Album Rundown: Metallica

One of the most awesome things about blogging is that inspiration can strike at any moment, and it come from the least expected of sources. Last month, I received a comment on my iTunes Diaries post about Slayer from the mind behind Games I Made My Girlfriend Play concerning Metallica. The comment read, in part:

I would love to read your thoughts on Metallica. Perhaps an iTunes Diary post about Master of Puppets is in our collective future?

I responded in kind as to why nothing from my Metallica collection would qualify for the iTunes Diaries (in short: I own the albums on CD and the iTunes Diaries posts are about single songs I download from iTunes), but the thought remained. Why not dedicate a post to Metallica? Though I don’t possess every Metallica album and can’t claim to be the band’s #1 fan, I followed Metallica closely for awhile, and my iPod just wouldn’t be “my iPod” without its music.

In thinking about how to best approach a musical, compilation-type post like this, I decided to arrange the albums in the order in which I was introduced to them, rather than simply chronologically or by some other scheme. That just made the most sense, because Metallica hasn’t always fit so snugly into my musical life, and the moments I came into possession of their albums were unique. But don’t worry, I’ll refrain from drowning this whole operation in nostalgia. If anything, shorter will be sweeter. I’ll touch upon likes and dislikes and maybe get into the musicality of each album (lightly that is — I’m no musicologist). And as I said, this won’t cover every Metallica album, just the ones I have. Onward then! And into the void…

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Recollecting Ben Fold’s ‘Rockin’ the Suburbs’ (A Guest Post)

Ben Folds - Rockin in the Suburbs (2001) album art
© Ben Folds – Rockin’ the Suburbs (2001) album art

Support for Voluntine’s Week continues here with a great guest post from C. T. Murphy! He runs a most excellent blog called Murf vs. Internet that’s chock-full of posts on everything from life experiences to video games and anything in between. His way with words is not to be ignored, people! He also contributes to a little site I’ve probably mentioned here before called Geek Force Network. Find him also on Twitter @ctmurfy and Google+.

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Ben Fold’s Rockin’ the Suburbs is one of my favorite albums of all time. When it was released in 2001 (coincidentally, the same day as the September 11th attacks) I was only thirteen years old. Though I had heard of Ben Folds then, it was years later when I came to enjoy and appreciate his music. Largely, that’s because I matured enough to understand it.

Rockin’ the Suburbs is everything I love about 90’s music, played out as one last hoorah on a piano. Foremost, there is a self-aware quality to the songs with a playful sense of irony to match. This is a pop album, but only its simplistic but catchy rhythms. In a typical 90’s style, the lyrics don’t often match the upbeat tone of the music.

The album kicks off with “Annie Waits.” As the piano holds a steady, hopeful melody, we meet Annie, a girl waiting for someone who likely has forgotten whatever responsibility they owed her.

“The clock never stops, never stops, never waits // She’s growing old // It’s getting late.”

Other lines like “Annie waits for the last time // Just the same as the last time” appeal directly to my inner English major. Ben Folds does such a perfect job through wordplay of capturing the line between being hopeful and being hopeless. It is such a simple and elegant way to express a feeling that often feels far more complex to us, at least in the moment.

Continue reading “Recollecting Ben Fold’s ‘Rockin’ the Suburbs’ (A Guest Post)”