You and I aren't so different. Sure, I eat my bananas while they're still green and can watch episodes of "Cops" back-to-back for hours on end and exhibit next to no fatigue, but at the end of the day you and I presumably share common sentiments on what really matters. We are a team.
What is something that should be of concern to "Team Us"? Well, for starters, fucking Metallica. Metallica has recently gone above and beyond their existing efforts of producing embarrassing garbage and have now entered the realm of the unforgivable. You and I probably thought they couldn't dig their hole any deeper after having slowly but steadily shed away their reputation as thrash kings during the 1990's. Oh, how we were wrong.
Metallica's decision to cut their hair and started making mall-metal for the tribal tatted audiences in the mid-90's was bad enough, but they have since transcended to a new low of desecration.
Not even the injection of Rob Trujillo's bass badassery could lift this band out of their screaming, downward spiral. When St. Anger saw its release, I was rather skeptic about how bad it could sound. Despite it being initially being hyped as "a return to their old stuff", snide remarks began rolling in about what a disappointment it was and how curious fans shouldn't even bother with it. Sooner or later I roused up the courage to give it a spin and, sure enough, my listening had removed all doubts of the record being anything less than atrocious. Not only did the snare drum resemble someone hammering a metal trashcan lid with an aluminium crutch, but the overall songwriting sucked to high heaven. Trying to listen to the title track without bursting out laughing proved to be an outright impossibility. The incredibly awkward "aggressive" intro combined with Hetfield bleating "Saaaaaaaainnnnnt Annnnngaaaahhhhhhhhrhrhrhh" over the clean guitar at the 0:50 mark is terrible beyond words. This trend is continued throughout the entire record. If there was a word powerful enough to describe this travesty, it'd probably sound something like "blusupherous".
Who could forget Some Kind of Monster? If there was any concrete evidence to prove the band had truly "lost it", then this is the most concrete evidence. Between the segments of group therapy and dudes crying, it is amazing an album actually ended up on store shelves. I can understand it isn't easy being a multi-platinum, washed-up group of rock legends, but holy shit why on earth was airing your dirty laundry in the form of documentary ever considered a good idea for a "comeback"?
Flash forward several years later to Metallica's next album. Death Magnetic showed some signs of redemption, however, the hilariously awful over-condensing present in the album's production deserves some sort of "Legendary Ways to Shoot Yourself in the Foot" award. Evidently, I'm not the only one to feel this way, as fans even went so far as to release a significantly less compressed bootleg version of the album via ripping and reassembling the less-compressed Death Magnetic audio tracks from one of the Guitar Hero video games. Even if a dedicated listener were to jump through the necessary hoops (breaking the law in the process) to obtain said bootleg, the album just barely gets an upgrade to the level of "kinda tolerable" and no where near makes up for nearly two decades of blandness.
Then came Lulu. I really, truly, sincerely didn't want to have to listen to Lulu. I wanted to believe it was going to be an unremarkable one-off that everyone could quietly dust under the rug and hope to forget about. Evidently, this was not the case. For those unfamiliar few, the entire schtick of Lulu consists of Lou Reed rambling over repetitive Metallica riffs. That is it. As bad as it might sound in your head, let me assure you that the actual end product is even worse.
If you somehow managed to listen to that for longer than two minutes without hanging your head in sheer embarrassment, then let me congratulate you on lasting a longer than I did. How anyone can be expected to tolerate, let alone finding redeeming value, in EIGHTY SEVEN fucking MINUTES of this (spanning across multiple compact discs) is beyond my comprehension.
All of this present-day awfulness is made exacerbated by the fact that I legitimately enjoy Metallica's early work. Regardless of setting, the minute I hear a track off of Kill 'Em All I find myself instantaneously sprouting a teenage crustache and somehow a pitcher of frothing lager finds its way into my right hand. Put on Master of Puppets while I'm in a car and prepare to have me bash on the horn to the intro drum hits (this holds true regardless if I am driving or not). There exists a unanimous recognition that the first handful of Metallica albums are undisputed classics of thrash metal and have no signs of aging.
Making music is hard. Making music people want to hear is harder. Making music that once changed the world and then retaining that level of success for decades on end is next to impossible. These are all facts I fully comprehend, HOWEVER, there is a point you must eventually come to and recognize that it may be in your best interest to step down. For Metallica, this crucial turning point was precisely when James Hetfield began resembling Guy Fieri more than the lovechild of Ted Nugent and the Cowardly Lion. Now please, someone make them stop.