Since first listening to this CD via the “leaked” copies on the internet for the past few weeks, I swore to myself I wasn’t going to review it because I really didn’t want to. So here we are, Saturday night at 21:38 with shit all to do except sit on the goddamn internet and my plans have changed. I don’t know any better ways to go about this, so let’s just jump in…
Know what the track title refers to? Neither did I until I was filled in that it is a way of describing a country or nation that complete ascends in terms of economic and political power in the world…the next step after “superpower”. The term has actually been used to describe the British empire and I believe at one point the United States. That being said, this song is a lot better than the stupid sounding name would have you believe. Very strong and sinister feel to start off such a dark and depressing conceptual album.
2. The Beginning of the End
Apparently to Trent, the beginning of the end has a very cliche 80s rock beat to it. Good to know. Getting past that, this song slowly escalates but is, in my opinion, still the lowest point of the album (even more so than the intro for godsakes). This song stands out so much to me that everytime I start this album, I completely space out of the “NINzone” for the length of the song and it just plays as ambient background noise. Not a bad attempt, but it lacks something to be desired.
The first single to spawn from the Year Zero project, also available on its own titled EP Halo 23. The first time I heard this song was on the radio the day it was released and I couldn’t get the damn thing out of my head. I had no idea what the words were and yet was singing the beat for the next 2 hours of the trip. Not to say I loved this song at first at all, in fact it gave me a kind of sour taste in my mouth for what would come with the rest of the album. It took, I would estimate, about 5-10 listens to actually begin to not only dig what it was, but to actually find it quite enjoyable. There are a few corny lines in this song, but there is a point where that corniness actually becomes some of the coolest lyrics you’ve ever heard. All around good song, just needs to be given a chance.
4. The Good Soldier
The first of my choice tracks from this album. Very funky beat that one can’t help but bob their head to. This song was very well written and mixed together and really is the first landmark of greatness with the Year Zero project. While listening to, one of my personal favorite parts are where the guitar kicks in after the lyrics “and the bass goes bomb”. Very good song, decent lyrics, very worthy first honorable mention on this album.
Holy shit, a song title that single-handedly acts as a reminder that this is, in fact a Nine Inch Nails album. There really isn’t too much I want to say about this song that can’t be understood without hearing it once or twice. “I am becoming something else…I am turning into God…”. Awesome.
6. Me, I’m Not
I remember reading the tracklisting when it was first released and saying “wow, that will probably be the stupidest song on the CD”, and boy was I proven wrong. This is definately number 2 on my standout tracks on this album. Very nice, steady beat to carry us along and Trent’s singing/speaking/whispering fits nicely in. It is songs like this that one puts on and just relaxes to. The only thing I can say negatively about this track is that it doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as it is while driving, because I lack the required bass needed to fully enjoy this on the open road.
7. Capital G
Guess who this song is about. I’ll give you a hint… he signs his LAST name with a capital B. Yes, a song about George W. Bush and yes the lyrics are jumping on the “Fuck GWB” bandwagon…but surprisingly are really only annoying in the first verse. Besides the retarded opening lyrics, this song has easily become my third favorite on the CD. The singing pattern that follows the marching drum beat is kind of stupid sounding at first, but as with the lyrics in Survivalism, takes on a pretty neat sound after you get used to it. The chorus to this song is what made me relisten to it a few times as I instantly loved how it sounded, the rest just fell into place.
8. My Violent Heart
As far as I’m concerned this, along with Survivalism, was my favorite song to listen to out of the four pre-album leaked tracks whilst driving around. It has a decent enough verse, but what stands out about this song is actually the high-pitched squeeling with the distorted bass sounds in the chorus. That alone made my listen to this one a few times. Other than that, this track, again, leaves something to be desired.
9. The Warning
One of the better songs in terms of just how the instrumentation was put together. All around a decent track but I really don’t have much to say about it that you wouldn’t understand from a single listen to, I think its one of the more straight forward of the Year Zero tracks. One thing I have to say though, the guitar after the lyrics “tick, tick, ticking away” is just fucking amazing sounding.
10. God Given
Okay, easily my number 1 pick from this album. This song has everything that I could love. I love the beat, the filler noise and easily think this song has the best lyrics (along with Zero-Sum, which we’ll get to later) in this album. Very cultish and disturbing sound and rhythm which is easily what was attempted to be achieved. Best part of this song is the break in sound completely and then the kick back in with “wait, step into the light…”. My hat goes off to Trent for this song.
11. Meet Your Master
Very appropriate follow-up to God Given, Meet Your Master gives a nice new sound to the album which will carry on and evolve to a much more dark and depressing state of the developing road to “year zero”. A pretty basic song with not much to go into really. Again, a listen to will serve you better than a description of why this song is good.
12. The Greater Good
Instrumental. Listen to it for yourself.
13. The Great Destroyer
This song is another choice track, and even can be considered my number 2 favorite song on the album. The first half of the song is basically giving you an idea that some bad shit is about to go down and this “Great Destroyer” is ready to ruin someone’s (everyone’s) day, while the rest of the song is Trent doing his best Richard . James impression and stroking his “I’m still soooo industrial” ego. This song, being one of my favorites, also ironically has one of the worst things in this album. Listen to the second time he sings “destroyer” and all will be explained.
14. Another Version of the Truth
Another instrumental, and its become obvious that Trent still has no problem putting more emotion in music than he does in lyrics…but being Nine Inch Nails fans we are cool with that anyways, right? This song, to me, carries on where the second half of The Great Destroyer leaves off, with the instrumental in that being more of the destructive force that is happening and this being more the realization of what the hell we have done. Very sad and reflective song that, on its own could end the album on the perfect note.
15. In This Twilight
h not following the musical flow left of Another Version of the Truth, In This Twilight continues on the reflective pause on the realization of the end that has come. The lyrics are very emotionally strong and mesh extremely well with the musical backing, specifically in the choruses. This deserves another shoutout as well as can be considered my third favorite on this album, although it took well over 10 listens to when it was first leaked to think so…I actually really hated this song for the longest time and then it just kind of grew on me, and put into context it is easily one of the best on the album.
Well, this is it. Everything is done, we fucked up, we are dead and/or dying and now there is nothing to do but reflect and ask ourselves how this could have happened. We have come to the conclusion of all the consequences we knew our actions would have, but it all had to end sometime right? A very down note, and quite honestly the most depressing and scary song I have heard come out for awhile. Thanks Trent, you’ve done it again. This is my fourth favorite song off this album and I think everyone should hear it at least once, it is a very powerful song. Pay close attention to what is being said.
I love the whole apocalypse thing in media, and this is no exception. It takes a few listenings to really get into the groove, but that was really no different than With_Teeth for me either (which I also loved). Worth buying, downloading, just worth hearing in any way possible.
And there we have another review I promised I wouldn’t do. I hate myself. Enjoy the album.