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NIN Review series Part 7: Year ZeroAngryByrd After many years, Nine Inch Nails finally released an album that wasn't overdue! After 2005's With Teeth, Year Zero followed only two years later. This album did supposedly take a turn from previous NIN material. It was a hit among fans, with limited commercial success. So is it deserving of its fan-favorite status? Well, let me just say my opinion may upset a lot of people.
"A turn from previous NIN material" in this case means having really nothing but political commentary on this album. The lyrics are alright, but compared to the rest of Trent Reznor's lyrical genius, this album is a little bit flat. And what better way to complement okay lyrics than with unimpressive vocals? I hate to say it, but this is easily Trent Reznor's worst vocal performance to this day. I get that Trent was 42 when he recorded this album, but that doesn't mean he should sound like he's 42. I guess the amazing vocals on With Teeth kind of drained him.
The music is pretty easy to describe. I think it's best explained like this. First, take the music from The Downward Spiral. Now, take out everything cool, interesting, and experimental about it and throw in some more electronics. That's pretty much Year Zero. A lot of people claim that the electronics make the album sound more futuristic, but to me it doesn't really sound like anything. It just sounds like another Nine Inch Nails album. The only song that really stands out is Survivalism, which is really just a calmer version of Wish. Most of the songs all follow the same formula, and it gets old pretty quickly. Even with all of this, I still have to give Trent credit for one thing. At least he didn't include anything that sounded like Mr. Self Destruct.
Being a huge NIN fan, it kills me to say this, but I don't really like this album. The only thing "new" about it is the lyrics, which aren't that great. It's not so bad that I can't stand to listen to it, but it certainly isn't something I would ever choose to listen to again. I'm sorry but I just think this album is boring. I give Year Zero (get ready for it) a 4/10. And in case you couldn't tell, this is my least favorite NIN album. Thankfully, it didn't get any worse after this.