Reassess an album

CivoLee

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Submit a post about an older album that you feel deserves a second look using modern eyes...it can be loved or hated by you or in general, either defend it or attack it

For example, Metallica's oft-lambasted St. Anger from 2003...

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMT3ltwbd5s[/ame]

When I first started getting into music and playing guitar, there was a brief time in which Metallica were my favorite band...loved Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, and most of ...And Justice For All and the "Black Album"...I almost wrote off the band entirely after hearing they were going to work with Ja Rule on a side project (this was during my "I despise everything popular" phase, but it turned out to be moot point anyway as it never ended up happening)...shortly thereafter I got into alternative/indie rock so I figured I had "outgrown" the band

When St. Anger was announced though, I was excited as it would be the first music by the band I'd ever heard new (I didn't start listening to music until 2000)...and then upon release, the album was almost immediately dragged through the mud for many things, from its lack of solos to James' almost cartoonish lyrics/lyrical delivery to the rather hollow snare drum sound...it became a laughing stock in the metal community and the few who said they liked it were dismissed as apologists

Over the years, I've heard various songs off the album but until I saw the above video I'd never heard the album as a whole...I'm much more familiar with Death Magnetic as far as 2000s Metallica goes

My opinion is that while most of the songs off the album are good (not great, mind you), listening to all of them as a whole is a chore...but that having been said, in retrospect it all makes sense:

  • No solos: At the time, metal was focusing on riffs and raw aggression and soloing was out of fashion...the band was trying to sound more "modern" by tuning lower, and James and Lars telling Kirk he had to stick to rhythmic layering was just part of that...but Metallica's fanbase (and fans of old-school metal in general) hated that newer metal bands weren't playing solos, so this ended up being seen as a betrayal...ironically enough, shortly after St. Anger, New Wave of American Heavy Metal bands like Lamb of God and Mastodon showed that solos could have a place in thoroughly modern-sounding aggressive music and perhaps sound even more aggressive because of it...not surprisingly, Metallica's followup to St. Anger, Death Magnetic, had solos galore
  • Songs too long for musically basic they are: One of the complaints abouts everything the band had done since the "Black Album" was that they were writing songs that were more compact than the more epic-feeling songs they'd made a name for themselves with...so superficially, the solution should be to write longer songs, right? Wrong...a more minimalist sound meant that any long song would just drone...and Metallica aren't the kind of group that can pull off droning songs...a few solos/or maybe some more prominent lead work could've helped, but so could some editing...the band themselves must've realized this as many of the songs were shortened and had some more lead work when played live
  • Hetfield's over-the-topness: It's obvious from Lulu that poetically deep emotions aren't something James Hetfield is good at articulating without sounding like a madman (and not in a good way)...but at the same time, having such unintentionally hilarious vocals juxtaposed against such miserable sounding music makes for a very yin-yang kind of sound...that having been said, it's hard to take someone ending a song with "KILL...KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL! KIIILLL!!!!" and letting out a cowboy-ish cackle during "Dirty Window" (though that sounded like it might've been Kirk Hammett, now that I think about it) very seriously, though I can appreciate the slight cleverness of having a song titled "Sweet Amber" (a play on "St. Anger", get it? Though it was probably unintentional)
  • The snare drum sound: OK, all I have to say about this (and all I've really ever had to say for 13 years now) is "SERIOUSLY?!" I actually really liked the "banging on a sewer pipe" sound...it's raw and unique and underlines the aggressive songwriting
Also, it's a shame they couldn't have found room for this unique (for Metallica, anyway) little number (slightly NSFW lyrics):

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCgrCMda4x8[/ame]

Perhaps it would've made a good hidden track, either after a bit of silence following "All Within My Hands" or as an unlisted interlude sort of like what Depeche Mode did with "Crucified" on Violator...or better yet, in lieu of one of the weaker tracks (my vote is "My World")...it could've added some much-needed variety

TL; DR: Metallica's St. Anger is better in parts than as a whole, but in retrospect it was a product of its time, both for the band in particular and for metal in general

BTW I don't except anyone else to post a long blogpost-ish analysis like I did, unless maybe Roberteaux or Malikon want to say something
 

cherrysunburst00

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Sadly underappreciated. I've enjoyed it since its release in '83

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df7pjoJpXXo[/ame]
 

James Carney

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I listened to St Anger two weeks ago for the first time in years. It was better than I remember, but that's not saying much. Instead of a 2/10 I would give it a 3. I will take Load and Reload (which I think are both great), or Garage Inc (especially disc two) over St Anger. I dig they wanted and tried to do something different.

But the songs never go anywhere. There's never a good groove. From a songwritung perspective these songs feels so forced. The arrangements are so weak and riffs seem like they were writing songs with a gun to their head. And the songs are so long, they never end and just repeat every thing three times. I'm ok with no flashy leads or solos, but these tunes would have totally benefited from some. The vocals are way too loud.

The snare sounds so totally cool on a couple songs. But it's gets fatiguing with every song. It's just too much.

As far as my own, I elect Pixies Trompe Le Monde. Easily their best and most focused. Everyone loves Doolittle or Surfer Rosa, but Trompe seems like where they were always headed and got everything right. I love the slick production and layering and mix. Can't believe people say it's their worst, it's their best!
 

cherrysunburst00

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Here's another:

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruO06hN6lsQ[/ame]
 

Dilemma

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Reassess an album.
Huh.
OK, I'll go with Frampton Comes Alive.

When it was released I was in high school and very much in the Zeppelin/Aerosmith/Deep Purple etc camp. The record sounded like pop crapola to me.

