A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the message of this CD is anything but cheerful, obsessed as it is with the end of the world. There are some sex and death metaphors in the poetry, as well as a lot of other dark imagery. Parents of moody, depressive teens might want to listen to the entire album to decide if their kids should steer clear.
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What's the story?
Nine Inch Nails' sixth studio album, YEAR ZERO, is about the end of the world, 15 years in the future. Although certainly not a jolly, life-affirming subject, this visceral audio collage employs repetitive sound effects, a strong rhythmic anchor, musical and lyrical hooks, and expressive vocals.The pastiche is passionate, dense, nihilistic, and fascinating, both musically and lyrically. "The Good Soldier" is one example of this intensity ("gun fire in the street/where we used to meet/echoes out a beat and the bass goes/bomb right over my head/step over the dead"). There's also some dalliance with sex and death metaphors: "I should have listened to her/so hard to keep control/we kept on eating but our bloated bellies still not full/she gave us all she had but we went and took some more/can't seem to shut her legs/our mother nature is a whore" on "Survivalism."
Is it any good?
If the lyrics sound too dark for your tastes, forget about them (they're mixed pretty far back anyway) and get lost in the intense, hypnotic moment. Sometimes life -- and fantasies about the world's future -- can be terrifying, but there are far worse ways to come to terms with fear than musical expression. Richly textured, dark and dreamy, Year Zero showcases Trent Reznor and company's development as artists on this ambitious conceptual dreamscape of sound.
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