Music

Hardwired: The Rush of the First Song

If you’re a metal fan and you were breathing on Thursday, you may have seen that Metallica released a new song and new album details without warning.

I was caught off-guard. It’s hard describe the feeling I had when I clicked on that YouTube link and was hit smack in the face with the sweet crunch of James Hetfield’s thrashing rhythm guitar. I can pretty much remember how I reacted to all of the new songs that Metallica has released since I’ve been able to experience it.

My relationship with Metallica goes back to somewhere in probably 1986-87 or so. My older brother had their “Master of Puppets” album on cassette tape (look it up, kids.) I remember listening to it a few times. I especially remember the title track and also “(Welcome Home) Sanitarium.”

I didn’t get into my own musical tastes until I was about 12 or 13, so 1992-93. This was already past the time when Metallica released Metallica (The Black Album) and, I guess, officially “sold out,” if you’re in that crowd. So, my first new song release wasn’t until they released the Load album in 1996. I remember being in high school. That album is probably still debated to this day. The first single off of that album was “Until It Sleeps.” It definitely didn’t sound like what you were expecting, but it still had that Metallica sound. I was excited, yet slightly confused. I was a little soft on most of that album at first, but it has become one of my favorites over the years. I also now laugh out load at that whole “OMG! They cut their hair!” argument.

The next new release was when ReLoad came out in 1997. That first single was “The Memory Remains.” I still really like that song, but it was odd at the time, especially with the singing of Marianne Faithful in it. The video, though, I really liked. It had that cool video effect of the band swinging around on that platform.

The next album, though not an original, was Garage, Inc. in 1998. I remember picking that up in my freshman year of college. They first released the cover of Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page.” I thought it sounded cool, but I really had no expectation since it was an album full of cover songs.

St. Anger hit 5 years later in 2003. It was definitely a different sound, a lot more raw. “St. Anger” was the first single released. I was excited for a new Metallica single and this one was pretty in-your-face.

We had to wait another 5 years for a new single, this time with Death Magnetic. “The Day That Never Comes” was the first single released. I really liked that one. It had a very “One” vibe to it with the slow, melodic beginning followed by the crushing thrash at the end. I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older, I’m less picky about the music I hear. I can always find something I like in almost any music now.

Now, this has been the longest we’ve had to wait for an official single from Metallica. It’s been almost 8 years since Death Magnetic. This one came completely unexpectedly. I knew they were working on a new album. It’s strange in this always-on, social world not to hear anything about something being released. I was really happy for that. I saw the link posted on my Facebook feed and my eyes lit up. “What is this one going to be like?” I thought to myself, thinking about all of the other singles I’ve heard for the last 20 years.

It did help that the volume on my PC was set a bit loud, because when I clicked on that link and that first guitar crunch hit, I literally felt the hairs on my neck and arms stand up. I couldn’t help but smile. This one sounds like it’s gonna be good. The kick-ass video didn’t hurt. Sometimes you forget that 3/4 of the guys in that band are in their 50s.

Like I posted on Facebook with the link, there are very few feelings in life like that the first few seconds of a brand-new song by your favorite artist.