It isn’t easy being a Metallica fan – ride or die. For every fan who loves the latest record, there are a loud contingent of fans who will scream “Only the 80’s albums!”. Or even more specific, “Only the Cliff Burton years!”. So, it goes, so it goes. As for me, I think there are things to appreciate in each Metallica album – even Lulu, their oft derided 2011 collaboration with the iconic Lou Reed. In fact, the 2017 show I saw in Seattle was one of the best stadium shows I’ve ever seen – family friendly even, if you can believe that. We aren’t in 1986 anymore, fellas. They are – to quote Grand Funk Railroad – an American band. And perhaps history will view them as one of the most successful bands in history. They’ve long since transcended the heavy metal tag.
Another year gone by, another year filled with musical delights. We lost quite a few musical legends starting in December of 2015 – Scott Weiland, Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, Prince, Sharon Jones, Leonard Cohen, and George Michael to name just a few (and let’s not mention an overall list of artists who have left us in 2016). I lost my Aunt unexpectedly back in February the morning after attending a Black Sabbath show. The year was filled with unexpected highs and unexpected lows for me. As with anything in life, sometimes you have to feel bad to feel good (and vice versa). I made some friends, lost some friends, and reconnected with some old friends. Throughout it all, I had music playing. Here are my top albums of 2016:
Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.
In the wake of global or personal tragedies, people tend to reach for musical anthems that provide a feeling of unification. After the attacks in Paris at an Eagles of Death Metal show, my Social Network feed was inundated with clips of John Lennon’s Imagine. Truly, one of the best songs in history by one of my favorite artists. I also found myself playing Dreamer by Ozzy Osbourne – a song that equally embraces hope while facing the realities of this world head on. One of Ozzy’s musical heroes is John Lennon and this song was written with a Lennon-esque vibe in mind. A plaintive ballad, it lays bare Ozzy’s voice along with some true emotion. You trainspotters might realize that Robert Trujillo plays bass on this song (and the album it is taken from, Down To Earth). Trujillo went on to play bass for Metallica and will soon be the longest tenured bassist in Metallica’s existence (no small feat!). At any rate, this is one of my favorite songs of all time. Ozzy goes through seemingly insurmountable problems – the destruction of Mother Earth, religion, prejudice – and dreams for an end to these problems. It might not be the worldview you think Ozzy would have or even the song you’d expect from Ozzy. Give it a try – what it is, is a perfect song in the style of The Beatles by an artist who isn’t always given a fair shake. “If only we could all just find serenity / It would be nice if we could live as one / When will all this anger, hate and bigotry… / Be gone? / I’m just a dreamer / I dream my life away”
Part 39 of a series that will run every Friday throughout 2012 as I discuss records that have affected me throughout the years – Flashback Fridays
Middle School can be a strange time for a kid (or Jr. High in some school districts). Emotions run high, new thoughts and feelings start entering the mix. School work can start to feel like…well…work. The pressure of life and real expectations starts to build in those 6th grade, 7th grade, and 8th grade hallways. Some kids cope with this really well and seem to excel at everything they attempt. Other kids shave their heads, rebel on family trips to Washington D.C., and listen to heavy metal. I don’t think you need to be a rocket scientist to realize which group I fell into. For me, listening to heavy metal provided an escape from the mundane routines of school (I probably wouldn’t have worded it that way back then, though). Metallica was one of my favorites from that era and in particular, their album …And Justice for All.