I bought a Master Of Puppets reissue a few years back. It was one of those half speed remaster deals; a 45 rpm double album pressing. I’d long sold off my original, single lp copy during the great vinyl purge of the mid-90’s.
I’d just bought my first car, a mint colored Toyota Tercel which I hated but immediately signed the loan papers on. A new job as an insurance salesman seemed promising enough to try out at least part time.
Being on the road was something I was looking very forward to. Countless hours playing music in the car while shuttling from one client to another. I anxiously awaited the days behind the wheel of my new personal space, hardcore stereo time.
So I made the decision to sell off the majority of my record collection.
I used the proceeds to buy cds, which allowed for playing in the Peppermint Thunder. Making real bread, brand new vehicle, and AWESOME new tunes to crank out. Living the dream! The fantasy was that a really hot chick would see me in my car and think I was this cool dude with great taste in music. She’d open the passenger door and jump into the music with me as we drove off together. We would then proceed to get drunk and wind up fucking in the backseat of my Tercel. The afterglow of our synchronized orgasms would have us laying in each others arms afterwards, both silently hoping we’d finally nailed the right one. Of course that never happened but this one time, some hot blondes started dancing when my friends and I cruised by to “Give It Away”; The Peppermint Posse.
The advent of the mp3 made the portability of the cd obsolete, nothing was easier than downloading air onto an ipod. After ten convenient years, the nostalgia of a more immersive experience started reappearing. Fond memories of staring at full size album jackets and singing along with the lyric sheet to “Powerslave”. If I was gonna buy my music, paying for airtunes wasn’t ever gonna cut it. Play your cds and air in the car and buy records for at home, it made sense. Only in hindsight did I realize how much of the experience was lost. The process of making my relationship with music more convenient rendered it less satisfying as well. I wasn’t listening anymore, I was shuffling.
I plugged in my old Sansui amp and dusted off my shitty old turntable, purchased with money earned after school from my telemarketing gig. A decade after the regretful wax purge of ’95, my collection had dwindled down to about 50 pieces. That pile was mostly made up of some personal type stuff like my first lps, combined with albums the local shop wouldn’t even give me a buck for. There was still some good stuff, Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper and my first KISS record! It made for an incredible trip back to a time when I freaked for music but consumed it through more than just my ears. Now in my mid 30’s, I’d seen the entire industry go from vinyl to tape to cd to mp3, and beyond. Many now consume their music through streaming, which just doesn’t connect with me. The size of the Spotify catalog doesn’t appeal to someone who always chose his music by flipping through spines. Physically interacting with the art in question is infinitely more enticing than playlists and algorithm based suggestions. A playlist can’t offer that so I can’t get down with paying for the privilege of a half baked experience. Air was fine for the car but at home, I wasn’t going to cut any corners. My experience had to be as beautifully immersive as possible, I longed for the album covers and lyric sheets of my youth. In fact, a large part of the money I obtained from the great cd purge of 2005 now began going towards reacquiring all those old gems… on vinyl.
When I saw a 45 rpm copy of Master of Puppets, I picked it up immediately. I finally got to play one of my favorite teenage metal albums on vinyl again! Something felt odd about having Puppets spread over a double album but I brought it home anyway and dropped the needle. It felt GREAT to hear Metallica again, on wax! Until side one finished and I immediately started longing for “Sanitarium” to continue the party. Not on this version. I had to get up to flip the record in order to hear side A, part 2. It just felt off. Side 2 was supposed to begin with “Disposable Heroes”, that was part of the experience! The sequence of the songs was not an afterthought. The original canvas for “Master Of Puppets” was presented over 2 sides. Canvas size is an important thing, it is the medium on which the art is presented. The sequence to Dark Side of The Moon wasn’t haphazard, it was part of the artistic process. Even the promise of higher fidelity shouldn’t be fucking with the integrity of the art itself. You don’t blow up the Mona Lisa into a sprawling canvas, the original is the size of a fucking postage stamp!
Puppets didn’t feel right, couldn’t do it. I brought the record back to the shop and exchanged it for something else, content in waiting for a good copy to cross my path. The Blackened pressings supposedly sound shite and I’m not such a huge fan of Rhino pressings, so I’m still waiting for my copy of Puppets to find its way back into my stacks.
I’m patient. There are always other records to keep me busy and the anticipation will only make for a sweeter moment. Original or reissue doesn’t matter to me if the quality is consistent. Let’s see which one comes first.