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Metallica and Philosophy: A Crash Course in Brain Surgery Paperback – April 13, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (April 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405163488
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405163484
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The most elucidative dissertation on Metallica ever written. And a kick-ass read to boot!!!”
Scott Ian, guitarist for Anthrax<!--end-->

“Like philosophy itself, Metallica’s music can scare the uninitiated, who fear their brains will hurt. This book makes both philosophy and Metallica accessible to the curious while deepening the experience of those already in the know.”
Theodore Gracyk, author of Rhythm and Noise and Listening to Popular Music

Metallica and Philosophy is, at long last, the book which finally gives everyone’s favorite headbangers due credit for being intelligent, questioning, and even cerebral.”
Joel McIver, author of Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica

“Not just heavy metal, not just rock n’ roll, not just angst or anger or conceptual analysis, but a monster in a category of its own that shows us something dangerous about ourselves and our post-industrial culture.”
Dale Jacquette, Pennsylvania State University

"Intellectual snobs and proud low-brows alike may dismiss this as a joke- though obviously not respected academic publishers Blackwell ... as an introduction to some of the major schools of thought, it is no less worthy than popular books like Sophie's World that have also sought to bring philosophy to the mass market."
Tommy Udo, Metal Hammer

A “provocative study” on one of metal’s greatest bands, this paperback examines the connection between Metallica and highly regarded philosophers like Aristotle and Nietzsche, and “uses themes in Metallica’s work to illuminate topics such as death, metaphysics, epistemology, the mind-body problem, morality, justice and what we owe one another.” Edited by a college professor, chapters include “Alcoholica: When Sweet Amber Becomes The Master Of Puppets,” “To Live and Die: Metallica and The Meaning Of Life” and “Boys Interrupted: The Drama Of Male Bonding In Some Kind Of Monster.”
Metal Edge Magazine

Book Description

Hit the lights and jump in the fire, you're about to enter the School of Rock! Today's lecture will be a crash course in brain surgery. This hard and fast lesson is taught by instructors who graduated from the old school-they actually paid $5.98 for The $5.98 EP. But back before these philosophy professors cut their hair, they were lieutenants in the Metal Militia. Metallica is the "thinking man's" metal band and the headbanger's CNN. Snobs and music critics have often dismissed Metallica as mindless noise; we're here to set the record straight. "In pursuit of truth no matter where it lies," this book considers questions that philosophers have been pondering for ages, including: Does Metallica's music provide an Aristotelian catharsis or does it just make kids go postal? Can "Fade to Black" save you from suicide? Are we all in the "Sanitarium"? How can we "Escape" to be free? What can Nietzsche tell us about the God That Failed? What can Descartes and "One" tell us about the relationship between the mind and the body? Did Lars make a sound argument against Napster? Metallica is more than just a band, and this book is much more than just a ticket to ride down memory lane. This is an in-depth analysis of the soundtrack to your life. So start your CD player, fire up your iPod, or, better yet, break out the old vinyl. We're going' for a ride with the four horsemen, and a few philosophers too.

More About the Author

William Irwin is professor of Philosophy at King's college, Pennsylvania. Irwin's first book, Intentionalist Interpretation: A Philosophical Explanation and Defense (1999), was nominated for the American Philosophical Association Young Scholar's Book Prize. Irwin is best known for having originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books with Seinfeld and Philosophy (1999), The Simpsons and Philosophy (2001), and The Matrix and Philosophy (2002). He was editor of these books and then General Editor of the Popular Culture and Philosophy Series through Open Court Publishing. In 2006, Irwin left Open Court to become the General Editor of The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, which includes Metallica and Philosophy (2007)and Black Sabbath and Philosophy (2012), among other volumes. Irwin first theorized the philosophy and pop culture genre in his article "Philosophy as/and/of Popular Culture" in Irwin and Gracia eds. Philosophy and the Interpretation of Popular Culture (2006).

Customer Reviews

I had 4 days to finish it, what pressure!
Mylissa Graves
This book was an enjoyable read and helped me realize important things about myself and the music that I love.
The Great Guldna
Good book, but sometimes a bit difficult to understand at least to me.
kewo69

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By The Great Guldna on June 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
I started listening to Metallica in my teens shortly after the release of RTL. I even quoted Motorbreath in my high school yearbook. At the time listening to Metallica and "acting like a maniac" is what came natural to me. Who would have ever thought I was such an existentialist?

