SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE F*CK ARE METALLICA THINKING?
Fact: the record industry is dying. And while Trent Reznor and Radiohead are rolling with the punches, giving albums away for free under cover of still being able to make millions from concert revenue and merch sales, Metallica are going the other way, trying to lure fans with a variety of steeply priced box set “special editions” of their forthcoming album, Death Magnetic. Depending on how delusional you’re feeling with regards to the ongoing quality (or, more accurately, lack thereof) of every Metallica release for nearly the last twenty years, you can purchase editions that will come with coffin cases, posters, flags, guitar picks, band photos, ringtones, a behind-the-scenes DVD, a “credit card” to allow you to download some future shows, and, oh yeah, a $25 digital download of the album.
Look, just speaking for myself personally, paying more than ten bucks for any album that doesn’t come with a free blowjoy (“It’s certainly not a job!”) from Cristina Scabbia strikes me as, um, silly at best. But if I was gonna pay some outrageous amount of cash for an album, it wouldn’t be one by Metallica; I know some people come to this site and think we give Metallica too much shit, but keep in mind that they’ve been asking fans to bend over and grab their ankles for years now. St. Anger was insanely offensive, but then, so were Load and Re-load and “I Disappear;” in other words, lack of faith in this once great outfit comes from years of being fed crap, not just one single incident or misstep.
And really, these “special editions” strike me as manifested greed, pure and simple. Demos of a shitty album will just be shittier version of already shitty songs; we’ve already seen behind-the-scenes footage of Metallica making something terrible in the form of Some Kind of Monster; if I want a Metallica poster, I’ll rip one out of an issue of Metal Edge (which I routinely keep around for use as toilet paper, ’cause the glossy pages are soothing to my ‘roids); if I want to download a Metallica show, I’ll download an old one from when Cliff Burton was alive and Lars could still kinda sorta play drums; and, oh yeah, I’m not afraid of Lars’ lawyers, so if I want to download the album, I’ll just do so for free and keep my twenty-five bucks, thank you (and after the hat trick of suckiness that was the band’s last three albums, I vowed I’d never pay for Metallica music again until I’d heard it front to back and could be 110% positive that the juice was worth the squeeze).
Metallica are out of touch; the abundance of recent media comparisons to Star Wars/Indiana Jones creator/destroyer George Lucas – a guy who is almost stubbornly unwilling to make a product worth giving a damn about – are all too apt. Normally I’d say “Hey, it’s your money, blow it however you want.” But in this case, I’d implore people to stay the fuck away from this thing, ’cause if it’s profitable, Metallica’ll just do it again in five years for their next album, You Put Our Kids Through College, We Fucked You in the Ass. Metallica will never learn unless their fans teach them.