REVIEW: Metallica – “Mama Said” (1996 CD singles one and two)

Part Two of a two-part “Mama Said” review

METALLICA – “Mama Said” (1996 Vertigo CD singles parts one and two)

In order to get all the songs, you had to buy three separate singles.  You needed the 7″ vinyl (reviewed yesterday) and two CD singles.  The total payoff was seven B-sides:  five live, one demo, one single edit.  The 7″ picture disc included “Ain’t My Bitch” live from Irvine Meadows in ’96, and the rest are on the two CDs each sold separately.

The first single ignites the live feast with “King Nothing”, which finds Metallica in an informal mood before kicking into the track.  Though “King Nothing” was eventually released on its own as the fourth single from Load, it was never really one of the best songs from that album.  It slams heavy enough and would have been fun to mosh to.  They go old school on “Whiplash” which has that energy you want out of live Metallica.  The old fans boo the new fans, but everybody gets what they want.  Lars is sloppy as fuck; what do you expect?  When Metallica play stuff like “Whiplash” live it’s not about precision, it’s about energy and this version delivers.

The first CD ends with just a single edit of “Mama Said”, a good ballad with a country twang that some fans might have found unpalatable.  It’s shorter by 40 seconds, starting immediately with James’ lead vocal.  15 seconds chopped at the start and 20 more at the end.  Do Metallica fans need single edits?  No; Metallica was always resistant to compromises like that.  Paul DeCarli was given the job of the edit, presumably being told to get it safely under five minutes for radio.

“Mama Said” album version (top) and single edit (bottom) waveforms

The second CD in the set wastes no time going for the throat.  It’s “So What”, the infamously vulgar Anti-Nowhere League cover that was a B-side for Metallica once upon a time before.  It was so notorious that it became a live favourite unto itself, often turning up in the encores.  That’s followed by “Creeping Death”, an epic way to cap off the live tracks.  That mountainously heavy rock just never lets up until it gives way to another massive one.

The last and most interesting track among the B-sides is the original “Mama Said” demo recorded solely by James and Lars in Ulrich’s basement.  Electric guitar at first instead of acoustic, but beautiful.  The purity of this version, unadorned as it may be, is the reason to seek it out.  The twangy guitar part is in place, as are the lyrics (not always the case with James’ songs).  Metallica could easily release an album of their demo versions, but they haven’t so you gotta get the singles.

Seek these out.

4/5 stars

20 comments

  1. Mama Said is a great track. Some good stuff on those two Load albums. Never seen these singles before but mind you I Never went looking for them as money was tight back than as we were starting our family.
    Bought the big band releases at the time but this kind of stuff fell by the wayside.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I screwed this up. I should have posted Every Rose Has Its Thorn today. It’s the anniversary. I have it lined up for later. Didn’t look into the dates close enough. Bummer.

      I bought all the Metallica singles — it was a good time, they were expensive but still available.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The only single I have from this era is the one with the Motorhead covers on it. I think it is the “Hero of the Day” one. The joke was on me because they ended up releasing them all on Garage Inc a couple of years later. But only the single has a silly intro by James, so there is that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I still don’t get the hate with Lars’ drumming. He plays with feeling and I love the facial expressions he makes while doing so. I always think of his double bass drum part in “One” because I kept thinking, “how the heck do his feel move that fast?!?!?!” The point being, the stuff Lars does is hard! With the high energy and fast-pace of Metallica songs, people need to praise him for always keeping time during all that craziness! (I say craziness in a good way).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah the facial expressions are a gas! He’s obviously having a good time. Metallica were one of my favourite bands for a long time! I admit that I lost interest a little when Jason left but I am still a fan and I still buy all the albums. I just don’t go crazy collecting the singles and box sets anymore. I can’t afford it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I respect that. Save your money for stuff you really want. Yeah, I got into Metallica a little over a year ago and I like Jason too, but Robert’s funny. Jason got the crowd hyped at gigs, however, and his backing vocals were the best!

        If Lars quit Metallica though, I’d be over the band for sure! Let’s hope he doesn’t leave!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. As far as I am concerned, Metallica is Lars and James (sorry Kirk!) I think those two guys could go indefinitely, but I think Hammett and Trujilo are there to stay. When they hired Rob on, I figured they could go heavier. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie Some Kind of Monster, but I really respect how they hired him. They insisted on giving him a full 1/4 vote in all things Metallica, and they also gave him a million dollars up front to make him feel welcome. WOW. I believe Lars and James to be solid, honourable people.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I agree that Metallica is James and Lars’ band. When I first got into Metallica, Kirk was the last member I learned the name of. I think I learned James then Lars’s name afterwards. I like Kirk though.

          I saw the “Some Kind of Monster” movie actually. They went through a lot of stuff following Jason’s departure. I like how they welcomed Rob with open arms because he really is a nice dude and how often do you hear of a bass player that does the crab walk?!?!

          Like

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