I always felt a deep connection to their music, but at that time I didn't even know what philospohy really meant. Metallica's lyrics provoked my thoughts and the raw power of their music just always felt right to me. So if you were like me ,you didn't get into Metallica to be philosophical. That's not what we were about.

I first picked up this book hoping that philosopy would validate the music of my youth. But as I got into it I soon remembered that I didn't listen to Metallica for anyone's approval. Back in the day I could care less what "other people thought" about most things. And in the end I realized that it's not Philosphy that validates the music. Metallica's lyrics, their music, and most importantly their fans are what validate Philosophy. Somehow I think we knew that all along.

This book was an enjoyable read and helped me realize important things about myself and the music that I love. If you're story is similiar to mine, go ahead and "Jump in the Fire". You want be disappointed with this book.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mylissa Graves on June 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
I was given this book by the Editor Bill Irwin & had A Crash Course in reading it! I had 4 days to finish it, what pressure! This books contains 20 essays from 20 different perspectives & although I did not agree w/ some of them I agreed w/ most especially the essay by Rachel Sotos, you will have to buy the book to read her essay, but I related to what she had to say.

The premise of the book is taking the lyrics of Metallica's songs & trying to portray what Jaymz Hetfield was feeling/thinking when he wrote them & analyzing what it all means. This book is meant to get you thinking & to open your mind. They touch on all of Metallica's albums including St. Anger, which is not a favorite among many including me, but reading the lyrics & the analagy makes me think that I should give St. Anger yet another listen to find my own analagy.

This was a great book & I suggest everyone to read it whether you are a Metal Head or not! Metallica fans will LOVE this!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Diogomor on November 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very insightful. It sheds a brand new light on the lyrics and the inspirations for Metallica's songs. The book elevates the band to a truly iconic status.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David E. Savastano on September 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've always considered Metallica to be a "thinking person's" band. Yes, the power of the music is a cut above, but the lyrics go deeper than do those of most other groups. This book reinforces that belief. It is intelligently written by experts in the field who are obviously Metallica fans. The entire concept of relating philosophy to popular culture is great. Plan on reading others as well, and would like to see books on Rush and Pink Floyd & Philosophy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lexi on August 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this as a birthday present for my boyfriend as he has been wanting to read this book for a while and he doesn't read very many books, not to mention it's by Metallica and they are one of his favorite bands. I can happily say that he read it within a few days and keeps reading bits of it every so often and fully enjoyed it. I'm glad that I made the purchase.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Peever on August 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
The best essays in this book have a kind of synergy going on between Metallica songs and philosophy, in which both are made more clear with reference to the other. (By the way, the authors quote song lyrics extensively, and if you are not used to that kind of thing in academic papers, it might take you two or three essays before you get a decent feel for it.) I would say those best chapters are 4 through 9 or so, but maybe it's just that I am a fan of existentialism. Some of the worst chapters read like they are a chapter of a book titled something like "Philosophy For Metal Heads," where some concept in philosophy is illustrated with reference to Metallica lyrics--I would rate these as the worst of the book, at least insofar as they are the least interesting. Chapter 14 is one of them. And there are no less than three chapters that talk about Kant's categorical imperative.

Judith Grant's "Boys Interrupted" is a welcome surprise in the book, analyzing the homosocial dynamics of Metallica, and explaining why rock music is such a boys' club. I was not expecting anything from a feminist perspective, and I found it refreshing.

Chapters 15 and 20 are possibly the most disappointing, because they take a potentially interesting issue, and do not go interesting places with it. Chapter 15 is about the song "One" and Descartes's mind-body problem, and was going in a direction of illustrating how mind and body are so interlinked because you could go crazy without your body... but it doesn't go there. It is just, "Here is a song about a mind without a body. Descartes talked about that, too.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Lucas on December 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a Metallica fan, and you like to think about things, you will like this book. It contains very thought provoking material about most of Metallica's work and personal lives. Some of it requires very deep thinking.
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