I don't hate many things in this life, but I hate Metallica's Black Album. It's not a festering hate. I don't even realize how much I hate it until it somehow comes up, and of course it's going to come up on the 25th anniversary of its release.
I hate it while knowing the album extremely well. I've listened to it countless times. At least once a year I listen to it for the ten millionth time just to make sure that I haven't missed something. My first copy of the album was the Japanese import that has "So What!" as the bonus track. As much as I hate the Black Album, I hate it ten times more for that stupid song. It cost $30 in mid-90's money and would be about $90 now if everything on it hadn't be made available for free on many different formats.
My friend Scott posted something about it online and I must've blacked out when I saw it. When I came to, this is what was on my screen. It's unusually cruel and dismissive of people who poured their hearts and souls into such a bad piece of art. They spent about a year on that album and I am so sorry they wasted their time. It contains some of the most recognizable songs in the history of radio, some of which almost fool me into thinking that they are good. That feeling usually dissipates soon after but not without me feeling guilty for falling for it all over again.
Any time I've put it on, I get a bad feeling in my stomach. Then I'm bored. Then I'm angry and a little embarrassed. I make a face like I just sipped milk that is in the process of turning bad, like I'm mulling it over when it was clearly a mistake, when the decision to ingest it was regretted far too long after my initial unease.
I feel most bad for the things I said about Bob Rock in the below. He's a person and he's probably very nice. He was just trying to make the band sound their best. He's very patient in the "Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica" home video (which was 2 videotapes long), trying to get Kirk Hammett to reach deep within to play the Unforgiven solo at a level he'd only hoped he could reach. He's so patient and professional and I reduced him to an assortment of bad hair and poor decisions. I hope that he never reads my theology/culture blog that has a readership of about 5 people.
Someone might say that people who write on theology and culture shouldn't write like this...but clearly they have never read anything by St. Jerome.
Thanks to Scott for the opportunity.