I’ve been meaning to weigh in on this album and right now I’ve got some time while watching the Caps try to lose their first game with their new coach, so what the hell, I’ll squeeze it in. Everywhere you come across anything about this album you see someone complaining about how bad it is and others who are planning to burn their Metallica collection in protest. I really think there are a lot of people who are just being complete idiots about the whole thing, and I just wanted to say so.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely fucking HATE the album. I could not even listen to the whole thing all the way through because it was just So. Damn. Awful. The difference here is that I don’t blame Metallica at all. Not even a little. I lay all blame at the feet of the most ridiculous excuse for a singer ever: Lou Reed.
For most of my music listening life I’ve heard people praise Lou Reed, and he is always on the Rolling Stone lists of top however many rock albums of all time. I think this is so much pretentious bullshit, because the man does not sing. Not even a little. He fucking talks. He doesn’t talk with a slight melody, he just fucking talks. There is nothing interesting or innovative or talented there. He may write poetic “lyrics” and they may be great poems if you are into that sort of thing, but a singer he is not. (I will refrain from sidetracking too much with a rant about my other talker pet peeve, Kanye West. Dude doesn’t even rap; he just talks in a monotone from what little I’ve been subjected to. Another no-talent bilking the masses. But then rap sucks, so whatever.)
So by default anything that contains the voice of Lou Reed is going to instantly meet with my undying spite (bonus points for the "Dyer's Eve" reference.) Even the harshest of death metal vocals are at least appropriate for the style of music being played, but just talking and not even trying to sing just isn’t acceptable to me.
So why don’t I blame Metallica for consorting with Lou Reed? Mostly because they are Metallica and (other than St. Anger) they are allowed to do whatever the hell they want in my opinion. They’ve shaped the sound of metal and played with orchestras so it just makes sense that in order to stay fresh and happy they would try something “avant-garde” like this album. I understand that. Then there’s the most important reason. Lou Reed’s voice may grind on me until I want to scream, but if they actually like what he does, well, more power to them if they want to work with him. That’s their choice and they are free to do whatever they want, just as I am free to not listen to it.
Heavy metal is about doing what they tell you not to, not doing what everyone expects of you. People tend to forget this when they are busy bitching about how their favorite band has betrayed them. So go out and burn your Metallica albums if you want, I think it’s a bit childish, at some point you’ll realize how dumb that was and you’ll end up buying (or stealing) another copy. Because most of the Metallica catalog is classic, and you always come back to the classics. Let Metallica enjoy this if it makes them happy, and eventually they will go back to doing what they do best and we will be happy too. Until then, just don’t buy it if you don’t like it. Nuff said.