Nine Inch Nails
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Characters in the tale grapple with preserving their identity and separating truth from lies ("Survivalism," "Me, I'm Not," "The Good Soldier"). NIN frontman Trent Reznor's oppressive Orwellian vision includes consequences for current excesses ("The Beginning of the End," "My Violent Heart"). Threatened with extinction by what appear to be aliens, a man has a sliver of hope ("In the Twilight") and prays "May God have mercy on our dirty little hearts/ Shame on us for all we have done" ("Zero Sum"), however ...
A totalitarian government co-opts God-language to control people, which comes across as a paranoid slap at organized religion ("God Given," "Zero Sum"). The future will be a violent place, judging from lines such as "Gunfire in the street ... step over the dead" and "[I can] murder everything ... I am the great destroyer." "Survivalism" accuses mankind of raping the environment, using sexual imagery to make its point. Strong profanity blasts those unconcerned about global warming on "Capital G." The artist's view of humanity's last days has more in common with The Matrix than with biblical prophecy.
In Reznor's post-apocalyptic future, man pays for its sinful apathy with enslavement and death. Indeed, we'll reap what we sow, but on Year Zero he fails to realize that God is the solution, not part of the problem.
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This concept album about a dystopian future, set in the year 2022, came in at No. 2.
Adam R. Holz Bob Smithouser