This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My Favorite Album: Master of Puppets by Metallica

Before Metallica sold their souls to commercialism (The Black Album), and before they became total asshole-hypocrites (Napster), they were, by far, my very favorite band in the entire world.

The first album I bought was Ride the Lightning. It was pure kismet: I had heard the song, "Ride the Lightning" on the best rock station EVER. Course, I don't remember the station's name, but it was the rock station on the island of Guam, where I spent two years of high school (Simon Sanchez High -- Home of the Sharks -- you laugh, but it's the real deal).

This station played nearly everything. To hell with commercialism -- they played HARD ROCK. The locals, chamorrans, were the most rock-n-roll lovers I have ever met. I mean, they were in to total indie, acid, heavy, heavy, speed rock that the average "rocker" never heard of.

So, I hear this amazing riff on the radio. I record it on my tape deck. I never find out the name of the song or who the band was. I just knew this song was amazing and I *had* to have it.

Every so often, my parents (dad was in the Air Force; yes, I was a military just...a brat...) would drive to (what I thought was) the southern end of the island to visit the Naval Base. Shopping at their PX (Post Exchange) was equivalent to shopping at the mall for a U.S. teen. My first stop at these places would be the music section. I'd rummage through every album to see what I could find (remember, I am a meticulous shopper...even at a young age). I see this album titled "Ride the Lighting" by Metallica. I've never heard of the band but I had a feeling this was it.

When I played the album at home, I had a heart attack when the second song played. It was the same mysterious song I had heard on the radio. I was hooked, line and sinker, to this band

So, why am I writing about Ride the Lightning instead of Master of Puppets? It's really difficult to decide which of these two are my favorites but in the end, Master of Puppets just happened to be a bit more 'sophisticated' than Ride the Lightning. This makes sense, since MoP was released after RtL.

Buying MoP stands out in my mind: still on the island of Guam, I was at the base 'quickie' gas station/mart. As I was checking out, I noticed the tape rack with Master of Puppets. What?! Metallica has a new album? Why didn't I know this? Most likely because there was no internet back then and did I mention, NO ONE gave a shit about this band?

I quickly added the tape to my collection. Every song, every lick, every lyric had my heart skip a beat and just gave that amazing feeling that only your favorite music can do to you.

"Master of Puppets", the song, which happens to be the second song (just like RtL was) was truly amazing. Anything relating to the devil, satan, or someone who thinks they have control over someone, was the deal for me back then. The lyrics just had me going.

I still love that song, but probably my fave off this album is "Disposable Heroes" and a short hair away (above or below) is "Leper Messiah".

Metallica remained near and dear to my heart until the whole Napster thing. There may be a business reason -- and they claimed there was -- for fighting that fight, but they just became such egomaniacal assholes to me. I remember Lars Ulrich, addressing an interviewer's question that the loyal Metallica fans felt like this battle was very hypocritical of Metallica, since they represented this rebellious youth era, said that if that's what they thought then they were fans that Metallica didn't need.

I'm paraphrasing of course, but again, a very dick-oriented response.

So despite the fact that this album, and those before The Black Album, will always be favorites of mine, the band will never be the same to me again.

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