Two things happen when an artist has been around long enough. First, they begin to transcend generations, like when Led Zeppelin t-shirts appear year after year in high school hallways as students continue to discover them. Then there’s the backlash of sustained popularity. At this critical moment, that means being “canceled,” and this week it’s Metallica’s turn.
Being canceled is when someone is called out for questionable past behaviors, either ones that were recently discovered or ones that didn’t receive much attention when they occurred. The offense doesn’t have to be grand; often an individual can be undone by doing something that only affects one person. Other times, their negative actions can be seen as targeting large contingents of people.
The examples of those who have faced what is essentially destined to be blacklisted over the past few years are many – some might even deserve it. But, many times it borders on the ridiculous, like when Harry Styles was called out last year for not wearing the proper mask during the pandemic.
Justin Timberlake was retroactively canceled in 2021 for not doing or saying enough to support Janet Jackson after the 2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime controversy and for casually addressing his sex life with ex Britney Spears in the early. Taylor Swift was canceled for confronting Kim Kardashian. Katy Perry was even canceled for calling out cancel culture.
The list continues.
Who does all the cancellations? Raging Gen Zers for the most part. Also known as “Zoomers”, they are the generation born in the late 1990s to early 2010s who express their dislike and, often, outright contempt for previously inaccessible and large audiences immediately via social media platforms. social media.
Enter Metallica, who lately haven’t exactly seen a resurgence – because they haven’t been huge since their self-titled album exploded into the mainstream in 1991 – but rather a boost to another level. popularity with Generation Z. This was due to their use of their 1986 single “Master of Puppets” earlier this summer in a pivotal scene from the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things.” Overnight, the song exploded into games on streaming platforms and even re-entered the music charts in several countries.
Predictably, many longtime Metallica fans frowned upon the influx of newbies into their fandom’s ranks, so much so that the band felt the need to respond when a commenter on TikTok asked. apologized to the group “for all the fake Stranger Things fans”.
“Don’t be sorry,” read the group’s reaction to the abbreviated video hosting app. “Everyone is welcome in the Metallica family. If they like ‘Puppets’, chances are they’ll find plenty of other songs to get into. Later on, the band went a bit more away by posting some sort of disclaimer that read, “FYI – EVERYONE is welcome to the Metallica family. Whether you’ve been a fan for 40 hours or 40 years, we all share a connection through music.” You all started at ground zero at some point.
Despite the overtly inclusive nature of Metallica’s post, one TikTok user took the opportunity to berate them for decades-old infractions. “Serena Youngblood,” as they are known on the platform, produced a three-minute video using Metallica clips and photos from the early 90s accusing the band of Nazism, white supremacy, racism, making fun of mental health issues, addictions, suicide. , failing to sufficiently support Black Lives Matter and failing to draw political lines publicly.
Unsurprisingly, the video exploded on social media and music news sites while racking up nearly half a million views at press time. It was captioned by Youngblood, “I find it interesting [sic] that they only cared about access control in their fandom when they started getting big [sic] from Stranger Things. Your only concern what theor lines [sic] pockets.”
Metallica isn’t the first artist Youngblood has called out. The channel is replete with a recurring segment called “Is Your Fav Problematic” where they focused on Nirvana, Korn, Lady Gaga, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Demi Lovato and dozens of others, sometimes applying a rating scale of 1 to 10 in terms of how problematic the topic might be.
Youngblood’s “system” is undeniably flawed and uneven, but what many people don’t realize is that it’s just a young person using TikTok to express an opinion. It’s neither good nor bad, but thousands have fallen on one side or the other of the fence.
Before Youngblood turned off comments on the video, some claimed to be now enlightened and regretted purchasing Metallica music or merchandise since it was returned to them via “Stranger Things.” Those on the other end of the spectrum furiously defended the band, personally attacked Youngblood, and said they would gladly take concert tickets and shirts out of the hands of people disavowing metal titans.
As for Metallica, did the band members do and say stupid and provocative things when they were younger? Absolutely – and who hasn’t? Did they walk away from that? It would certainly seem so.
Whether the uproar over all of this sees them trying to atone for that past in the form of apologies or statements remains to be seen. That doesn’t seem necessary, with the band wrapping up a lengthy tour of solo shows and festivals around the world this month for thousands of people. More likely will be the idea to undo Metallica’s fade to black in no time.
VINYL OF THE WEEK
Keep an eye on this place as each week we’ll be reviewing new or upcoming vinyl from a variety of artists. It can be a reprint of a historical recording, a special edition or a new collection of a legendary act. This week it’s a live album from a much-loved country rock band.
SMALL FEAT: ‘WAITING FOR COLUMBUS’
It’s only fitting that Little Feat will be on the road this summer as they celebrate the 45th anniversary of “Waiting for Columbus”, considered by many to be one of the greatest live albums ever made, one that cemented the band’s reputation. as one of the best live albums. acts from the 70s. Released in 1978, the double LP featured memorable performances of songs that spanned the band’s career.
To make “Waiting for Columbus”, Little Feat – backed by the horn section of Tower of Power – recorded several shows in the UK and USA during the band’s 1977 summer tour. Rhino Records included three of these performances, never before published, in a new box set which is part of several configurations of the collection. Among them, a Super Deluxe Edition comes with a newly remastered 2LP version on 180 gram vinyl of the original album and a reissue of the 7″ Japanese single for “Oh Atlanta” b/w “Willin'”.
“Waiting for Columbus” features songs from the six Little Feat studio albums released between 1971 and 1977. The performances showcase the sextet’s inimitable fusion of New Orleans blues, country, jazz and R&B on iconic tracks like “Dixie Chicken”, “Willin'” and “Time Loves a Hero”, “Fat Man in the Bathtub” and “Sailin’ Shoes”.
The 45th anniversary of “Waiting for Columbus” can be found online and at all respectable retailers that sell vinyl.
To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, email [email protected] Also check out his blog at www.thechroniclesofmc.com.