Thank you for not taking so damn long to put out another album since you last one. And thank you for a “return to form” (clichéd perhaps, but true in my estimation) albeit in a new direction. Not since The Downward Spiral have I enjoyed one of your albums so much. I have to admit that though I like With Teeth, I don’t love it, and it has not gotten a lot of play in my CD player. Well baby, that has change with Year Zero. Political and Social issues aside, it is a great concept for an album and a great sound. I actually like Capital G, contrary to another reviewers take, and it is the most “poppy” of the songs on this expansive album. I really love the sound textures that are explored, and the music itself really engages me. I would rank it up there with Downward Spiral and Pretty Hate Machine, my two favorite NIN albums, though it has a more “Broken” feel to it in places. It edges out The Fragile for my 3rd favorite, and it well ahead of With Teeth (sorry Trent).
All in all, I like this new direction stylistically and musically. The lyrics are an improvement over With Teeth as well. Keep experimenting, you seem to find your muse that way. Superbly engineered, excellent audio quality. Bring on the sound collages and I look forward to hearing what follows. But for now, my ears are feasting…
4 1/2 Stars …I’m hoping the best is yet to come.
EDIT: Okay, I’ve been listening to YZ for over a week now and it is still a rewarding experience. Some may say it does not have the depth of former albums but to you I say, keep listening. I am finding new things to hear on every spin, and the songs are growing on me even more — getting under my skin. Truly a complete work, I journey through it then want to hit repeat to take the journey again. YZ also got me to throw With Teeth back in my CD player and I have to say that I am appreciating it more than I used to.
While I found Year Zero almost immediately accessible, that by no means makes it simple and I am do discover new things with every listen. Don’t compare it to previous works and enjoy it for what it is.
UPDATE (013108): I’ve had this album for a while now and it just keeps getting better with repeat listens. I discover something new in each song, some subtle variations that are revealed only after many spins. A good sound system helps too. This is far from being just noise — it is an expertly crafted sonic landscape. I am really looking forward to YZ Pt.2. Until then, if you like this, then check out Y34RZ3R0R3MIX3D / [CD/DVD Combo]