These days, I can't get enough of it. Solid songs and great solos what's not to like right? But when it came out it sailed right over my head.
 

OldBenKenobi

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Technical Ecstasy by Black Sabbath.

Heavily derided for deviating from the Sabbath sound, but there is some ****ing ape**** leadwork on there by Iommi.
 

VerbalPuke

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Cool idea.

You know what album I really like? Iggy Pop's Lust For Life. Realistically, it has two of his biggest hits with Lust for Life (duh) and the Passenger. Both are great songs if I'm being honest, as Lust for Life is really a fun head rocker and the Passenger is just good song writing, fun to play. I think Some Weird Sin is probably my favorite track from the whole album, just good stuff right.

Honestly though, it's the rest of the album that shines for me. I think a lot of people will probably call back to his work with the Stooges, and as for solo stuff, probably the Idiot because it's maybe a bit more artsty fartsy/moody (i love the Idiot).
 

NRBQ

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I'm going to have to go with an album most will not like, but it's so good.

Tom Waits: Bad As Me...
[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3IHscrJB0I[/ame]
 

Thumpalumpacus

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Superunknown, from Soundgarden. When I first heard it all the way through, there were of course great songs that jumped out at me, but also weak spots that at the time didn't sit well on my ears. The guitars were lighter and more textured in many (can you hear the Tele in "Fell on Black Days"?) ... but on further listenings, it's an album that musically and lyrically both hearkens to their best qualities while expanding them a bit.

A tad too commercial? An opinion I can still get. But especially the second half, experimental enough to remind me why I loved them.

If I never heard "Spoonman" again, it wouldn't bother me -- but the title track, "My Wave", "The Day I Tried to Live", "Fourth of July", "Black Hole Sun" ... them are some songs!
 

Bill Hicklin

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Big LIKE for Frampton Comes Alive, a textbook example of a really good album "ruined" by overexposure.
 

parts

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Big LIKE for Frampton Comes Alive, a textbook example of a really good album "ruined" by overexposure.

..however it was one of the Go To albums to get laid..and get more overexposure..:)
 

Tim Fezziwig

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Never say Die. I laugh when I hear about VH blowing Sab away on this tour. I'd take "washed-up" Sab over prime VH ANY day. Give me Devil Rock over Stripper Rock EVERY time.
[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG8RCsAEhBw[/ame]
 

fjminor

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Superunknown, from Soundgarden. When I first heard it all the way through, there were of course great songs that jumped out at me, but also weak spots that at the time didn't sit well on my ears. The guitars were lighter and more textured in many (can you hear the Tele in "Fell on Black Days"?) ... but on further listenings, it's an album that musically and lyrically both hearkens to their best qualities while expanding them a bit.

A tad too commercial? An opinion I can still get. But especially the second half, experimental enough to remind me why I loved them.

If I never heard "Spoonman" again, it wouldn't bother me -- but the title track, "My Wave", "The Day I Tried to Live", "Fourth of July", "Black Hole Sun" ... them are some songs!

Ah, Fourth of July, one of my favorite songs, got me hooked on the dropped 'C' tuning.....as one youtuber put it - "THE MOST environmentally dangerous tuning! ", lol:laugh2:
 

Thumpalumpacus

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Never say Die. I laugh when I hear about VH blowing Sab away on this tour. I'd take "washed-up" Sab over prime VH ANY day. Give me Devil Rock over Stripper Rock EVERY time.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG8RCsAEhBw

You know I love that album. The title track is pretty much a theme song for me nowadays:






There's no need to have a reason
There's no need to wonder why
It's a part of me that tells you
Oh, don't you ever, don't ever say die
Never, never, never say die again

 

Tim Fezziwig

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Never Say Die ....kicks ass start to finish......:dude:

Van Who....?
Z, I had the Circus mags---"Van Halen Blows a Tired Sab Off the Stage:shock:"
No thanks. VH were decent Stadium Rock. I NEVER listen to their albums. I listen to a Sab album once a week.

You know I love that album. The title track is pretty much a theme song for me nowadays:








There's no need to have a reason
There's no need to wonder why
It's a part of me that tells you
Oh, don't you ever, don't ever say die
Never, never, never say die again

T, a great credo to live by. Love this song. Lots of air in this song.
[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJtKuRw1cyg[/ame]
 

defcrew

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Can't agree on Frampton Comes Alive. I remember buying it and for some reason not knowing much about it other than that he was a guitarist from Humble Pie. when I played it I went, "OMG, that's the guy playing all those awful pop songs with the talk box???" I do like Feel Like We Do even though it got played to death. Looking back, it's really odd that he was as big as he was. Not because I personally didn't like it but just a sort of guitar based live album pushing someone to the top of the Top 40 charts.

As to Iggy, my favorite album of his has always been New Values and it never gets mentioned. Biting Telecaster and real tight grooves as opposed to his more heavy and typical style. Billy Was a Runaway, title cut, Endless Sea. My bro is prob the biggest Iggy fan on earth and he noted that every album of his has at least one horrible song. No exception here...African Man. Comically bad. haha
 

Zungle

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Z, I had the Circus mags---"Van Halen Blows a Tired Sab Off the Stage:shock:"
No thanks. VH were decent Stadium Rock. I NEVER listen to their albums. I listen to a Sab album once a week.


T, a great credo to live by. Love this song. Lots of air in this song.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJtKuRw1cyg


Killer track....:applause:

I turned my 26 year old son onto Never Say a Die, last year.......it really blew him away........

When I was 22/23 years old I went on a 3/4 month binge where I'd come home from work and put in my Never Say Die cassette and jam each side before I'd even clean up.....

I should probably start doing that type of thing again.....
 

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