The album that changed things

Twenty years ago, on this very day, I was a 14-year-old chronic masturbator who was into surfing, skating, Cindy Crawford, grunge, and Iron Maiden. I was probably 100 pounds lighter, had only seen actual boobs, in the flesh, a total of once and the rubber bands of my braces were black. Yet, I was not into Metallica. For years, I avoided listening to them. They were too intense, I assumed, for such young ears, especially ones was raised on Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, Led Zeppelin, and Journey.

Twenty years ago today, Metallica issued their self-titled album, often referred to as the Black Album. It was just a few days before my birthday, and up until that day, Metallica were just a band that sold patches to dudes with long, greasy hair. I remember the moment I first heard it the Black Album. My buddy Matt — who was a genuine Metallica fan — got the record the very day it dropped, and I stopped by his house mid-listen. We started from the beginning, and I immediately wanted to hear everything Metallica had ever done.

Without question, the Black Album changed things for Metallica. They went from being an underground metal outfit, shared on cassette tapes between friends, to a national, rock radio sensation: It was “Enter Sandman,” specifically, that changed everything. The Black Album remains the best-selling album of the SoundScan era, having gone platinum twice. I mean, that doesn’t happen anymore.

The Black Album, in short, forever cemented Metallica’s lofty position among the best of rock and rolldom. It brought the band millions of new fans (i.e. Me) and really changes the face of metal to come. Say what you will about everything else Metallica has released since this day 20 years ago: The Black Album still stands up, and is, for most of you reading these lines, an essential memory from your childhood.

Here is one of my favorite tunes of this album. In the comments section below, tell me what track was your joint.

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