Trent Reznor: Year Zero

Where do you start with this album. The cover art itself is a pretty bland affair, it’s nice and creates feeling of unease but it’s what buying the CD lets you experience that really makes this release special.

Year Zero colour change
Firstly there is the heat sensitive CD or Thermo-chrome disc if you want to get all technical. Play it for 40 seconds and the label changes colour to reveal a secret message. Note how the photographer above went to his local library to check out the CD. Nice work.

This is bringing back memories (painful ones) of Hypercolour shirts.

Here’s a video of someone attacking the CD with a hairdryer.

And if your a NIN fan you must have been involved in the Year Zero Alternate Reality Game. Rather than try to explain it just check the NIN WIKI for all the info. Whoray! for obsessed fans.

Trent himself has been quoted as saying the CD is outdated and what people want is DRM free music. Well for someone who put so much effort into the packaging of his latest CD this seems a little hypocritical.

More info can be found on the WIKI entry for the album.

NIN: Year Zero

Trent Reznor: Year Zero

Where do you start with this album. The cover art itself is a pretty bland affair, it’s nice and creates feeling of unease but it’s what buying the CD lets you experience that really makes this release special.

Year Zero colour change
Firstly there is the heat sensitive CD or Thermo-chrome disc if you want to get all technical. Play it for 40 seconds and the label changes colour to reveal a secret message. Note how the photographer above went to his local library to check out the CD. Nice work.

This is bringing back memories (painful ones) of Hypercolour shirts.

Here’s a video of someone attacking the CD with a hairdryer.

And if your a NIN fan you must have been involved in the Year Zero Alternate Reality Game. Rather than try to explain it just check the NIN WIKI for all the info. Whoray! for obsessed fans.

Trent himself has been quoted as saying the CD is outdated and what people want is DRM free music. Well for someone who put so much effort into the packaging of his latest CD this seems a little hypocritical.

More info can be found on the WIKI entry for the album.





13 Comments

  1. fair point about Trent putting so much emphasis on the CD design, but i guess if you are still going to do a cd, you might as well do it right.

    Also, as part of this, and other nin releases, they have all had hidden clues related to the ARG

  2. Rather than a “bland” cover it is actually highly symbolic of what the album is about. Concept. Worth checking out and investigating. Just like the ARG.

  3. The last comment about Trent being hypocritical, overlooks the fact that NIN were still under contract to Interscope records. As far as I’m aware, the NIN contract included obligatory releases of product. This should be considered before assuming the worst of the forward thinking Mr. Reznor (Who also encouraged fans to steal/download the same album rather than be overcharged by the labels stipulated recommended retail price.

  4. It’s one of those covers you notice straight away – it grabs you! Great stuff I reckon.

  5. massive attack also did a heat-sensitive cover (well actually packaging) for their singles boxset 90/98, both in cd in vinyl formats

  6. As much as I enjoy a piece of work that
    you really have to think about (while
    simultaneously enjoying it, mind), my
    beef with the whole Year Zero game can
    be summed up in two points: 1) Exclusitivity, and 2) Chance. It’s nice to think most of NIN’s listeners are in
    regular contact with at least a couple of other fans, but I really think this is far from the reality of the situation. I suspect the vast majority of people who bought Year Zero as a CD were wondering why the hell their CD had changed colour and if it was a design flaw inherent in the disc, and had no idea that a) what to do with the
    message (if they realized what it was) and b) that the organization in the slipcase note- and the message provided if the number is called- is, (thankfully!) an invention by the producers. This sort of unlabelled grandstanding is becoming the norm, and I accept that it adds to the effect, but having a recorded message at this number, especially keeping in mind its exact wording and many of actions of US government agencies since September 11th, long before YZ was ever released, was foolish and possibly dangerous.
    Lastly, the bulk of the details needed for the game were supplied in random, non-replaceing locations at clubs and stadiums on Year Zero’s tour. One, these items often were found by accident and often alone. Had someone been to the bathroom or walked blindly into a darkened corner of the arena grandstand a few minutes before or after, they might have or not have found it on the basis of that short span of time. And what about the eollctibles’ market? Once, or before, the game was done, these items would skyrocket in value and make the owners a lot of money (or get them free drinks at bars for the story’s tellings), something that I believe went against the message Trent Reznor was trying to convey. All of these factors in place were required to play this game, and to actually finish it, even if one wasn’t present or otherwise left out, was not a sure thing. The album wasn’t bad- but the game, as it was, was a popularity grab and a farce. The only reason I stuck by NIN after that, the terrible Remixed YZ album, and the flat, emotionless Ghosts I-IV, is because I was a

  7. Sorry, cut off. …. is because I was a longtime NIN listeners and only in recent years-

  8. Cut off again. ….because I was a longtime NIN listener and only in recent years has- with the exception of The Slip, which is the first album I’ve bought since ‘With Teeth’- Reznor’s ideas and creations failed to inspire me. ‘Capital G’ was the only song on YZ that did anything for me, and its remix on YZR was terrible, just like the rest of the remixes. (The Limitless Potential- an open-source fan mix- I would have bought in YZR’s place in a heartbeat, even though it was distributed for free.) Ghosts as a whole was directionless and meaningless; I guess I have a need for some vocals, and the whole thing- I bailed after listening to I-III, so maybe just those- was an instrumental, what of it I listened to, I mean. If I want that sort of ambient brainfloss, I’ll listen to Jean-Michel Jarre or Tangerine Dream and actually _enjoy_ it.

    I realize my comments may come out rather harshly, but I’m one of those people who kept missing out, couldn’t afford to go to concerts and was never accepted by the local crowd that embraced NIN (though not for any lack of trying). The music is what matters to me above everything else, and that’s why I’ve been so harsh a critic.

  9. Awesome, You linked to my video. Thanks for the views

  10. This reminds of the Massive Attack singles box set, where the whole box changes artwork when exposed to heat…
    Why that box isn’t represented on this site is beyond me. -NICE site though ;-)

  11. Just to clear up an issue you raised with this statement:

    ” Trent himself has been quoted as saying the CD is outdated and what people want is DRM free music. Well for someone who put so much effort into the packaging of his latest CD this seems a little hypocritical. “

    Trent realizes people's disregard of the CD product, whilst also understanding their favouring of free downloading, an activity he admitted he himself has indulged in.

    The reason he puts effort into releasing his music as a physical product is so people feel they actually have a reason to purchase his music, in that they benefit from paying money for his releases rather than choosing to download a folder of mp3 files and nothing else other than maybe a front cover. The same went with his two latest releases, Ghosts I-IV & The Slip.

  12. Just to clear up an issue you raised with this statement:

    ” Trent himself has been quoted as saying the CD is outdated and what people want is DRM free music. Well for someone who put so much effort into the packaging of his latest CD this seems a little hypocritical. “

    Trent realizes people's disregard of the CD product, whilst also understanding their favouring of free downloading, an activity he admitted he himself has indulged in.

    The reason he puts effort into releasing his music as a physical product is so people feel they actually have a reason to purchase his music, in that they benefit from paying money for his releases rather than choosing to download a folder of mp3 files and nothing else other than maybe a front cover. The same went with his two latest releases, Ghosts I-IV & The Slip.

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