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YEAR ZERO

Year Zero


Nine Inch Nails' 2007 release Year Zero will undoubtedly go down in rock history for the way the recording was marketed before its release. It may mark the first time that the advance strategy -- conceived of and executed, for the most part, by NIN auteur Trent Reznor himself with 42 Entertainment -- became part and parcel of the edifice that is the album's concept: an alternate reality game and a possible film project that lasts three years in total make up the rest. Months before the recording's actual issue date, T-shirts appeared with highlighted letters in code that spelled out "I Am Trying To Believe." Hip fans added a dotcom to the words and found a website discussing "The Presence," a shadowy four-fingered hand on the set's cover that appears throughout the booklet, in web discussions of the set, and references to the drug "Parepin," which was allegedly introduced into the water supplies of large cities to make them safe against bio-terror yet induced mass hallucinations as a side effect. There were other websites as well which described the "Church of Plano," the confessions of a government murderer for hire, and more, as well as a phone number that played the spooky beginning of the track "Survivalism." There were several thumb drives placed strategically in bathrooms of NIN concerts around the world that contained entire tracks from the album. What's more, this guerilla "marketing" campaign has not been commented on by Reznor except to say that it is not marketing, but part of the concept of Year Zero itself and not meant to induce consumers to buy the record. Right.Given this ambitious schemata for Year Zero's release along with the concept -- a dystopian, paranoid, angry and schizophrenic look at life in the United States circa 2022 -- it is the music contained on the disc and only the music that is the bellwether of whether or not the ambition and effort were worth it. Year Zero comes virtually on the heels of 2005's With Teeth, and is a virtual sprint for Reznor who is known to take notoriously long breaks between recordings. A large portion of the album's rough tracks were recorded with a laptop setup while on tour, and it feels like it. There are hidden sounds, textures, shadings, passages, and more in virtually every cut where heavy metal, industrial , ambient, hip-hop, post-futurist balladry and strings rub up against each other and punch one another in a glorious rawk din. Melodies are asserted and turned inside out, added onto with other segments, and either returned to or not. And yet, the sound of Year Zero is cohesive, adventurous, full of dynamics, tension and character. The songs sound like songs. There are discernible hooks in "The Beginning of the End," "Survivalism," "The Greater Good," and the utterly moving and brilliant "Zero-Sum," which closes the disc. While many of the Nine Inch Nails recordings after Downward Spiral relied on sheer force to bludgeon listeners into submission, the atmospheres on Year Zero are far more seductive and and inviting. This doesn't mean there isn't a powerful blend of electronics and in-the-red vanguard rock, along with mutant science-fiction funk, from the opening "Hyperpower!" and "The Beginning of the End," where guitars squall against glitches, beeps, pops, and blotches of blurry sonic attacks. Percussion looms large, distorted, organic, looped, screwed, spindled and broken. It's as if Reznor spent some real time listening to the Hank Shocklee and the Bomb Squad, Public Enemy's sound architects for inspiration. His notion of the same doesn't borrow from them so much as extrapolate and shove to the margin the idea of sound as the driving force that carries a song's structure, and not vice-versa: check "Survivalism" and "Me, I'm Not."It comes down to something both prophetic and age old: Year Zero is an album that more accurately reflects its time period than any other in the pop pantheon. Its paranoia and rage are well founded by the lack of...

  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
    • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
    • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
    • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
    • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
    • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Compact Disc
  • Sold by: --
  • Label: Universal/Island
  • UPC: 602517324220
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Track listings

  • 1. Hyperpower
  • 2. Beginning Of The End
  • 3. Survivalism
  • 4. Good Soldier
  • 5. Vessel
  • 6. Me I'm Not
  • 7. Capital G
  • 8. My Violent Heart
  • 9. Warning
  • 10. God Given
  • 11. Meet Your Master
  • 12. Greater Good
  • 13. Great Destroyer
  • 14. Another Version Of The Truth
  • 15. In This Twilight
  • 16. Zero Sum
 
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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