MetallicaDeath Maganetic***With the current thrash revival showing no signs of abating, it’s only right that Metallica take a stab at a real comeback.
Forget St. Anger. Forget Load. Forget Reload. Forget the years 1990-2007.
Metallica have finally done it–Death Magnetic is actually, gasp, good.
It is not, however, perfect. But that wasn’t really possible anyway.
While it’s nice to see Kirk Hammett playing his ripping leads again, and it’s nice to hear real metal, not half-assed “hard rock,” the days of Metallica ruling thrash metal can never be retrieved. There have been far too many midget temper tantrums from Lars Ulrich, far too many bad albums, and one too many documentaries about the band and their therapist.
What Death Magnetic does give us is new Metallica doing their best impression of old Metallica, which is all anyone ever really wanted anyway.
Most of the songs hover around eight minutes. There are awesome solos, full of pure shred and the lyrics are, as usual, pretty stupid. But at least James Hetfield sounds pissed off again. The bone-dry, ultra-compressed production by Rick Rubin is problematic, but not to the point where the album is unlistenable.
So what we have here is something most metalheads thought they would never see: It’s OK to like Metallica again. With any luck this will be their last album.-Ed Johnson
MursMurs for President****Can we agree at this point that gangster rap has run its course? Yes? Okay, good. Now that we’re done with that particular five-year “incident,” I’m glad to say that the return to hip-hop’s border-pushing roots has begun and leading the swaggering charge is Los Angeles-area rapper Murs.
On Murs for President, the eponymous MC maintains an ever-present dedication to his own bizarre style, and this willingness to color outside the lines is exactly what sets Murs apart. Despite the requisite dose of ego (he does nominate himself for president in his album title), Murs uses his major-label debut to go in directions that don’t get much spotlight in the big leagues.
When he sings “Zen tight patience got me sittin’ here waitin’/On the day when it’s okay to love,” it’s neither cheesy nor insincere, and Murs for President offers up at least one such illuminating moment for each of its 15 tracks.
As an artist making the transition out of the underground and into commercial viability, it was entirely possible for Murs to water down his persistently strange persona, but even with guest spots from the likes of will.i.am and Snoop Dogg he remains one the most forward-thinking MCs in modern hip-hop, and with any luck the genre will follow in his inspired footsteps.-Shane Danaher
G-UnitT.O.S. (Terminate On Site)0.5 stars
G-Unit’s terrible new album, TOS: Terminate On Site, is a piece of shit.
The title song has Fiddy, Banks, Buck and Yayo baselessly threatening their listeners by going into the variety of ways they plan to fuck you up. The whole song is about murdering anyone who stands in their way, no specifics given. So watch out. If you accidentally put mustard on Fiddy’s Big Mac, he will fuck you up. And not just harm you, but probably torture you, and then kill you. No irritant is too small for the Unit; you cross any of them, you die.
The entire album is devoted to open threats towards the police, drug use, abuse, and sales, and fucking hoes (or bitches, depends who’s singing). Don’t let the song “Piano Man” fool you, it is not, in fact, a hip-hop cover of Billy Joel’s classic pop song. Fiddy explains that he moves keys, and that they call him the Piano Man. Yeah, you can figure that out. Although I would’ve figured given the absurd fame and ridiculous amount of money Fiddy and the rest purport to make off of their platinum-selling albums, they wouldn’t need to continue pushing blow.
But I guess the music biz just isn’t what it used to be.
As Trent Reznor might put it, the jewel on this “crown of shit” is “Kitty Kat,” where the chorus has a supposedly female singer explaining, “Owww, I need cash for my kitty kat,” to which Tony Yayo replies, “Well girl I get pussy for free, I’m hittin’ that.”
Damn, an album about drugs, sex and killing those who would fuck with you. That’s new. I’ve got an idea G-Unit: Stop making albums.-Jeff Hammond