Top Ten – Metallica

Posted: August 5, 2015 by Maximum Mike in The Rocking Chair Blog
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jamesI’ve been thinking a lot about that age old question, that big one that keeps us up at night; will there ever be another band as big as Metallica? When I asked my friend that question, he asked me if I meant a band as famous with the crazy reputation and following or did I mean musically?
I think I mean musically. I’m still unsure because like I said, this is one of those questions that has been written about and will be written about for years to come.

The point of a Top Ten is to rank songs, to tell you which are the best and in this case, which are the best Metallica songs. In my opinion, I think it’s impossible to have a definitive ranking of anything through opinion. Your number 4 will be my 7 and you will despise my 9 and 10. The whole thing is kind of dumb. How do we truly choose the best? Each song has a different meaning to different people. Recently, Spin Magazine decided to rank every Metallica song ever which you can find right here. It’s a cool list and their top ten isn’t very surprising (except for number 5) because it feels generic. It has all the songs you would guess should be in a Metallica top ten… so what was the point? If anything, what we really got out of the whole ranking was a reminder of all the songs from 50-151. I mean the first song from before The Black Album to enter the list is #76.  There are tons of other Metallica songs which people aren’t very blown away by. That in itself is super interesting to me. They are so big but a lot of people don’t like a lot of their music. Especially Metal-heads. Oh my god is there a lot of hate for Metallica from Metal people as I’m sure you’ve heard that line “I don’t listen to anything after The Black Album. ” Metal-heads, the original hipsters.

The intro thus far is supposed to explain how my list differs from other lists around the internet and the unique perspective I’m trying to put into my Top Ten. Here’s is the thought process in connection to the “Will there be another Metallica?” question.(Here is my favorite answer to the question by someone smarter than me) If today’s Metal bands listened to Metallica and now are what they are, how can they ever be Metallica because Metallica didn’t listen to Metallica, they were influenced by other bands. Do you see what I mean, it’s a time travel paradox thing. Metallica became who it was because the right people listened to the right bands at the right time. Very few Metal-heads today listen to Southern Rock/Country and Punk and Classic Rock and Metal. Metallica did. Metallica never struck me as musical snobs, never. Upon writing that last sentence, I’m sure they have from time to time said something negative about one band or another but their covers,  their friends in other bands; Metallica loves music.

I love music too. Rock 4 Rookies has always been that festering compost heap of genres. I love Rock N Roll, always have and there is truth to the statement that Metallica rock! They Rock! They don’t metal, they rock. ROCK! When they were young, they were fast and angry and innovative and ready to fly on the wings of a Metal breeze but something changed with in them over the years. Instead of a slicing riff, we got pounding melody. Instead of drilling machines we got chrome covered in the dust of the American road. Metallica may have started out as a Metal band but it’s not where they wanted to be, they wanted to be Rock N Roll.

So with out further adu, here are my Top Ten most Rocking Metallica songs.

#10. Fade To Black (Ride The Lightning, 1984)

1984 was a young Metallica, fresh off their crazy Thrash debut of Kill Em All in 1983. They had just shocked America with speed tracks like Hit The Lights, Whiplash, and Seek and Destroy. People were blown away but Metallica’s love of Rock N Roll showed up in Fade To Black with that dark acoustic opening. Metallica were long associated with suicide and death because of this song but even deeper down, I they they wrote their first ballad because that’s just what Rock bands they loved did. (<-opinion)

#9. Hero Of The Day (Load, 1996)

Hero of The Day has one of the most beautiful intros to any Rock song. You wonder if Metallica have gone soft but Lars’ drums kick in and there is confusion, what is being done, what are Metallica going through that they write songs like this, Outlaw Torn, Mama Said, and Until It Sleeps. Some people argue that they were just capitalizing of Nothing Else Matters from the previous album, their big mainstream break through. What ever it was, Thrash was no even a glimmer in the eye of Metallica. Rock, soulful Rock was here.

