All of the above are from artists that remain active either currently on tour, or prepping for one
On Friday, we gave you five albums which should be played in full. Here’s five more to round out the list at 10.
Metallica – …And Justice for All
Never has a transitional period of an artist’s career been so positively volatile. There were hardly words to describe the brutality of Justice when it was released. “Epic” is probably the best though, especially in retrospect. Here was one of the biggest underground metal bands still reeling from the tragic loss of its bass player, Cliff Burton, who died when the band’s bus tipped over on a European tour.
The level of anger and aggression on the album is unreal. New bassist Jason Newsted would have been better off not even showing up for the recording sessions, as the bass is virtually non-existent - at least sonically. There’s nothing but slicing riff after riff, singer James Hetfield growls out his frustration at life alongside the most punishing Lars Ulrich drumbeats imaginable.
Just two songs check in under five minutes, the rest are the lengthiest the band has ever done; two come close to the 10-minute mark. That’s also why some of the tracks haven’t ever been performed live, as guitarist Kirk Hammett noted when he said that he didn’t want to see fans “dozing off” during the tour that showcased the salvos.
The next album, dubbed The Black Album, ushered in the Bob Rock era, a relationship with the renowned producer that lasted more than a decade and delivered such radio friendly hits as “Enter Sandman” and “King Nothing.”
But that period when Metallica still belonged to the underground, arguably at its pinnacle, is what should be reinforced in the hard-rock community.
Kiss – Destroyer
Call them “cartoon rock,” call them a fake band, keep them out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but the truth is, Kiss has put out some pretty good songs over the years. Beyond the most well-known hit this side of “Rock and Roll All Nite,” the weepy ballad “Beth” isn’t the sole standout on Destroyer, the whole record is.
Producer extraordinaire Bob Ezrin directed the band to hands-down its best work, and ended up with the hits “Shout it Out Loud,“ “Detroit Rock City” and the fire-breathing spectacular of Gene Simmons’ “God of Thunder.”
Kiss might never get the respect its fans crave, what with the marketing of everything from coffeehouses to coffins bearing its logo, but Destroyer makes a very convincing case for legend status.
The Black Crowes – The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion
Tempting as it is to pick the Robinson brothers and Co.’s debut, Shake Your Moneymaker, this follow-up effort proved that there would be no sophomore slump from the Atlanta collective.
What makes The Southern Harmony so great is that all the Stonesy characteristics that brought the band its initial kudos from a music-listening public desperate for a second coming of bluesy, attitude-heavy rock and roll are still in place. “Remedy,” “Hotel Illness” and “Sting Me” lead with the six string first and ask questions later. And for the “She Talks to Angels” lovers, the hit ballad from Shake Your Moneymaker, there’s the positively Beatlesque “Thorn in My Pride.”
But there’s something bigger going on here, too. Four songs in, the band checks out for six and a half minutes of “Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye,” not only a bold move, but one that had critics and fans asking, “Is this the next Aerosmith or Allman Brothers.”
In the end, it would be closer to the latter. Now, as The Crowes gear up for a quasi-farewell tour that is going to feature and acoustic and electric set, it would be the perfect time to deliver this retro-sounding classic in a full-length context.
Soundgarden – Badmotorfinger
Yeah, yeah, the band just announced its reunion after a 13-year layoff and hasn’t even played an official show under its name, so we’ll give them a little bit to bring out all the hit songs.
But after everyone gets comfortable with the grunge masters being back on the scene, why not play what is a big mound of Seattle sludge, guitar riffs and caterwauling courtesy of Chris Cornell, who shreds his vocal chords to no end on songs like “Outshined,” “Rusty Cage” and “Slaves & Bulldozers.”
The Killers – Hot Fuss
The youngest band on the list with only a few albums out started off as an outfit everyone assumed was from the U.K., including the Brits themselves, who embraced The Killers long before anyone in America had even heard “Mr. Brightside.”
But when Hot Fuss was released on these shores, the music world was smitten with the keyboards blending with the guitars and the nervous energy behind singer Brandon Flowers’ delivery on instant anthems like “Somebody Told Me,” “Smile Like You Mean It” and “All These Things That I’ve Done.”
Currently, Flowers is up to no good working on a solo album while the rest of the group sits on the shelf. Maybe it was too much pressure or attention too soon, but when The Killers eventually pull it back together, it should be with a marveling at what was accomplished with Hot Fuss. There isn’t a weak song to be found, so dial it back up and remember from where the fame stemmed.
What do you think? Is there an artist out there who should be playing a work in its original framing? Leave your thoughts in the comments and let your voice be heard.