Sound — 10
My impression of Nine Inch Nails' sound and music on this album is that Trent Reznor has finally reached his peak in his song writing abilities, not saying that this will be his last great work, but I can not see (at least for the moment) how he can possibly do better when this album is a masterpeice. Year Zero is ahead of it's time musicly, and definately lyrically. The whole story behind Year Zero is a fascination of it's own. The ARG (Alternate Reality Game) that Trent made is astounding in how real it actually seems. I, for one, thought that it was actually real when I first saw it. The way that Trent experiments with digital sounds is amazing, even during some songs sounding like he is murdering a computer. One electronic feat that is woth noting is the beat break down during the end of the song The Great Destroyer. Personally, this is number one on my list of greatest beat break downs of all time (Closer being on that list). Every song on this album has the ability of standing on it's own, making picking out favorites very difficult. One of my personal favorites is Survivalism, because of the darkness that I associate with it, and for the great chorus with a gripping rhythm.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics on this album are intelligent and fun to figure out. The lyrics describe a futuristic America, although some of them reflecting an America that we are all familiar with now (Capital G). Now, I know that Capital G is not about George W. Bush (it is about Greed), but you can't help but think that Trent may have had a certain President in mind. Trent is in top form in his singing. Whether it is in his yelling, his harmonies, or his melodies, he still kicks as, if not even more. Although, at least to me, it seems detectable that his voice has become a bit more masculine due to his new found buffness, he still is performing in top form.
Overall Impression — 10
This album is as faithful a follow up to a Nine Inch Nails album as any of the other NIN albums. Those who were hostile towards With Teeth should not dismiss Year Zero, as it is a completely different album, to me, a better one. Now, I am a fan of With Teeth, heck, it was my first NIN album, but I think that Year Zero will satisfy anyone who felt betrayed after With Teeth. Best songs on the album: all of them. You can't choose! But I guess the ones that I revisit most often (although I usually listen to the ENTIRE album) would be: Hyperpower!, The Beginning of the End, Survivalism, Vessel, Me, I'm Not, Capitol G, and the whole second half of the album! The thing I love about this album is the darkness within it (as with any NIN album) but also the politicalness that is about it. Tt also tells a futuristic story, which is also cool. There is absolutley nothing about this album to hate, even the fact that Trent is now buff. This album couldn't have been made by a skinney Trent Reznor. If this album was stolen or lost, I would hunt for it like there is no tomorrow! It is like my bible! And if that fails, then I'll crack, and go down to Zia Records and buy a new copy.