Sound — 8
I could start this album review with something like "Trent Reznor is back and better than ever!" or "Trent is truely a genius, and this record shows it." I didn't know which one to choose, so I'll just do both of them. Trent Reznor is back and better than ever, and ths album proves he is a genius. Now to the review. This record is NIN's first concept record and it was recorded in less time than the previous albums from the band. I'd have to say they did a pretty good job considering the conditions. The story of Year Zero is set 15 years in the future in America and things aren't going very well. The government has taken total control. The water is contaminated with a drug that is supposed to keep the people safe from Bioterrorism, and while it does a good job with that, it causes people to see hallucinations. One of the main hallucinations is a gigantic hand extending from the heavens to the ground. It spoke to the people and told them they must change their ways, otherwise everything will be destroyed, as you can tell from the lyrics of "The Warning". Each song is told from a different perspective of the many characters in the Year Zero world. Soundwise, Year Zero is much more electronic. Sometimes, there is the occasional piano and xylophone that add a nice sound to the mix. A lot of the songs have little solo type things where it is just random noises (You'll know what I'm taking about when you listen to "The Great Destroyer"). In my opinion, a lot of them sound cool, but some can get annoying.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics aren't as powerful as other NIN albums. There aren't very many lines from songs that are worthy of your MySpace display name. Mostly because Trent isn't singing about problems in his life. Just problems with the government. The lyrics do paint an image in your head about what things are like in this new world. Trent's singing style is pretty much the same. Some songs have him whispering in the verses and he starts singing powerfully when the choruses come in. In some of the other songs, he sings the entire song which is nice too. There are also two instrumental tracks (Hyperpower! And Another Version of the Truth) His singing and his style hasn't changed much.
Overall Impression — 9
This album is very solid. So far, it wins Album of the Year in my heart. I love the fact it's a "sound collage" like Reznor described it. I don't like how all of my favorite songs are only 3 minutes long. With the exception of the last track, which is probably one of the best NIN tracks ever. I don't like the song "Vessel". Most people love it, but it's just annoying in my opinion. This album can't be stolen, because I guard it with my life, but if it was, I would have to get it again. This album is great with a capital G. Come on, you saw that coming.