Saturday, June 23, 2007

Questions from Dan Drezner

I had to give a lecture today -- on globalization -- with Dan Drezner and Jacob Levy in the audience. Not the presentation of an academic paper, but rather I was supposed to be instructing them. Ha!

Dan wrote down three questions he wanted me to address, here they are, with my answers:

1. What are the five heavy metal CDs which you like?

Mastodon's *Leviathan* is my current favorite, try also Metallica's *Enter the Sandman* and early Black Sabbath. If you count Led Zeppelin -- and why not -- that's a bunch more right there. Pelican is also a good group.

2. Should we think of cultural critics as a rent-seeking guild?

Rent-seeking yes, guild no. There is plenty of free entry.

3. Has your opinion of TV changed since *In Praise of Commercial Culture*?

Absolutely (some readers will know I was no fan of TV back then; at that time Hill Street Blues was considered a good show, so can you blame me?). It is not just the advent of cable. Smart people simply wish to consume culture in bite-sized chunks, and also on small screens, and this favors quality TV. Right now TV is more interesting than are the movies.


Crampton said...

"Enter the Sandman"?! Two distinct species of WRONG in there. First, it's "Enter Sandman". Second, that was the WORST Metallica album ever. And Zepplin as Metal?! They're great, but they aren't metal.

You're just trolling here, right? Like if I were to post about how Taco Bell is my favourite Mexican food, with Brasa Roha also being excellent?

Flipping my play list over to some proper metal now...Cliff Burton-era Metallica...Sepultura...Maiden...

datacharmer said...

Crampton - That particular Metallica album is not called 'Enter Sandman' at all - actually, it is nameless. Fans and record stores call it either 'Metallica' or 'The Black Album'.(I'm not sure if it was marketed differently in the States, but I doubt it).

'Sam', I strongly recommend you listen to Dream Theater, particularly 'Images and Words' and 'A Change of Seasons' - I have a feeling you'll really like these guys.

Crampton said...

Datacharmer: the album is awful, whether you call it Black, Metallica, "Bob Rock's terrible transformation of Metallica into Motley Crue", "Sandman" (which it sometimes was colloquially called in Canada due to the title track), or anything else.

Anonymous said...

Metallica's best album has got to be 'Master of Puppets' (and the title song is equally as good, having got me into the band in the first place).

I'm surprised there was no mention of Iron Maiden, perhaps they are more Euro-centric. They seem to be the most loved of my economist friends. I would recommend 'Brave New World' as the best of their more recent album, with Blood Brothers being the best song.

Anonymous said...

Previous posters are correct; the Black album is dreadful. Start with "Master of Puppets." Anthrax's "Among The Living" is a good choice too (released at about the same time... in fact, Metallica opened for Anthrax that year).

But IMO, the best intro to metal is AC/DC's Back In Black... which is admittedly not metal, but is a good segue to (for example) early Maiden, which is.

And if you like AC/DC, you'll like Supagroup, which deserves to be much better known than it is. (I blame the name.)

Anonymous said...

Let's just say I'm very pleased that someone mentioned Dream Theater in these comments. I have never heard a band that can be so cheesy yet so heavy. Half the time they make me cringe at their dorkiness and the other half they blow my mind with their virtuosity.

They are an acquired taste, so while datacharmer's recommendations of albums are spot on, the novice might want to begin with one of their newer albums, Train of Thought, since it's mostly just heavy rock and easier to digest.

I would say that if you like Rush you are more likely to enjoy Dream Theater than if you like metal. But I can't back that up with any logical reason.


Payne said...

I'm going to back what most people have said about the Black Album (i.e. that it's an inferior Metallica album, especially compared to "Master of Puppets" and--my personal favorite--"And Justice for All"), but alsoplug both Clutch and Scissorfight as great metal.

Clutch is just a ton of fun in that most of their songs are about monsters, treasure, and how awesome they are. Plus, they have a whole song devoted to making fun of Fred Durst.

Scissorfight is also fun but should also be required listening for any libertarian. One of their relatively famous songs begins "Weed, Guns, and Axes/ We don't pay our taxes." So yeah, they're not fans of the government. The leader singer is named Ironlung because he smokes tons of weed, and he recently completed a masters degree from Boston University in American culture studies, so that lends a sort of hyper-literate quality to hid lyrics.

Anonymous said...

"Clutch is just a ton of fun in that most of their songs are about monsters, treasure, and how awesome they are. Plus, they have a whole song devoted to making fun of Fred Durst."

That is a strong resume.


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