When I was young, my identity was governed by whatever I was listening to at the time. Some people are defined by the sports they play or the jobs they have. For me, it was the music.
When I was 14, I secretly bought Metallica’s Ride the Lightning for no reason other than the album cover looked dangerous. To me, Ride the Lightning marked a one of my first major departures from my parent’s influence. It was transgressive in that way metal is supposed to be. In a way I didn’t know music could be. In a way I didn’t know people could be.
And so, after browsing the personality store for what felt like an eternity to a 14-year old, I decided to buy Metallica.
Cut to one year later.
I’m sitting at a bus-stop, tiny rebellious holes in my jeans and hair long enough to say to the world, “I want to be metal, but my parents won’t let me” loading my super cool waterproof yellow Walkman with a copy of Faith No More’s Angel Dust for the first time.
If there was a sonic equivalent of how I felt as a human — a mix of quirk and self-serious melodrama stuck in limbo searching for something to be angry about — it was Mike Patton’s voice. It instantly made Metallica (and by extension, me) feel dated and predictable.
I’ve absorbed 20 years of music since first hearing Faith No More, but they still manage to swoop in when I think I have it all figured out and remind me that I don’t know shit.