Review Summary: Finally, Nine Inch Nails releases a remix album worth the money, effectively breathing new life into already amazing tracks.
4 of 5 thought this review was well written
Throughout all of his various disappearances, arguments with Marilyn Manson, and obsession with Saul Williams, Reznor proved he has the uncanny ability to consistently make reinvent his music, and make each new release more and more enveloping and interesting. After 24 releases, littered with poor remixes, lackluster B-sides, and fantastic albums, Trent Reznor has finally decided to stray away from his prototypical marketing style. Reznor originally broke away from his obsession with remix albums with 2005’s With Teeth mostly because the remix albums had poor critical and fan reception, as well as poor sales. When Year Zero was released in 2007, Reznor proved he wasn’t down for the count, and still wanted to shake things up. When the album cover was released on NIN’s webpage, the first thing that entered my mind was, “oh god, another really poor remix album.” That’s what you naturally think after three horribly poor remixes that ruined very, very good songs. Fixed was boring and lacked that aggressive flair of Broken, Further Down the Spiral just seemed a marketing scheme to squeeze more money out of the teenage-angst masterpiece The Downward Spiral, and Things Falling Apart seemed as if Reznor was trying to prove he wasn’t dead. So why release a remix album? Things sure seem to be going good for Reznor, he seems happy, refreshed musically, and as defiant as ever. He’s in no need for money (think of Reznor’s speech in Australia telling fans to steal his music), and life seems to be pretty good.
It’s apparent that Reznor really just wants to release the best music possible. At age 42, the mastermind behind Nine Inch Nails seemingly was losing his edge during the release of With Teeth and the beginning of the With Teeth tour. But by the end, Reznor had, once again, figured out how to tap into all that rage and confusion live and on record. Year Zero wasn’t an angry pissed off record like The Downward Spiral, but it tapped into the confusion and rage With Teeth lacked, packaged in a mildly-disturbing concept album counting down the days until the world’s end. You can try to pretend Year Zero didn’t make you think seriously about the end, but you know deep in your heart it did. The music quality was as disturbing and strange as ever, only heightened by the most paranoid lyrics Reznor’s ever put to paper. The album seems NIN’s The Wall, a fantastic return to form concept album that effectively regains fans across the world. So with the bright, warm, and fuzzy success Year Zero granted Reznor, why release a remix album for Year Zero?
Reznor wants his fans to have the best quality music possible. The large gaps between albums strained NIN’s popularity for years, as well as the often short tours. Fans from Pretty Hate Machine, almost twenty years have never lost interest in Reznor’s pet project throughout the years for some reason. It’s because the music is so addicting. Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D proves that the quality is still there, and the music is as addicting as ever. This album proves that twenty years in, Reznor knows how to make an enveloping tune as perfected and excellent as possible, so great that if you rip the track down to it’s bare bones and reconstruct it, it’s still one hell of a track. Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D is a testament to that statement. Fourteen fan remixes, each (outside of Gunshots by Computer) effectively ripping the track down to it’s bare construction, and rebuilding it from the ground up. For example, The Great Destroyer (Modwheelmood) sounds nothing like it’s Year Zero counterpart, nor does Me I’m Not. This is basically a new release, a compliation of sorts, recycling the same lyrics and basic rhythms to form a new album altogether.
The album is a new adventure from the start, all the way to the end. Each track reinvents an already excellent track, and handcrafts it into a new adventure. The Great Destroyer, formally a heavy track with emphasis on heavy bass and electronics, is now a moody, atmospheric track reminiscent of Radiohead. Hyperpower!, a formally meaningless introduction devoid of life is reinvented into a quick Hip-Hop track, with excellent rapper Saul Williams taking the microphone. But that’s not the only track Williams re-invents on R3M1X3D, as his remix of Survivalism takes an aggressive, paranoid song and conforms it into a Hip-Hop masterpiece, filled with low-brow guitars and heavy beats. The album mostly consistently defies your conventional thinking of a NIN record for it’s length. Would you have though the creepy track Me, I’m Not could be transformed into a 14-minute minimalist epic? Probably not. But does Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D feature a 14-minute minimalist epic? Yes.
