Rock and Roll Daily

By Staff for Rolling Stone on February 26, 2007

For a few days, things were relatively quiet on the NIN front. It seemed like Trent Reznor was giving us a weekend break from obsessing over his Year Zero abyss of phantom websites, eerie phone messages and leaked album tracks. But as early as 9 a.m. EST Sunday, fans learned the Nine Inch Nails’ Manchester show would provide another leaked track. (If you have no idea what we’re talking about, this primer should get you caught up on the phenomenon.)

The Manchester clue? As we’ve previously documented, when a pixel blob appears next to one of the songs listed here, fans should be on the lookout for USB drives. At 3 p.m. EST, message boarders learned that a USB drive had been discovered. This time, rather than in a restroom, the drive was hidden under a postcard attached to a crowd barrier. The reward was another Year Zero track called “In This Twilight,” and the next clue in the YZ internovella. (Internet-novella? We just made that up.)

The penultimate song on Year Zero, “In This Twilight” is surprisingly melodic, a showcase for Reznor’s much-improved singing chops. The song hints at surviving an act of terror, a perfect segue to the next website unveiled this weekend: Hollywoodinmemoriam.org Trent Reznor himself reportedly hinted at this page’s existence an hour before it appeared. It’s rumored that Reznor showed up in an NIN chat room Sunday night and said “someone should blow up the oscars” before abruptly signing off. An hour later, the page appeared. The site alludes to a dirty bomb detonated at the 81st Annual Academy Awards and features a bulletin board where families have posted news and information about loved ones who suffered in the attack.

In one key post, an Oscar ballot counter writes that, had the 81st Academy Awards not been bombed, the film Silence would have won Best Picture. What is Silence? It’s newly-awarded Oscar winner Martin Scorsese’s next planned film and is due for a 2008, making it an almost guaranteed nominee for the 2009 Oscars (Has a Scorsese film ever gone un-nominated?) We’re glad you won, Marty, but we’d recommend making other plans for Oscars 2009.

Other interesting notes: Previously, passages from The Hobbit and Slaughter-House Five were part of the motif. This time, Walt Whitman’s “Caution” gets a name-check, as does Stephen King’s The Stand. King’s is another post-apocalyptic story about the struggle of good and evil in a society ravished by disease and terror. In that story, a “Hand of God” literally reaches down to earth, something that parallels YZ album cover star “The Presence.” Shit’s coming full circle.

Does anybody know what’s going on? We have our guesses. What’s the next piece in the puzzle? We’ll keep you informed, if you keep us informed.

-- Rolling Stone

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