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Wednesday, April 18, 2021

Just when I figured the music album’s days were numbered, along comes Nine Inch Nails and its latest album, “Year Zero”.

The Trent Reznor-fronted band has devised an elaborate futuristic storyline to accompany the songs, to be uncovered via other media:

NIN mastermind Trent Reznor and his operatives have been planting clues that are forming the building blocks of a sci-fi narrative about America in 2022, or Year Zero, when nuclear war, environmental devastation, religious zealotry and totalitarianism have left the nation in ruins.

Dedicated fans are piecing together the puzzle with scraps of data found on T-shirts, phone recordings and USB files left in concert hall bathrooms. They’ve picked up threads in Morse code and spectrographic analysis and, mostly, via a host of baffling websites.

This seems like a sure hook to encourage music customers to pony up for an entire album. If there’s a hidden story or game-like context behind the compilation, fans will forego their usual single-song purchase strategy in favor of immersing themselves in this interactive crypto-quest.

The “Year Zero” storyline is an interesting exercise in dystopia:

In 2009, L.A. is attacked with dirty bombs, the catalyst for escalating tensions and war. After U.S. nuclear strikes on Iran and North Korea, Muslim nations unite against America, which soon imposes emergency measures at home to quell dissent. Protesters are jailed and executed. The population is pacified with drugs slipped into tap water. Africa implodes. India and Pakistan annihilate each other.

By 2018, free elections end. Seattle suffers a bioterrorism attack in 2019. Was it staged by the government? Life grows chaotic and oppressive as the police state tightens its grip, world tensions rise and earth’s fragile ecosystems fray. A weaponized virus kills a U.S. diplomat. Miami is under water. Baseball is a winter sport.

In 2022, a new calendar exists. America is “born again” in Year Zero. In February of that year, The Presence is first spotted.

Honestly, none of those themes is particularly original (which is really a summation of the bulk of Reznor’s creative output, past and present). But this certainly plays to NIN’s goth/industrial fanbase. Besides, it’s the delivery that’s really the point.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/18/2007 11:39:19 PM
Category: Creative, Pop Culture
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3 Feedbacks »
  1. I surfed in from Blog Explosion and this is the best find I’ve come across in BE in quite a while.

    Sounds great to me, but I’ve been a fan since the first album came out. Saw them open up (almost) followed the buthole surfers at the first lollapalooza in San Francisco.

    I blog every night listening to something by NIN.

    Regarding the story or whatever sounds like Trent might be a little board or something. lol

    Comment by brettbum — 04/19/2007 @ 07:05:16 AM

  2. You should go check out the details of the recent “Resistance Event” … it’s unreal.

    Read some of the descriptions…


    Comment by tim — 04/19/2007 @ 12:59:38 PM

  3. Better yet, just watch the video.


    Comment by tim — 04/19/2007 @ 01:02:54 PM

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