-Or The General Narrative Shifts in Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D 

“I hope they cannot see

The limitless potential

Living inside of me

To murder everything

I hope they cannot see

I am the Great Destroyer.”

The Great Destroyer, Nine Inch Nails

“I hope they cannot see

Living inside of me

To murder everything

I hope they cannot see

I am the Great Destroyer.”

The Great Destroyer (Modwheelmood Remix)

If there is one thing I could probably talk your ear off about at this point, its the narrative shifts between Year Zero and it’s companion album, Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D. Since I didn’t have room for this analysis in my Academic Webtext for Writing and Digital Media, I figured I would put some of my thoughts on the remix album’s narrative qualities here.

First off, if you start Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D like I did, and you look through the track listing, the first thing you will notice is that the songs are in a completely different order. Secondly, you’ll notice that The Good Soldier is missing and Hyperpower! has been renamed Guns By Computer.

Why is this important? Well, the construction of albums, especially those that set out to tell a story, is incredibly important to the narrative flow of the music. The tone of each perspective in Year Zero shapes the story, yes, but God Given might not have been half as powerful the first time around if it hadn’t followed up The Warning. Having the songs placed in a different order completely changes the feel of the story as we listen through it. The Great Destroyer feels more like a protest song. The Warning feels soul shattering and terrifying. But, more than that, we are presented an image in Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D of a future actively in chaos. The Beginning of The End doesn’t come until after the riot of My Violent Heart, and it only goes downhill from there.

In Year Zero, on the other hand, we have a sense that things are going poorly, and that The Warning is the tipping point into chaos.

The fact that The Good Soldier is absent from the remix album also speaks volumes to the narrative arc of Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D. Year Zero is an album chiefly made up on perspectives – as illustrated in the dual-perspective of The Warning – and leaving out the soldier’s perspective changes the focus of the story.

The Good Soldier presents listeners with a globalized view on war; a soldier fighting for his country, which fights for a cause they don’t believe in. Leaving that song out makes Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D a domestic album, chiefly, focusing on the chaos that America has fallen into, and silencing the voice of the soldier forced to war. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, this silencing of a voice that is so often ignored (at least after they return from war), but it is a very powerful omission to make.

The story of Year Zero is a powerful one, and I like to think of Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D as yet another perspective on the tipping point. Perhaps, to the content, Year Zero represents the reality – a build up to chaos – when, on the other hand, the reality is that the world is falling apart, and chaos is the norm.

It’s all up to interpretation.