I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

14 songs released in 1996 that impacted my life in so many ways



I had long ago given up on Metallica. Sure, I spent nearly half my life loving the band and all they produced, but something dramitcally changed when Jason Newstead left. It’s as though I left as well. Jason was a Metallica fan to begin with before auditioning to fill the void that Cliff Burton’s accidental death left. While I owned (and still do) all of their albums, I simply stopped listening. I gave up on them. It wasn’t as though I thought they had “sold out” or any of that nonesense. I guess I had outgrown them? I don’t know. What I do know is that I was recently asked by a friend to make a mixtape of their greatest hits so-to-speak and upon doing so I rediscovered what it was that attracted me to them in the first place.

Specifically the way that the lyrics and musical artistry evolved and morphed over the years. The classical guitar side was still there (that the universe for Kirk Hammett!) and Lars Ulrich’s ever thumping double-bass drum style was always holding steady, James Hetfield’s masculine growl will always have a special place in my heart, but the mood of what Metallica was and what they meant to their fans was changing, too.

With the release of the album “Load” it seemed a great rift was forming between old school metal heads and newer Metallica fans. With the release of “Load” the bay area headbangers also chopped their long locks for sharper more modern hair dos. You’d think it was an utter betrayal of all that was metal! The way fans barked at one another in the parking lots before conerts about who was the true fan or how Metallica have finally, after all these years, sold out to the man!

I never bought into the hype and found it all pretty silly. It was always about the music for me. I remember the first time I saw the band on television, it was the Grammy’s and they were nominated for “…And Justice For All” and I was blown the fuck away! I mean…WOW! The fury and the passion I saw in them was just unfathomable. I had never experienced anything like it! Mind you I was neck deep in a full on NKOTB obsession at the time, but I was blind-sided by this whole metal thing.

Years later and my obsessions took on a darker, heavier tone. Long gone were my Jordan Knight posters and fan-girl sighing over the magical day we’d be married (gag). My music collection grew from Debbie Gibson and Salt ‘N Pepa to Metallica, Motley Crue and more. But Metallica always held  the spotlight when the headphones hit my lobes.

My freshman year of high school was met with historical music releases: Metallica’s black album, Guns ‘N Roses Use Your Illusion 1 & 2 and of course Nirvana’s Nevermind! Huge stuff! It was amazing and fantastic. It felt like a revolution! It felt like the second coming of a radical social movement…only it was just music and nothing really ever came of the social side of things since we were all getting stoned and making out and headbanging to said music and forgetting all of our injustices the minute the stereo power button turned red.

Yes, Metallica’s black album was a big deal. I loved it. Everyone did! A friend of mine who played guitar spent every non-school minute learning each track on guitar and would then call me to play it over the phone. We had pet names for the band member (Fuzzy, etc…). We speculated on what the band was doing right NOW! We watched their home video “A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica” a kajillion times. It was a daily ritual to discuss Metallica as an entity and not merely a band.

Things went south in my life in major ways and one thing I held onto was my love for Metallica and their music. So when “Load” came out I did all I could to absorb every lyric and melody into my very soul. the difference for me with this album was a more intellectual yet emotional vibe. I can’t really explain it, but ever song holds a moment in time for me.

Certain tracks specifically invoke an image or moment or day where it was playing and the emotions come running back. Like a certain hottie’s house I spent the night at to escape from abuse (why oh why didn’t I sleep with him?). Or hanging out in the part with Marlboro Lights, the latest issue of Rolling Stone, a #1 combo from Taco Bell and my best friend Q! *Sigh* Those were strange times. Sprinkled with goodness atop a heaping load of shit that was my life. Good thing I mostly remember those sprinkles!

More albums followed of course, but for some reason none stuck to me the way “Load” did (ew, don’t be gross). I respect the band and all that they have contributed to this world. While I don’t like any of their new music, I will always be in awe of the boys from the bay who blew me away all those years ago.

posted under inspiration, Music

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