Nine Inch Nails

Year Zero (Interscope)

Phases & Stages

Nine Inch Nails

Year Zero (Interscope)

Trent Reznor obviously means his fifth Nine Inch Nails album to be a Children of Men-style vision of a not-too-distant future where precious little separates Georges Orwell and Bush. The back cover carries a sticker from the "Bureau of Morality," encouraging the citizenry to "Be a patriot. Be an informer!" The songs, meanwhile, are typically Reznorian rays of sunshine like "My Violent Heart" and "The Great Destroyer." Party! Besides a batch of solid singles – electro-punk death march "Survivalism," fiendishly swinging "Capital G" – every so often Year Zero devolves into a feverish barrage of squelches and squalls that comes off as mood music for especially amorous androids. Nine Inch Nails have always worked a cold, erotic grind that reaches its zenith here, which must be part of Reznor's secret plan to save humanity. The more our future robot masters get their rocks off, the better their moods will be.

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