[I held a contest asking readers of Orlando Weekly to give me their best answer to the question “Why Does Metallica Suck?”]
The results are in and boy does Metallica suck. When we first announced our “Why Metallica Sucks” contest, I was worried that nobody would respond and that my suspicions about this once great band falling into a pit of mediocrity would be unfounded. I also had somewhat grave trepidations about turning over a page in the paper to ranting ex-fans of Metallica. But then I realized: I’m a ranting ex-fan of Metallica myself, and now I know that there are plenty of others like me out there.
We received a good number of entries and almost all of them were from males between the ages of 25 and 30. In other words, the group of disaffected guys who relied upon “Hit the Lights” and “Battery” to cope with the agonies of high-school jocks. (Some writers were younger. One 18-year-old bemoaned the respect for Metallica he “lost long ago.” Would that be the respect the band earned when he was struggling through his difficult pre-school years?) It was that group of guys that attached most faithfully to Metallica and their anti-authoritarian promise, and thus, that same group seems to feel the most betrayed by a sense that a once-unassailable bastion of integrity has bowed to greed and mediocrity. And betrayal can lead to some strong words.
Here’s how it worked. The entries came in and the Weekly editorial staff scored each one. Those with the highest scores won. All entries are reprinted as received.
— Jason Ferguson
First Place: Curtis Meyer
This entry was the first to come in, the simplest to understand and the best of the batch. From the moment it clicked into the Inbox, it was the front-runner. Unsurprisingly, it garnered a strong reaction from everyone. A couple people despised it; everyone else loved it.
I wholeheartedly carry the conviction that Metallica was once one of the most influential rock bands of all time, but I can’t deny their current position of suckhood É Why does Metallica suck? Eleven simple words: “Swizz Beatz featuring Ja Rule and Metallica, ‘We Did It Again.'”
May all who find my reason unjustified hear the aforementioned song with extreme precaution. To those who have had the misfortune of hearing the track (the final one on Swizz Beatz’s album “G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories”) I figure no explanation is necessary.
The way Meyer gets to the heart of the matter is ingenious. Without disparaging hip-hop as a whole or getting into nasty cross-genre warfare, this brief essay — a koan, really — lays bare the fact that Metallica’s slut-easy willingness to collaborate with such middling talents as Ja Rule (just because they’re “down”) is a prime indicator of how low the group has fallen. Should Metallica hate rap? No. But should they make rap records? No. Good work Curtis.
Second place: Sam Randazzo
Again, a wide variety of grades for this piece. Some people gave it a three on our scale to 10, others were so pleased with they gave it a nine.
Yes, they cut their hair. Yes, they wear makeup. And yes, they tour with cock-monkey bands. However, the real reason Metallica sucks is that they have grown tired of metal and hungry for money. Sure, they used to rock the fucking balls off your parents’ house when you played them in ’86, but the double-bass drums sound softer when they’re filled with cash. When Metallica sues their fans for listening to Metallica songs, THEY SUCK! I can picture Lars and his lawyers rolling nude in piles of money, laughing at the dickholes that are still willing to pay top dollar for their symphony-remixes of the same old shit. At some point one of them must’ve stopped dry-humping stacks of hundreds, wiped their diarrhea mustache and agreed to allow “Unforgiven” to be interpreted into elevator Muzak. I know this because I heard the shit while three old folks tapped their brittle feet to the mellow beat as I wondered if hell was a hospital elevator.
Furthermore, they have continued to suck AND swallow by jacking up the prices of their tickets and merchandise. It seems the more their music rolls downhill into a pit of “alternative” dogshit, the more they think they’re worth. Plain and simple, a band that is more hardcore about their image and record sales than their depleting fanbase is … Metallica. I will still argue that “Hit the Lights” is the greatest metal song ever.
Definitely the most literate and thoughtful of the batch, it’s both straightforward and seethingly contemptuous of Metallica’s “cock-monkey” peers. The way Randazzo weaves lines like “dry-humping stacks of hundreds” into an essay that also trumpets the glory of “Hit the Lights” is literary perfection.
Third Place: Troy Jewell
Breakin’ it down science-class style. You gotta love the chart. Jewell eloquently nails the arc and decline of the band with the comparison of his mother’s reaction to hearing the band’s music in different eras. The fact that he misspells”Hetfield” makes it even better.
The one-liners and the losers
When there are winners, there are losers. And we had many losers. Some people’s entire argument consisted of “They just fcukin doooooo [sic].” Others were just foul-mouthed scribblings that made little, if any, sense. One entry compared Metallica to Molly Hatchet, an analogy we’re still scratching our heads over.
Still, even among the losers, there was some genius. Somebody (a near-winner, but a loser nonetheless) even submitted Hamlet-style poetry. Nice, especially given the whole Denmark/Lars thing. Other entries were redeemed by dead-on one-liners. Here’s a random sampling of some of the best zingers.
“As dangerous as a Flamejob T-shirt bought at Wal-Mart.”
— Chris Pedersen
“What are they playing now, jazz?”
— Gregg Flynn
“Two words: Bob Fucking Rock!”
— Jason Glover
(That’s three words, Jason.)
“If I go to hell, it will certainly include me listening to ‘Unforgiven 2,’ proof that Metallica believes that if something’s awful, do it twice.”
— June Whitaker
“Metallica’s full-length albums have gone from OK, to bad, to worse, to hideous, to WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS CRAP?!!!”
“I was driving down the road and thought I had left my blinker on!”
— David Hedger
(Regarding the drums on “St. Anger”)
“The fact that James Hetfield sings like his balls are being squeezed by Suge Knight does not help matters.”
— Ramiro Vasquez
“But now, to make money, they have to play with bands that your 12-year-old sister likes.”
— Matt Coffey
“After completion of The Black Album, I believe certain members of Metallica castrated themselves and grew vaginas.”
— Keith Gridley
And, finally, from the only entry that took Metallica’s side, while simultaneously taking issue with our “metal cred,” everybody’s favorite one-liner:
“May the restless spirit of Cliff Burton pimp slap the Chuck Taylors off of your pasty asses.”
— Thor Intrepid
(Yes, that’s really his name.)
First appeared on the cover of Orlando Weekly, July 10, 2003.