Heavy Metal on Wall Street

11:24 PM Posted In , , Edit This 1 Comment »
Lately I've been reading three newspapers everyday -- we've been getting the Los Angeles Times since we moved here, but I find it ridiculously superficial. On one of the early days of the economic crisis, the front page headline was about the Emmy's. So I decided to scan those headlines, but really invest myself in that wonderful source of news, the New York Times. So, I read the Times electronically in the morning, and scan the (subordinate) Times over cereal. That was working for a while, until... Dad decided he had also had enough of the LA Times, and subscribed to the Wall Street Journal. Thus, I read 3 newspapers. Needless to say, though I'll say it anyway, I get a lot of news.
One would never expect the two to go together, but last week I stumbled across the unlikely synthesis of Metallica and the Wall Street Journal. On the bottom of the front page was an article entitled something like "Metallica too loud even for heavy metal fans." I enjoy a dose of Metallica here and there, and I saw them in concert in 2004, so I read on. (AWESOME concert, by the way.) The article explained how lately bands have made their recordings "louder" so that they stick out more on the radio and on iPods. I can't say I had noticed. The article goes to on say that producers increase certain layers of the track at the expense of minute musical details and expression to give the illusion of a louder song, and that the new Metallica album "Death Magnetic" falls prey to this folly.
Well, I was curious, so I determined that when I got home from work I would investigate these vicious felonies -- WHOA! Law and Order SVU took over for a second... that I would investigate these claims myself by comparing "The Day That Never Comes" with an older song, say, "For Whom the Bell Tolls" from the album "Ride the Lightning." Well, being busy, that never happened.
Luckily, my burning curiosity was assuaged today as I sat in my car and the radio so lovingly played what I needed to hear. Though I am by no means a Metallica connoisseur like, say, Ian Ward, I could definitely hear a lack of musicality in the new song. Metallica, whether you like them or not, is a group of pretty fabulous musicians. It's impossible to deny that. And though the song is extremely well written and really fun to listen to, I did hear a lack of depth in dynamics and the balance seemed off... like the bass and the cymbals were too loud. Great album, guys, but I'm guessing your more loyal listeners aren't going to appreciate the cheap tricks...


Sevak said...

I rarely read blogs, but for some reason this title "Heavy Metal on Wall Street" interested me because I thought you were going to write on something about how listening to Metallica is like following the news on Wall Street (the financial crisis, etc) :)