Mike Bruno
February 22, 2007 AT 08:16 PM EST

With this week’s leak of “Me, I’m Not,” that makes three tracks that have “leaked” from the as-yet unreleased Nine Inch Nails record Year Zero. The blogs keep saying they’re being asked to remove the tracks from their sites, but there is no way Trent Reznor’s marketing machine isn’t behind the whole thing in an attempt to drum up attention from, oh, I dunno… entertainment magazine website pop culture blogs, for example. (D’oh!)

It’s been a while since the world held its breath over a new NIN record, but leaked songs that appear briefly, make the blog rounds, and then disappear can create a “Hey, did you hear the new NIN song?” buzz that you just don’t get by simply posting the tracks on MySpace and alerting people with your own blog post. (Actually, Trent did do that with one of the three leaked songs: the album’s first single, “Survivalism.”)

Okay, but geeky viral marketing conspiracies aside, is the new music any good? “Me, I’m Not” actually is pretty good. Its dark, industrial-cold, twitchy-funky beats and sexy, Trent Reznor-whispered rage give hope that Year Zero might be worthwhile. What’s worrisome, however, is that the album is being described as a “concept record.” Given Trent’s penchant for pretentious behemoths (like NIN’s underrated 1999 double-CD The Fragile, which was purposely too epic for anyone to possibly endure in one sitting — if ever) it’s entirely plausible that Trent himself could be the only one who really appreciates his ambitious efforts. Still, the other two leaks, “Survivalism” and “My Violent Heart,” while less immediate than “Me, I’m Not,” are also pretty interesting. And hell, we usually have to wait five or six years between NIN records. These new tracks come just two years after With Teeth, which, by NIN standards, was a pretty fun little album, so I say, let the guy indulge himself with his “concept,” just so long as there are enough quality tracks to prove that he hasn’t completely lost it (like some other rocker from the ’80s whose track leaked this week — my oh my, 10 years for THAT crap?). What do you think, Popwatchers? Psyched for the new NIN, or yawn city?

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