Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.


Happy 20th Birthday, ...And Justice for All

The setting: Southern California, 2001.

The characters: Your heroine, Carlie, and her coworker, Jane.

The scene: Two librarians are in a car driving from central Orange County to Glendale for a workshop, with Jane at the wheel because your heroine hates to drive. Takes an hour or so, depending on the traffic.

Jane: (hands Carlie a case of CDs) Here, you can pick anything you want to listen to out of these, or we can put the radio on. What kind of music do you like, anyway?

Carlie: Mostly classic rock and hard rock. You know, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Yes, Nirvana, the Stones, Metallica, AC/DC, the Chili Peppers...

(incredulous) YOU? And your blonde hair? Listen to classic rock? You are the last person I would have ever expected to listen to classic rock.

(incredulous at Jane's incredulity) Of course I listen to classic rock. What else would I listen to?

It's true. I might be blonde and love my sweaters but look through my CD collection and you'll find many bands that haven't made music since 1994. When I was in junior high I stayed up late on Saturday nights, glued to MTV, watching the Headbangers Ball and singing along (much to my father's dismay). My sister occasionally watched with me and lit a torch for Alice Cooper that she still carries to this day. It was through Headbanger's Ball that I discovered bands like the Scorpions and as I continued my percussion studies my teachers and fellow musicians introduced me to Dream Theater, Led Zeppelin, and more. Back to the original topic, Headbanger's Ball was I first heard my all-time favorite Metallica song, "One," from their September 6, 1988 multiplatinum release ...And Justice for All.

...And Justice for All is still considered one of Metallica's best, if not their most ambitious, albums. It was the last album they made with bassist Cliff Burton before he was killed in a bus accident (editing: This is not the case; Burton died in 1986 and I had the dates mixed up), and the first album from which they made a video. "One" is based on Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun and the video is spliced with scenes and dialogue from the movie of the same name. In my rock obsession, I even supplied my tenth-grade history teacher with a tape of "One" as part of an assignment on WWI. (I think I got an A on the project, too.) My fascination with "One" led to my buying and listening to more Metallica through my high school years. In fact, I remember dating a fellow Metallica fan and spending a date watching the live footage in their box set. I fell out of love for them for a while around the time of the release of St. Anger in 2003, but when I started watching Supernatural I went back to them. I'm rediscovering the virtues of blasting "Enter Sandman" during my evening commute and I just bought tickets to see them in February at the Prudential Center. I've ordered their September 12 release, Death Magnetic, and am looking forward to it. The songs they've released, "The Day That Never Comes" and "Cyanide," are pretty good. Or at least I think so.

In celebration of this anniversary, the front page of YouTube today is all Metallica-related. Featured videos include a string quartet playing Nothing Else Matters and Whiplash as performed by Legos. Check it out.

Metallica never made a video for my second-favorite song of theirs, "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" from their 1986 release Master of Puppets, but as my contribution to the YouTube celebration, here's a video made by user Leadheadclone, which mixes evocative still images with shots of Metallica playing live.

Honestly, I think if the guys in Metallica ever see this entry they'll be completely mortified. Librarians who drive little Japanese cars and shop at J. Crew are not supposed to be Metallica fans. I won't tell if you don't, though.

Links to read:

Metallica: Still Heavy After All These Years
Mozart and Metallica fans kindred spirts: research (personally, I'm outgoing, but I don't like Mozart, either)
Review of Death Magnetic


  • At 8:53 AM, Blogger Michael said…

    should check the facts on Metallica... Cliff Burton died in Sept 1986, 2 years before Justice was composed; he did not contribute to it. Although, they did include a poem of his in "To Live is to Die". Justice has no traditional bass line - it's essentially just a double of the guitar.

  • At 3:14 PM, Blogger Carlie Webber said…

    Oh, boo to me! For some reason I had it in my head that he did ...And Justice for all. My bad! Thanks for pointing this out, and I'll edit the post.

  • At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I feel very old now. Master of Puppets is my favorite Metallica album.


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