Green Eggs and Slam

WHY DO PPL LIKE BLACK SABBATH??

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If there’s one band who is almost universally hyped, it’s Black Sabbath. But the honest-to-god truth is that I’ve never heard an entire Sabbath album, and most of the songs I know are from other bands who covered them. In case you think I’m trolling, check my Last.fm profile. It has every song I’ve listened to since 2006, and you won’t find a single Black Sabbath song in all 45,000+ tracks.

When I was a kid, I never liked them because they looked like my parents, but I figured I should give them another chance now that I am an adult. Maybe there’s something I missed, right?? I mean, I didn’t appreciate bands like Boston and Steely Dan until my late 20s, so who knows? Well, I checked out a few of their songs the other day, and I guess I still don’t get it.

For all the the talk of how “they invented metal,” I am not hearing a lot of metal here. To me it just sounds like all the other British people in the late 60s who tried to play blues. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I’m just saying that there is nothing metal about harmonica solos and bluegrass outros. I guess you could call the later stuff “metal,” but I definitely wouldn’t say that it’s stood the test of time– sounds more like a lulzy SNL sketch than anything resembling good metal if you ask me.

In this post, I will listen to a few Sabbath songs for the first time and share my reaction. Check it out and let me know what you think. Am I missing something?? Why do people jock these guys so hard???

 

“Solitude”

Fucking LOL @ these lyrics!!!!! “The world is a lonely place – you’re on your own  / Guess I will go home / sit down and moan / Crying and thinking is all that I do” Makes that Emmure song with the line about “crying to the Bayside CD” seem positively dignified.

 

“Embryo”

I guess is just intended as a little instrumental interlude, not a real song per se, but did anyone bother to tell them that the instruments are completely out of tune with each other? Or was that just “experimentation”??

 

“Wizard”

I don’t dislike this song, I just don’t see why anyone who is into metal would be into it?? Just reminds of me stuff my mom listened to when I was a kid like Stevie Ray Vaughn or John Lee Hooker, or not as technical and with much worse production.

 

“Bark At The Moon”

I really like this cover of “Bark At The Moon” by Strung Out. Obviously it’s not really fair to compare the two, since Strung Out are a lot better at playing their instruments and have the benefit of newer equipment/recording technology, but it does make you wonder about what it would be like if Sabbath was around now!

 

As far as I am concerned the best thing to come out of Black Sabbath is Dio Brando, the arch villain from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure whose name is inspired by the Sabbath vocalist

 

 

“Wizard”

This is definitely more polished and sophisticated than most of the other Sabbath songs from this perdiod, but this kind of thing is exactly why I don’t like any music from the 70s: the song is like 500 times longer than it should be, the lyrics are some longwinded, self-indulgent “conceptual” bullshit that makes no sense, and there is absolutely nothing heavy about.

PS there’s a line about how “he had a cloak of gold and eyes of fire”– I was hoping they would say something about “sleeve of wizard.”

 

“Changes”

This basically sounds like something that would be in the closing credits of the latest Pixar movie– think Elton John meets the theme from “Peanuts.” Another huge lol @ the angsty lyrics, and the song is like fucking five minutes long!!!

“After Forever”

Aside from their dreadful ska songs and the other shameful stuff they did after “Mantra,” I think Shelter is a pretty solid band, and I was very surprised to hear that they covered Black Sabbath. I was even more surprised at the lyrics– is Sabbath a Christian band???? So weird! Either way, a good song, especially the Shelter version.

“Heaven And Hell”

I can at least see how this could be considered “metal,” but I still don’t get it. I’m sure it would be different if I was hearing this with fresh ears in 1981 or whenever this came out, but I’m hearing this for the first time in 2001 and honestly it sounds like some ridiculous Jack Black parody to me.

“Now You’re A Man” (from the Orgazmo soundtrack)

Clearly this is a parody of Dio-style metal, but the punchline is that it’s only one, very small step removed from the real thing. I’m sure that stuff sounded great back in the day, but lettuce be reality: unless you are like 40+ you really should not be taking Sabbath seriously.

“Mob Rules”

Obviously bands like The Sword or whatever stole their sound from Sabbath songs of this era, but the truth is that I heard The Sword before this song, so I can’t help but think that this sounds like hipster metal, and that’s kind of a dealbreaker for me. Not trolling, obviously I know this song is from the early 80s, I’m just saying that the sound has been co-opted so much since than that it’s ruined for me.

 

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Generally speaking, if something is popular I try to like it. I mean, I am only one person, and I figure that if a zillion people like something, there’s a reason for it, and I probably should too. That said, there are some popular things that I just can’t get into, no matter how hard I try to convince myself that they are cool — for example, BLACK SABBATH.

I’m sure that they are good in historical context — like if you were 14 and heard their first album when it was new, it was probably mindblowing. So I get it if you are like 50 and worship Sabbath, but what about the rest of us?? I’m in my 30s (which is like 100 in metal years), and it’s too old fashioned for me. It’s the same reason I can hardly listen to any music made before 1992 except for some punk: times have changed, and most older music sounds really shitty by today’s standards.

Here’s my guess: most metal fans pretend to like Sabbath because they are conformists, and they’re afraid they’ll be called posers if they don’t worship “the band who started metal.” I’m not saying Sabbath sucks, because they seem to be good at doing the 70s rock thing, but I am saying that you don’t have to say that you like them just because they are old.

Do you like Black Sabbath??? Are you under 50?? What is so great about their brand of blues-rock and/or lulzy, melodramatic dinosaur metal?! Are you scared to go against the grain and admit that you don’t give a fuck about “seminal bands” like Sabbath and Priest, and that they are best left where they belong on the oldies station in your uncle’s reissue Dodge Avenger?????

-Sergeant D.

Sergeant D. tries to like popular things every day at Stuff You Will Hate.

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