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I am trying to believe: NIN's Year Zero experience, or how to make your fans crazier than they already are

February 13, 2007

Year Zero is the upcoming Nine Inch Nails album set to drop on April 17th. The shortest turnaround for a new full length NIN album, there is, as usual, huge anticipation to hear what T-Rez has come up with.

For Spiral members, the speculation has been rampant since January. Now that we are being fed small nuggets of info here and there, things are getting wild. I won’t go into details, but everything from collaborations with Flava Flav to Dylanesque political pieces have been mentioned. But what some fans uncovered, or should I say, decoded, yesterday has been driving Spiralers to the brink of paranoid schizophrenia. Not that some of us weren’t almost there already….

NIN just kicked off a European tour on Feb. 10th in Lisbon, Portugal. Apparently, a fan was staring at the shirt that he purchased, reliving the show in his mind, when he noticed that some letters on the shirt stood out more than others. Someone wrote down the letters, and that brought them to: I AM TRYING TO BELIEVE. Then, someone decided to Google that, and a site came up. To make a loooonnnng story short (well, as long as 24 hours of snooping and conspiracy theorizing can be) a whole slew of related sites have emerged: be the hammer, another version of the truth, amongst many others. If a Spiraler works for you, it’s going to be a low productivity day for them.

While I am not the type to get caught up in the intricacies of deciphering ‘the message’, I am more interested in how they came up with this (hard rock chick’s media background emerges here). The Spiral, its forums in particular, gives T-Rez and company great insight into their core fan base. Not only are we a pessimistic, introspective, black-wearing bunch, but many of us have interests in political corruption, sci-fi, machinima, and general weirdness. We all like a good mind f*ck, and with this, we are definitely getting it.

It also feeds into the the enigmatic image of Trent Reznor. With the launch of the Spiral, where he keeps a blog that is somewhat frequently updated, and in a manner that is indicative of his reading what we are discussing in the forums, one would think that this might tarnish his “Trent Reznor is God’ image. However, like a puppetmaster, he is constantly pulling strings to keep everyone on their feet. This cryptic, so close yet so far away method is just fueling the fire of T-Rez infatuation by goth boys and girls around the world.

As no songs from Year Zero have been played yet on the European tour, I feel that something is close. The first single, speculated to be entitled ‘Survivalism’, should invade us soon. Brush up on your parepin, opal, and mammon knowledge, for this next album will require digging below the surface to fully understand it.

There’s too much, but here are the main points:
– 4 ‘leaked’ tracks and counting, the gritty ‘Survivalism’, the quiet and loud ‘My Violent Heart’, the sexy ‘Me, I’m not’, and the beautiful ‘In This Twilight’
-more websites, one of which was discovered as the Oscars were coming on that depicted the Oscars two years from now, blown up by a dirty bomb
-more phone numbers to call with crazy messages

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