Saturday, August 05, 2006

Because Your Baby Isn't Metal Enough

Just when you think you've seen every specialty version of a popular band's music, another always seems to turn up.  Many platinum-selling acts, including My Chemical Romance and Hawthorne Heights, already have string quartet tribute albums.  (I believe the Arctic Monkeys do as well, though they aren't as big Stateside as in Britain.)  But these acts all have a lot of catching up to do to Metallica, both in terms of sales and in bizarre tribute albums.

Let's see here: the public already has Fade to Bluegrass, a Metallica tribute recorded by, yes, you guessed it, bluegrass musicians.  The string quartet thing was already outdone by the full live band and orchestra of S&M, so there's no reason to go there at this point.  The only logical solution left to tribute hounds would be...a collection of lullabies?!?

No, I'm not making this up. There's even 30-second sample clips at the link. From what I've heard, the album will be very soothing; that is, it will be if you don't pay attention to how creepy it is. The idea of turning "Enter Sandman" into a lullaby is especially freakish when you consider the original's polar opposite lyrical content. "One" (about a landmine casualty robbed of his senses and limbs), "Fade to Black" (about suicide), and several other modern classics are featured here in a form your baby will love. In other news, I should never work in PR.

The CD, which releases August 29th, does have three major things going for it. For one, it theoretically could be used for its intended purpose. You shouldn't have to worry about creeping out your kids until they get older and hear the originals, because the lullabies are strictly instrumental. Secondly, it has the Metallica name and will therefore sell; even more traditional fans might be interested, as the samples I heard are musically identical to the source material. It actually sounds more like an ambient movie soundtrack than anything in this format, and the songs still sound just dissonant and minor-key enough to be worth a grown music fan's time. Admit it, you're curious to see if "Battery" could possibly be soothing to a small child. Finally, none of the album tracks were pulled from anything Metallica did after the zillion-selling Black Album, which the cover spoofs.

Only one problem with this whole thing, though: the metal-to-lullabye floodgates are wide open now. Yes, these bands have recorded songs that were supposed to be very surreal or horrific takes on lullabies (refer back to "Enter Sandman" again for the shining example), but this is a new frontier. I don't see it catching on, but it would be hilarious to see metal artists performing lullabies, as opposed to lullaby artists performing metal. Just try to imagine "Rock-A-Bye Baby" as recorded by Ronnie James Dio.

[By the way, if you don't know who Dio is, you're probably not a Black Sabbath/80's metal/Tenacious D fan. And if you're in college and not at least one of the three, you might want to take Bob Marley off repeat. -Ed.]

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