20. Metallica – Metallica (The Black Album)
My earliest memories of Metallica are from Cleveland, when they were one of a few bands I knew of that were “evil”. (evil –> When in reference to music, any band that plays music using amplified instruments, especially the vile ‘electric guitar’, noticeably loud, and had a tendency to sing or scream lyrics in such a way as to make them incomprehensible, or at the very least “angry sounding”. More commonly referred to as “Heavy Metal” music at the time, evil music was to be avoided, except at sleepover parties and when riding in a car with friends old enough to drive. )Well, times change. The sad thing is that this wasn’t really my parents thing, as they’ve been very kewl about the music I listen to (I recall once I was listening to Head Like a Hole and my mom walked in [for some other reason]. As she was leaving she stopped and listened. “Bow Down before the one you serve?” she said, “That doesn’t sound very Christian.” I told her she should listen to the whole album and decide, and she politely declined.)
Like I said, times change. I liked the song “Enter Sandman”, so I figured I’d get the album that was on during a cd shopping spree I had shortly before my Sophomore year spring break project to Louisiana. (You’ll note that this trip was a bit of a turning point in my life. I got really into music on this trip, and though I was already quite interested in the fairer sex, I became damn near obsessed after this trip. [Those who take issue with the “near” part of that claim should rest assured that the Young People’s convention in San Diego the following year turned me into the frightfully all-consumed being you now know and pretend to love.]. It was also on this trip that I discovered that girls liked jackasses, and that many, many people are very stupid. It was quite a trip. One of the best times of my life.) Anyway, I signed up for BMG so I could get a bunch of CDs for free (REM Out of Time, Out of Time, and Monster. Green Day – Dookie, Nirvana – Nevermind, Aerosmith – Get a Grip, and Cranberries – No Need to Argue. yes I still remember which 7 I picked.) Then I went out and bought a few, including Metallica’s Black album. I really didn’t get to listen to it much on the trip.. While in Louisiana we listened to my Animaniacs cd a ton, then the ride home it was almost entirely REM, (it was then that I realized that REM was wonderful, and began obsessively purchasing every album I ever found from them. At present (including singles and imports) I have about 60, but I stopped buying singles and imports after Up was released.. (meaning there’s a few B-sides out there that I really need to acquire).
Anyway, back to Metallica. My friend (and high school carpool-mate) Ryan and I both liked Metallica (well, I liked Enter Sandman at this point), so we’d listen to this album on the way to and from school a fair bit. I grew to find I liked all the songs on it quite a bit. The thing that interested me quite a bit (and I had discussions with my brother about this very thing a few times in the past few years) was that the songs were about a variety of topics. That might sound dumb, but I think it’s rare. Songs are typically about : love, drugs, partying, or how great you are, and how much someone else sucks. One of my favorite songs on the album is Don’t Tread on Me, a song about the USA, and how other countries better respect us, or we’ll blow them the hell up. (Okay, that’s not exactly what it says, but the idea is there: “To secure peace is to prepare for war.”) They’ve also got the riff from West Side Story in the intro, which I think sounds awesome. This album has Nothing Else Matters, which was the second “complicated” song I wanted to learn on the guitar (complicated means it wasn’t just G-C-D). I eventually learned quite a of few of the songs on this album, and as I said before, that makes me like (and listen to) an album a whole lot more. For a long time, this was the “Loud Angry Music” I’d crank whenever I needed loud angry music. Anyway, this is one of those albums that I’ve liked since I’ve bought it. Undoubtedly another album where some will complain that it was overplayed, but with songs like Enter Sandman, Unforgiven, Where I May Roam, Sad But True, and Nothing Else Matters, how can you not play them often?