iTunes Diaries, entry #43, “Thieves” by Ministry

I was once a little…um, okay, terribly obsessed with iTunes.  I got my first iPod in 2004 and became immediately entranced by Apple’s seeming infinite lists of music for sale.  Over the years, I spent way too much time on iTunes and spent way too much money on music, some of which was great, and some of which was not.  In 2011, for the sake of my sanity and my bank account, I went cold turkey.  I suspended my iTunes activities and completely stopped visiting site.  With the iTunes Diaries, I take a look back, highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly in music that I just had to have in the moment. 


Industrial metal has never really been in my wheelhouse. Certain songs and groups have flitted in and out of my purview over the years — Nine Inch Nails, Prong, and the Revolting Cocks come first to mind — and I’ve enjoyed the occasional compilations involving industrial sounds, but it’s not a genre that ever stuck with me. (Meat Beat Manifesto’s Subliminal Sandwich is quite good, though it’s also very removed from anything strictly industrial, which may lend strongly to my liking of it.)

I was first intriduced to the sounds of industrial metal in the 1990s — that was strange decade for me musically. It started out with me desperately trying to fit in by listening to the New Kids on the Block, and ended with me welcoming Y2K to the sounds of Prodigy and Bad Religion. I guess this is growing up, right? Somewhere in all that mess, I developed an affinity for metal music generally and mostly thanks to Metallica. But I had trouble…I don’t know what the right word is…accepting, maybe?…the aggressively grimy sounds of industrial metal. Maybe I just wasn’t that angry? Or maybe I had simply found more comfort in aggressive electronic and thoughtful punk? Whatever it was, I had no issues with industrial metal, per se…it just wasn’t for me in large doses.

And that’s why I was more than happy down the road to fill up a tiny portion of my new iPod with some of the stronger metal sounds that I did like, including Ministry’s “Thieves,” from The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste (1989). I’ll admit that I knew little of this band’s history, and frankly, of what they sounded like beyond “Thieves,” but an appreciation lingered. And that’s at least somewhat due to the movie Freejack.


What, you don’t know it? Well, shit, I don’t know why, because it’s totally the best 1990’s sci-fi movie starting Mick Jagger and Emilio Estevez that no one ever asked for! And by “best” I mean not that in the slightest. It’s a terrible movie about bodysnatching in a dystopian future that involves Mick Jagger and Emilio Estevez. Of course, if you happen to like all those words there, then maybe it’s your best movie ever. Maybe I should watch it again, because it has been awhile. Maybe Freejack is like a fine wine that just gets better with age. Maybe it was simply ahead of its time in 1992?

Or maybe I need some wine and good slap to the face?

However that plays out, Freejack had a moderately decent soundtrack that contained “Thieves.” That much I do recall, as do I recall listening to it somewhere during my 1990s timeline and having “Thieves” and Ministry settle into the realm of musical possibilities. Guess that didn’t go very far, but, y’know…it was the 90s. A great time to be young and clueless.

Anyway. Though I never deeply perused the depths of all that Ministry had to offer, “Thieves” remains a favorite. It’s a loud, thrashy, beat-filled, head-pounding song, that become goddamn genius when the guitars open up a couple minutes in. It’s complete with some brilliantly-timed Full Metal Jacket samples, as well; and it comes together under a set of lyrics that question both the “leaders” and the “followers.” Whose side are you on?

Ministry - The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste (1989)
Ministry – The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste (1989)

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