#8. One (And Justice For All, 1988)

Screw you, this list doesn’t have to make sense. I’m making a list of the best Metallica songs from a Rockers perspective, and this song rocks! This anti-war ballad was Metallica’s for foray into the music video world. Amazingly, there is no one who hates this song. Some people originally hated the video but there are always some people who hate new stuff, they’re called snobs. Also, this from before The Black Album, they were still very “Thrash” but listen to that gorgeous intro, the heavy doesn’t start till 3:00 minutes into the song.  But when it does… awesome!

#7. The Memory Remains (Reload, 1997)

This is Strut Rock, a genre I invented. It can be related to any song you listen to when you want to feel sexy, while preparing for a night out with a new girl or if you’re a WWE wrestler and you want to walk with confidence to the ring. Lars’ ads a marching tempo, a soldier returned from battle showing off war wounds. The video itself lends to the attitude, the spin, the sunglasses. It’s not hard to see who Chad Kroeger tries to emulate. (Please don’t hold that against this song)

#6. Sad But True (Metallica(Black Album), 1991)

Still with long hair, no longer playing super-fast Thrash music, I would say this was the moment Metal was mainstreamed. You could argue that it was Nothing Else Matters that brought people to Metal but I’ll counter that and say Nothing Else Matters brought Metallica to the people, Sad But True brought the people to Metallica and Metal at large. Long Live Rock!

#5. Nothing Else Matters (Metallica(Black), 1991)

What is it about this song? Why is it so perfect? Is it the lyrics, the melody, his voice filled with determination? It inspires to take a stand with out saying what that stand is. It’s an anthem filling us with the need to fight against injustice of some form or another. Nothing Else Matters? What does matter in the end is that no matter what kind of music you like, you like this song.

#4. Turn The Page (Garage Inc., 1997)

“A song we wish we had written because we are the road dogs” If they had written Turn The Page it would have almost been too on the nose. I listen to this song and actually imagine it’s about Metallica, it’s how I seen them even though I know about their plane and Gucci and million and millions. I would love to know who chose which songs off the cover album Garage Inc. 

#3. All Nightmare Long (Death Magnetic, 2008)

Silly thing to point out but the guy who posted this song is Chopsuey### his picture is the RHCP logo and it’s a Metallica song. I’m going to make the empty statement that it’s because this music speaks to everyone. Death Magnetic was the last studio album by Metallica and it was meant to be a throw back to their heavier Thrash days… and it was!! It was heavy, fast and beautiful. This song is proof positive that Metallica still have what it takes. This is why I hate it when people say nothing after And Justice For All or The Black Album. Who wouldn’t wanted want to perform out this song live?

#2. Master Of Puppets (Master Of Puppets, 1986)

This song is pure Metal and it’s the best thing ever. In the 1980s, Metallica spent most of their time drunk or on drugs and it is by far their peak of creativity and energy. This is when they recruited the Metallica family and people would given their lives for this band. Sigh, to have been a little older when I was younger and I might have been able to see them in this highlight moment. This song is perfect.

#1. Fuel (Reload, 1997)

This song captures the essence of the perfect Rock song and has all the elements I love the most. I also know this is the main moment I pissed off the most of amount of people. (#sorrynotsorry ) I really can’t help it, this is my favorite Metallica song. I talk a lot about energy while doing The Rock 4 Rookies Podcast and this is the energy I’m talking about. It’s about chrome and steel and Hard Rock and pushing the limit and going fast for speed’s sake. This song gets me going when I am done, when I have nothing left to give, when I’m running on empty.. it gives me Fuel

 

Well, that’s my take on the best of Metallica and I know there were other songs you would have put on your list but honestly, you don’t need me to make your list, you need me to make mine. I do feel bad about missing some stuff so here are two more songs that must be mentioned.

Extra #1 – Enter Sandman (Metallica(Black Album), 1991)

This song is amazing, one of my absolute favorites and I love the audience having the opportunity to see Metallica for the first time.

Extra #2 Tuesday’s Gone (Garage Inc, 1997)

All the people in the song are amazing, and they all came together to salute Southern Rockers, Lynyrd Skynyrd. 

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