The Warning (Year Zero song)

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"The Warning"
Album: Year Zero
Length: 3:38
Tempo: 90 BPM
Versions: The Warning
The Warning (Instrumental)
The Warning: Real World
Live: Lights In The Sky Tour
NIN 2013 Festival Tour
NIN 2014 Europe/UK Tour

"The Warning" is the ninth track on the 2007 release Year Zero. This song is widely believed to be about The Presence. At the end of the album version of the song is the static noise that was included at the end of the leaked version of "My Violent Heart," which revealed The Presence when ran through a spectrogram.

A song with the same title appears on the With Teeth PDF poster, but is not featured on the album. When the 2019 Definitive Edition vinyl of With Teeth was released, the poster was re-created as part of the packaging. Lyrics to "The Warning" were made legible and it was finally revealed that the track from Year Zero has its origins in the track from the With Teeth sessions.




The Warning

This is the original album version. Beginning with a glitchy drum beat atypical of Year Zero, the guitar, synth and bass follow with a danceable melody followed subsequently by Trent Reznor's vocals above the music. After Reznor declares "Your time is tick-tick-ticking away" for the first time in the song, the guitar plays a more distorted and 'industrial' sounding riff than the main riff. Reznor's final lyrical declaration continues repetitiously until the end, where he whispers "ticking away" faintly only for the music to be replaced by a short, quiet burst of static which ultimately leads into the following song, "God Given".

The Warning (Instrumental)

This unmastered vocal-less mix was released by Reznor through his account.

The Warning: Real World

Running Time: 3:43

This remix featuring African drummer Doudou N'Diaye Rose is on Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D. It starts with a piano melody that is joined by drum elements. The verse features the vocals over a drum beat accompanied by a droning synth. Due to the multitracks being censored, the lyric "You piss it all away" was also censored on this mix. The new synths and the drums create an even more foreboding atmosphere than what is heard in the Year Zero original. At the end a sound element similar to the guitar in the original is heard under the fading synths.

Song Credits

  • Remix by Stefan Goodchild (Featuring Doudou N'Diaye Rose)


"The Warning" made its live debut on July 19, 2008, and was played at most shows on the Lights In The Sky Tour. "The Warning" was played before the "Ghosts" section of the setlist, played alongside (or replaced with) "Vessel", "Me, I'm Not", or "The Great Destroyer".

"The Warning" appeared once on the Wave Goodbye Tour, performed at the final show with Atticus Ross and Dave Navarro guesting.

On the Hesitation Marks touring cycle, "The Warning" was played at about half the dates on the 2013 festival leg, and a majority of shows on the 2014 Europe/UK leg, but has not been performed since July 27, 2014.


    Some say it was a warning
    Some say it's a sign
    I was standing right there
    When it came down from the sky
    The way it spoke to us
    You felt it from inside
    Said it was up to us
    Up to us to decide
    "You've become a virus
    Killing off his host
    We been watching you with all of our eyes
    And what you seem to value most
    So much potential
    Or so we used to say
    Your greed, self-importance and your arrogance
    You piss it all away
    We heard her cry
    We have come to intervene
    You will change your ways and you will make amends
    Or we will wipe this place clean"
    Your time is ticking away

The second line is said as follows in the actual recording:

    Some say it was a sign

That last line of the song is said as follows in the actual recording:

    Your time is tick-tick-ticking away

Previous track - "My Violent Heart" Track 9 from Year Zero Next track - "God Given"
This page was last modified on 21 December 2019, at 14:39. This page has been accessed 96,490 times.