Firstly, I encourage you to listen to the song before you read this blog. It’s a bit of an experience. Okay, you’re done? Excellent.

What I immediately noticed was that the production on this album actually doesn’t suck. Admittedly the drums could be a bit less thuddy, but you can actually hear the bass, which is rare on some Metallica records. And while I wanted to punch Lars for playing time on the crash cymbal instead of the hi-hat, I honestly don’t mind it that much, it works, and on the whole his drumming is a lot more creative than… well since ever actually. The guitars are sufficiently metal, more Black Sabbath stoner-metal than abrasive thrash metal, but given that The View is about half the tempo of most Metallica songs its fairly understandable. The point is that Metallica actually sound good here.

I find it somewhat bemusing but on the whole unsurprising that most fans have responded negatively to the song; dislikes outweight likes 2:1 (along with the typical inane youtube comments). Sure, six minutes of slow grinding with Lou Reed’s trademark dead-pan spoken word delivery isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s done well here. It’s not exactly Velvet Underground, but it’s very Lou Reed. The gothic lyrics, “I am the truth, the beauty, they’re causing you to cross your sacred boundaries… I have no morals, I’m thinly cheap, and someone who despises the normalcy of heartbreak, the purity of love, but I worship the young” would be the stuff of pure pretension if not performed by someone with such authority as Reed. As such however, it all works. Whether the concept will translate over an entire album, I’m less sure.

It’s easy to see how Reed’s running the show here, but Metallica are surprisingly adept at stepping into the background. James Hetfield still gets a few vocals, and on the whole they work, and at some points it doesn’t really seem that dissimilar to Metallica’s older work. Both performers still sound fresh despite age. Who knows, if the album itself is a success one way or the other perhaps we’ll see more bands embarking upon this formula of collaboration.

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