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Nine Inch Nails

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Leave it to Trent Reznor -- a musician who probably doesn't even need to hype his art at this point -- to trump every other viral marketer with the Internet-heavy promotional campaign for Year Zero. (It's a concept record; think the Big Brother mentality of George Orwell's 1984 combined with the drugged-out society of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.) Zero's tone leans toward the bleak and nihilistic, thanks to lyrics obsessed with apocalyptic imagery and bitter vengeance. But this time, Reznor channels his ire at outsiders -- namely the government, its clueless leaders and other zealots -- instead of himself. Musically, Zero mirrors this urgency: Raw, brazen metallic aggression matches jagged electronic elements, which take cues from chunky new-wave funkiness and swampy trip-hop. Overall, Year Zero stands on its own as an artistic achievement apart from its mythology. The gnarled disc isn't as easy to relate to on a personal or emotional level as other NIN discs, but in light of the album's calculated content and genesis, maybe the alienation and distance are intentional.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.