01. "Year Zero" by Nine Inch Nails
The year was 2007, and I was working at Nextel Partners Inc. as a Data Support Specialist. I was part of a tight-knit little group that, when it wasn't working, loved to bond over geeky, offbeat stuff. My coworker, John, was your typical intense iconoclast with an experimental rock band and a love for World of Warcraft. I had a helluva crush on John. We bonded over things like, well, World of Warcraft and experimental rock. He was the one who advised me that Nine Inch Nails was supposed to be releasing a new album. "Finally!" I said, excited by this news but also a little disheartened. I was left sort of cold by 2005's "With Teeth" (A-With-A-TEETH-A - official spelling), like many, and wasn't expecting much. However, I love Trent Reznor.
Only a few days later (February 23rd), John came into work looking a little shaken, with a story to tell me. At first he couldn't really get it out. He just shook his head vigorously, grabbed a piece of paper, and wrote a URL on it: nin.com/yearzero. "Go home," he told me in his usual intense and iconoclastic (and melodramatic) way, "turn out all the lights, put on your best headphones, and go to that site. That's it, just go to that site."
I did. I cried and could barely calm down. I came back to work the next day and raged on him. John said he "ripped his headphones off and threw them at the wall" when he watched it.
Yes, I assure you this entry is about a music album. But Year Zero is so much more than that.
( I WANT TO BELIEVE )