Lars Ulrich Names the Metallica Song He Never Wants to Hear Again
To some, it may come as a surprise that Ulrich singled out one song off the band's 1988 album, ...And Justice for All. The record saw Metallica strive for complexity as they matured into songwriters capable of integrating off-kilter tempo changes and nuanced structures. With that aim, perhaps Ulrich's explanation for stating that "Eye of the Beholder" is the one Metallica song we would like to never hear again.
"There's a song called 'Eye Of The Beholder' on the '…[And] Justice [For All]' album. Wherever I hear that song, it sounds kind of like — I guess we don't want to be super-disrespectful to it — but it sounds really forced," confessed Ulrich.
"It sounds like you put a square peg in a round hole," the drummer went on, griping, "It sounds like it's got two different tempos. There's kind of a 4/4 feel in the intro and on the verses, and then I think the choruses are more like in a waltz tempo. It literally sounds like two different worlds rubbing up against each other. It sounds very awkward to me. I'm not a huge fan of that song." "I guess the asterisk is that, to me, we did the best we could each moment. So of course, sometimes you sit down and go 'Huh?' or 'That could have been better' or 'That was a little awkward' or 'That feels a little silly or easy' or 'That feels over-thought-out' or whatever," he explained.
It's not often he gets caught in those situations, however, as Ulrich doesn't occupy a lot of his time by listening to Metallica. "It goes back to that whole thing about the past is the past, and I don't spend a long time back there," admitted Ulrich, "and there's not really much I can do about it [laughs] and honestly, I don't listen to them. I don't listen to a lot of Metallica music."
The Metallica drummer has long philosophized about the very nature of art, so it's only natural that he gets caught up in dissecting his own music. "Part of it is because I'm sort of overly analytical. It's basically almost impossible for me to listen to a Metallica song without going, 'Okay, how are the sonics, how's the mix, how does the guitar sound? The vocals are too loud, the bass is too boomy.' It becomes this exercise in analytics," bemoaned Ulrich.
For him, it's just a different experience turning on someone else's music versus his own, as he said, "When you hear your favorite band — like if I listened to Rage Against the Machine or something, I just fucking let myself go. But when Metallica comes on it's like, 'Huh?'"
Although he may not often listen to Metallica, Ulrich had no choice but to dig in as the band prepared to launch their S&M2 live album and film, which came out Aug. 28 and beat pop star Katy Perry for the highest-selling album debut that week. In listening back to "The Unforgiven III," which featured just the symphony orchestra and James Hetfield singing, Ulrich was blown away and called it "absolutely incredible" as he commended the frontman for executing so well in such a vulnerable moment.
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