Sound — 10
Simply put, this is possibly the most original sounding CD ever made. it's rediculously electronic, but still maintains a heavy nature. A good description of this album would be this: take "The Downward Spiral" and cut a hole in the middle. Insert "Pretty Hate Machine" into that hole, but also put a huge bass amp in the hole. Now that you have that, take a bunch of computers that are dialing in for internet and put them in the hole. Play all this noise at the same time and now you have "Year Zero!" Now that the sound is described, there is also some background as to how this CD got it's sound. Trent Reznor said that the idea came to him in a daydream and that most of it is improv. The songs were recorded all around the world while he was on tour and he drew a lot of inspiration from that too.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics on this CD are without a doubt Trent's best. In the past we've heard him sing about love, god, anger, depression, sadness, and self-reflection, but he has never written anything truely amazing. Until now that is. The lyrics of Year Zero are all themed around a totalitarian government 15 years in the future. All of the songs tell somebody's story or just a story in general. When listened to as a whole, many of the problems he is singing about exist today which is where Trent got the ideas. Also the lyrics are arranged well enough that each song can stand alone without losing any of it's meaning. Basically the lyrics show that Trent can write about things other than himself and that he does a good job doing it.
Overall Impression — 10
If you tried to compare Year Zero to any of NIN's past albums, you would be doing so in vain. No NIN CD sounds like another, but Year Zero really proves that point. It has it's own sound that is completely unique but also has elements from all of Trent's other CD. It has the electronic feel that "Pretty Hate Machine" did, it has the raw, edgy sound that we heard on "Broken," it has the complexity of the songs from "The Downward Spiral," it has the refined, clean, and melodic sound that "The Fragile" did, and it even has the rock feel that "With Teeth" had. All that being said, this may very well be Trent's best album to date. The most impressive songs on the album are "Capital G," "The Beginning of the End," and "The Warning" but all the songs are impressive and unique in their own way. I love absolutely everything about this album. This is the CD that NIN fans have been waiting a long long time for and it was definitely worth the wait! There's nothing at all that I don't love about it. If it were lost or stolen I would replace it in a heartbeat!