My Top 5 Metallica Songs

MY TOP 5 METALLICA SONGS

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Metallica to me is the greatest metal band of all-time. I think the next closest is Iron Maiden.  I was on my way into work today listening to RIDE THE LIGHTNING and it got me thinking about the best stuff Metallica ever did, which then also got me thinking about how they turned into Nickelback-Metallica in the mid-nineties.  From 1994 when the LOAD records came out until 2016 when their latest (and first GOOD album since the Black Album) HARDWIRED….TO SELF DESTRUCT came out, they were pretty awful.  That’s 22 years wasted! (well, okay, DEATH MAGNETIC was a step in the right direction) But I digress….From 1983 until the end of the Black Album tour, they were THE BEST metal band ever.

These are MY Top 5 favorite Metallica songs:

#5 “FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS” (from the album RIDE THE LIGHTNING)

It’s pretty fucking hard to beat that intro. Cliff Burton’s electrifying, distorted bass was the life blood of the band’s first three albums.  To me, when this song comes on at the beginning of the movie, Zombieland, with all the bodies, zombies, and fire are going on, man, this classic never sounded soooo freaking good.

#4 “ONE” (from the album …AND JUSTICE FOR ALL)

I was 10 when this one came out. At that time, my jams were songs from Poison, Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, Kiss, and Alice Cooper–Metallica was my brother’s band. BUT one afternoon when my brother was out, I decided to check out the new cassette he’d purchased. It was friggin’ sonic!  and heavy! And in my fucking face!  And then, the opening notes to “One” started.  The song was so eerie sounding. Hetfield’s vocals were tamed yet wicked.  The lyrics were intense and raw. And then, of course, it got heavy.  I was spellbound. And I rewound the tape and listened to the song over and over again, soaking it in. That’s the afternoon I became a fan.

#3 “MASTER OF PUPPETS” (from the album MASTER OF PUPPETS)

This song is AMAZING. I mean, with all the changes and transitions, it’s a song you have to listen to multiple times just to catch and appreciate everything that’s going on.  And those lyrics! Hetfield is a great lyricist when he wants to be and this tune is proof. Is there a better song about addiction out there?  “Just call my name and I’ll hear you scream…MASTER! MASTER!”  It’s got all these awesome riffs and lyrics, and then it gets to that beautiful slow part with the gorgeous guitar solos, all before it comes crashing down with the freaky screams and laughter at the conclusion of the piece. So dramatic and so full.  Of all their songs, this one probably encapsulates the essence of the band at the peak of its powers.

#2 CREEPING DEATH (from the album RIDE THE LIGHTNING)

This one is very, very close to being #1, I mean by like inches.  Another fantastic intro followed by one of the most ferocious riffs ever, more great lyrics from Hetfield, and that freaking tribal/chant section!  This song is ultra-mega and one I still listen to on a weekly basis. “Die by my hand, I creep across the land, killing first born man…” It is every bit as epic as the story of Moses!  One of the cool things about this one is that Jason Newsted sometimes shared the lead vocal during live shows and he was AWESOME! You could see and hear his love for this band in his delivery and performance. So let it be written, so let it be done…..It’s simply one of the coolest songs in the Metallica catalog.  I will continue to crank this song from the speakers of my minivan until the end of time.

#1 “ENTER SANDMAN” (from the album METALLICA aka THE BLACK ALBUM)

Has this song been overplayed? Of course, but you know what? It still sounds good even if I’ve heard it a billion times.  If you want to argue that it doesn’t belong anywhere near the top of a Metallica song list, you are wrong. Think back to the first time you heard this song.  For those of us old enough, when this song came out in the summer of 1991 (a great fucking summer for hard rock and metal) this song was coming from the Metallica we all knew and loved and it was fucking killer. I mean, that summer we already had “Monkey Business” from Skid Row and “You Could Be Mine” from Guns N’ Roses. How could it get any better? Simple: ENTER SANDMAN.  I remember hearing it as it came on the radio (in my headphones) as we were driving my older sister to her college in Portland. It was creepy, it was heavy, and it was like nothing I’d ever heard before. I had to have that record! I don’t care what you think about it now, but when this song came out, it stopped the hard rock and metal world. You could not deny this beast. There’s a reason it’s been played a bazillion times. Is it a hundred miles an hour metal? No. But it is every bit as sinister and mega as anything they ever put out. It is one of the best songs ever by anyone.

What are your favorites? Feel free to comment below!

2 comments

  1. Tod Clark · July 28, 2019

    5. Four Horsemen
    4. Creeping Death
    3. Seek and Destroy
    2. For Whom The Bell Tolls
    1. Master of Puppets

  2. Michelle Stockard Miller · July 28, 2019

    Love Metallica. Saw them front row in Nashville in 1992. For Whom the Bell Tolls and One are two of my faves. Did you know that One is based on the novel “Johnny Got His Gun” by J. B. Lippincott (which was adapted to film in 1971)? Great book, though tragic.

    I feel old. You were 10 when In Justice For All came out, I was 20. lol I’ll never forget how excited I was when Metallica performed One on the Grammy’s, and they won the Grammy for Best Metal Performance for that song.

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