Metallica Analysis

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‘Let’s set the record straight: Hetfield’s lyrics are rock poetry rivalling Dylan and The Doors and more philosophically significant than The Beatles and U2.’ Irwin, W (2007) Metallica and Philosophy: A Crash Course In Brain Surgery, Oxford: Blackwell p1 It is a hard thing to quantify how great art compares with other great art. Maybe it is even a fool’s errand. Almost like the comparison of dissecting comedy, and a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it. Sometimes great music should just be appreciated for the feelings of joy it gives the listener. But I would argue that there are sometimes cases when enjoyment can be gathered from the analysis of an artist from a social, cultural and philosophical perspective. In this…show more content…
‘Master of Puppets’ for example deals with the themes of control and drug abuse. Although the 1980s and Ronald Regan’s presidency was not the inception of the ‘War on Drugs’, (Richard Nixon came up with the policy in the 1970s) it was during this time that there was an escalation of its enforcement. ‘The average annual amount of funding for (drug) eradication and interdiction programs increased from an annual average of $437 million during Carter’s presidency to $1.4 billion during Reagan’s first term’ (Stanford University, n.d). The ‘just say no’ campaign was launched by Nancy Regan and while it did attempt to target ‘at risk’ youths from taking dangerous and illegal drugs it was simple and reductive. Boiling down the illegal drug issue to a binary choice of yes or no did not take into account the struggle that many users had with personal inner demons of addiction and…show more content…
‘Public concern about drug use, although it had been building throughout the 1980s, fairly exploded late in 1985 and early in 1986 (Goode, 1994). One question to ask though was if the concern was warranted or focused on the most harmful drugs. In 1986 a Gallup poll was taken which asked which drug was the most dangerous for American society, ‘At 42%, "crack" and "other forms of cocaine" beat "alcohol abuse" by eight percentage points -- even though there are far more alcoholics than crack addicts.’ (Robison, 2002). It’s interesting to note that Hetfield himself was not a cocaine or heroin abuser. ‘I’d be writing about the stuff I’d never tried’ (Engelen, 2007, p. 30). Instead Metallica had acquired the nickname of ‘Alcoholica’ because their alcohol consumption was so well-known. In fact Hetfield’s band mates Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammet both used cocaine. So although his vice was alcohol he was more interested in drugs that weren’t affecting him personally. It could be argued that this could be construed as moral grandstanding. Instead of rationally looking at his own legal drug abuse he chose to look at other drugs in ‘Master of Puppets’. It might also be argued that Regan in his war on drugs was doing something similar. Levels of drug use actually fell in the United States throughout the
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