.

    Overall, a surprisingly good NIN effort. I didn’t see it coming…but I won’t complain about it!

  5. Jude

    I think the time for a NIN backlashed passed…oh, sometime between “Broken” and “The Downward Spiral”.
    Having said that, I can safely say with full confidence that I can’t honestly remember that last time I thought he actually mattered.

    Yeah, its been THAT long.

    Doom ‘n’ gloom ‘n’ doom ‘n’ gloom ‘n’ blah-blah-blah… enough already. You’re old. The act’s tired…

  6. KinetiQ

    I was a NIN fan for a long time, even through The Fragile, but he lost me with “With Teeth.”

    Although “With Boots” was particularly delicious, especially how they called Trent’s never-ending disco bluff.

    I can already smell the parody mashups coming: Billy Corgan is sneering as he offers me a ride….

  7. Halfwit

    Truly awesome sidenote… when the CD goes in your computer to rip, it’s black (with the words “Year Zero” written on it in white). When it comes out, the disc is white, with a some binary code written across it (along with the company info). It looks like it may be hypercolor or something (the top of the disc appears to be fading back to black as the disc cools).

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