Somehow this compilation of tracks conveys a creepier, more telling story than the original. No, the music isn’t as amazing as it was on Year Zero, but some tracks convey a heavier haunting feel than their Year Zero counterpart. The Warning, Another Version of the Truth, and In This Twilight carry a much deeper, darker, and haunting feel than they did on the original. It makes the album seem as if it fits together well, into a 14-track puzzle. The biggest issue with the album is how familiar God Given sounds to Downward Spiral’s Heresy, the track Me, I’m Not gets a little tiring and boring, and two of the album’s best tracks are surprisingly absent. That’s not right. These problems keep Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D from a perfect score, but don’t be mistaken, this is one heck of a listen the whole way through that proves that not all musicians lose steam with age, Reznor’s just getting started.
I recently read a atricle about this guy, and illegal downloading.
He said he was a member of a illegal downloading site, and also that he could understand that if music from your favorit artist leaks out that you would want to hear it.
Your review is huge, yet you have like one paragraph on the music.
Well it was supposed to be more of an overview.
This isn't the same thing. Your first three paragraphs are you just restating why Trent is a genius and what his true intentions are. Your fourth paragraph awkwardly explains how songs have been changed and then you jump into your conclusion that just repeats itself. Also, you need to identify what the song names are. When all you do is capitalize them, it gets really confusing, especially when you're identifying two different songs in a very amount of space.
Well written review, NIN worst remix album by far (Saul Williams fucked up a bunch of his tracks). His best remixes were Further Down the Spiral and Things Falling Apart IMO.
didn't even bother with Year Zero, but this review is making me reconsider that move, as well as potentially looking into this as well... I may even get this first.
Willie, as a huge NIN fan (for about 12 years now), I assure you that you missed nothing with Year Zero. This album is even worse because the album being remixed was crap to begin with. If you loved older NIN, newer stuff may make you cringe. And yes, Im open to change, just not the commercial garbage the nails have been putting out the last 3 years! At least they still rock live!This Message Edited On 11.20.07
Willie, as a huge NIN fan (for about 12 years now), I assure you that you missed nothing with Year Zero. This album is even worse because the album being remixed was crap to begin with. If you loved older NIN, newer stuff may make you cringe. And yes, Im open to change, just not the commercial garbage the nails have been putting out the last 3 years! At least they still rock live!
To be honest, I haven't really like a NIN album since "Pretty Hate Machine" (although "Broken" was ok)... I heard YZ was a throwback to that era in some ways... is that wrong? I love Industrial, just not NIN.
The Fragile had "Starfuckers Inc." That's an obvious shitty radio biscuit if I've ever seen one.
That album didn't have as many electronic breakdowns as other NIN records, and it also had sort of a progressive rock feel, which is more digestable than an industrial album.
Pretty Hate Machine: Ultra-funky, taking advice from the keyboard-craze of the 80s, but a little harder. Definitely fairly commercial.
Broken: Aggressive guitars, screaming vocals, explicit lyrics, heavy electronics. Not very commercial.
The Downward Spiral: Crazy aggressive, screaming vocals, disturbing lyrics, a lot like Broken, just deeper, darker, and harder. A bit of a sexual, driving tone though. Not very commercial.
The Fragile: A lot more mellowed out, but still fairly aggressive. Songs flowed together, large concept of the sort. A bit too much filler, and a few good radio tracks (Into the Void, Starfuckers), but still a tough listen altogether. Fairly commercial.
With Teeth: Danceable, poppy, and rhythmic at the beginning, cryptic, atmospheric and strange at the end. Plethora of singles, all being massive hits. Very commercial.
Year Zero: Obsessively electronic, crazed, and sporadic. Paranoid, aggressive, and the two singles Survivalism and Capital G didn't fare to well on the radio. Not really like anything else out there, and really hard to digest for the typical radio listener. Not very commercial.This Message Edited On 11.21.07