Monday, May 19, 2014

Metallica's Through The Never is something to watch, not so much Green Day's Broadway Idiot

An angry Metallica fan
I was never a very big fan of Metallica. I liked their song One (I think I was 13 when it came out?), the video was crazy and disturbing, but as far as I was concerned they didn’t make any more songs until Enter Sandman, and that was okay but still not enough to make me buy a CD. Then I heard their S&M album with the orchestra, I bought the double CD and loved every single song on there. I had a friend who lent me Load and Reload and I liked both of those albums enough to never give them back to my friend and still have them today (yeah I was stealing music before it was cool).

            I never really gave Metallica much thought once I got tired of listening to S&M until I saw the preview for Through the Never. I wasn’t about to shell out money for an Imax 3D movie of Metallica in concert, but the fact that there seemed to be a plot with action and events going on outside of the concert was interesting and appealing.

            I’m a fan of LCD Soundsystem so I checked out Shut Up and Play the Hits – streaming now on Netflix – which was a concert show but also follows things leading up to the concert, and I could not get into it at all. I like the music but man I just did not care about anything going on with the guy trying to put the whole thing together. I watched some of the songs, and the concert looked cool. I watched the concert parts with my kids and they enjoyed the music too, which was cool, but the rest of it all just seemed like such a vanity project. I’m the sure the LCD Soundsystem guy is nice and all but to me during the documentary he came off as vain as fuck.

            I digress . . .

            The reason I liked Through the Never more than a usual concert film was because of the scenes without the band, the scenes where we follow the kid on the errand and the events he goes through to complete his task, it was kind of like one giant music video for some of their most popular songs. It’s hard to put a label on exactly what Through the Never is, and I kind of like that.

            I don’t see Metallica getting any new fans from Through the Never, but people who are big fans or even those who don’t mind them, will probably enjoy it. I’ll be honest, I was surprised I watched the whole thing, it just really wasn’t my thing, but every time I started to feel that the concert was being shown too much and it was starting to get old, they’d cut to the movie part, or – as happened about halfway through the movie – the concert footage itself began to get exciting. The props; lighting and a statue, began to fall apart during the concert so that even the band themselves got into the acting bit while things began to fall down around them and a crew member engulfed in flame started running around.

            My wife sat down and watched maybe a song’s worth. She watched some concert and then the kid on the errand and asked me if it was supposed to be like The Wall? I told her there’s no way anyone would try to be like The Wall. Then what is it, she asked, and I couldn’t answer her. A concert film, a music video, a musical (no)? My wife is so hung up on labels!

            Seriously, though, I don’t know what it is, but I liked it. I really liked it. It was all just pretty cool.

The same cannot be said for Broadway Idiot.

            To be fair, Broadway Idiot is about Broadway and not Green Day, and I understand that, but still it is about Green Day’s music – specifically American Idiot, an album that I think is very good, even almost 10 years later it’s still a pretty awesome album. It is sort of Green Day’s The Wall, a concept album of social as well as political importance that is still relevant today.

            Unlike Metallica, I did buy Green Day’s albums. I bought their CD Dookie when I saw the video for Basketcase one morning on MTV (that was roughly 20 years ago) and listened to the crap out of the songs Basketcase and Longview, but the other songs weren’t for me. I didn’t buy another one of their albums until Nimrod when I heard the Nice Guys Finish Last song that was pretty popular at the time. That was ’97 and for whatever reason I freaking loved every single song on that album. Seriously, I had them memorized and would listen and sing / yell along with them in my car or around the house when my roommates were gone or we were having a party. I remember when the Good Riddance song was released and so popular and I couldn’t help but laugh at the idea of all these people guying Nimrod for that one song and finding out that the entire album is pretty much the complete opposite as that one song.

            I’ll say that’s about when Green Day started to change, their mainstream popularity did not sit well with most of their die hard fans, but I didn’t care. I just liked the music. Warning was an album I wasn’t even aware of until I heard it on NPR one night and I bought that album and though a bit tamer than Nimrod (they still haven’t been able to catch the previous fury of Nimrod) it was still good.

            American Idiot was a return to form for the band, and though it was an angry album and perfect in tone, it still lacked the passion of Nimrod, but it was still a great album. A concept album from a group that took everyone by surprise, mixing the mainstream popularity of Good Riddance style songs and the angst of Warning, the album was easily accessible for non-fans with a hint of their glory day punk rock for the faithful fans.

            Now American Idiot on Broadway? Nope, not for me. I can see how theater kids would dig the show, and this documentary, but for Green Day fans – don’t bother, even mild Green Day fans – don’t bother, these are not the same guys from years past. Sure they’re older and wiser (I assume), but then so is Metallica, much older actually, and they even teamed up with a symphony and fucking killed it.

            So Broadway Idiot has pretty much no music, and the great majority of the singing is from the Broadway cast – which just did not work for me. Seeing American Idiot acted out and performed is like seeing a book you have enjoyed being turned into a movie. None of it is how you pictured it in your head; in fact it’s pretty bad compared to what you imagined.

            I listen to Spotify while at work and because I’m on the computer all day I listen to a shit-ton of music. After Through the Never I checked out some Metallica and found that I still cannot get into their earlier stuff except for a few of their songs, their later stuff, however, I still enjoy. Load, Reload, St. Anger I could listen to all day while at work, their Death Magnetic not so much.

            The opposite goes for Green Day; Nimrod, Warning, and American Idiot (and to a small degree 21st Century Breakdown but to be fair I don’t think I’ve listened to the whole album yet) are albums I could listen to all day, but their new stuff Uno, Dos, and Tre, are horrible, and unless they come up with an album that – I would suggest – leans more away from the mainstream and more towards their roots, I don’t think they’ll be able to pull themselves out of the downward spiral they’re in.

            Metallica is still doing the same kind of music, and to me, for whatever reason, it doesn’t feel like old men clinging to their past or anything negative. To me they’re still cool and still playing good heavy metal music. Green Day on the other hand, after watching Broadway Idiot and seeing the lead singer guy acting on Broadway, just seems like they’re moving forward and leaving more and more of what they used to be in the rear view mirror – which is fine, I’m cool with that, but don’t do that and then release albums that try to capture the past glory because you will fail.

            Accept your decision, your direction, and go with it, don’t go one way and then try to go another, you’ll waste your energy and my time – and my time is money baby!

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