Metallica and the economy: A winning formula

Abaca Press/MCT:


Abaca Press/MCT:

Crystal Kirk

The country has its panties in a bunch over the possibility of a recession. It seems that everywhere you turn an expert is spouting about the reasons for the nation’s financial troubles. The stock market, rising oil prices and the foreclosure epidemic definitely play a part in the problem.

There has to be something that we are missing. All of the great economic minds of the world are focusing on the predicament that our stellar government has gotten us in. If professional economists cannot figure it out, is there really any hope for the people of the United States?

Sometimes the answer is right under our noses, or maybe our ears. Legendary rock band Metallica came out with a new album on Sept. 10 titled Death Magnetic. The metal group ruled the charts in the beginning of its career, but have fell on some hard times in the last decade.

Do the success of the band’s albums and the success of the American economy go hand-in-hand? Let’s explore.

Before the band formed in the early 1980s. the country was facing major financial setbacks. National productivity was down, interest rates soared and there was a gas crisis in 1970s. Interest rates continued to grow – the prime reached 20 percent in January of 1981.

Metallica’s debut album, Kill ‘Em All, was released in 1983.

In the early 1980s, Ronald Reagan introduced new economic policies that cut federal income tax and inflation dropped as a result.

Metallica continued to rock hard. The band released four albums between 1984 and 1991. This period in U.S. economic history is called the deregulation era. Financially, things were good; Americans were spending money and lots of it.

Then there was a five-year period that brought no new Metallica music. The economy stabilized during the “Clinton years” and there was nothing to complain about.

Metallica returned from its hiatus with the release of Load in 1996 which was quickly followed by ReLoad in 1997.

The late 1990s are known for the soaring stock market and the dot-com boom. Unemployment dropped below 5 percent and the GDP rose by 69 percent in the 1990s.

Then there came the bubble in the stock market and the overvalued tech stock that caused the market to lose 50 to 75 percent of the growth it had caused in the 1990s. The terror attacks of Sept. 11 triggered a recession in the travel industry.

Businesses failed. The American people were re-evaluating the way money should be spent.

Metallica released St. Anger in 2003. Even I will admit that this album sucked. It still reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Music Charts in its first week of release.

The housing market soared and it seemed like everyone owned a home in the new millennium. The prices of real estate went up and up and up. Times were good.

Today, all of the people who probably should not have owned a home don’t. Unemployment continues to grow. Gas prices are at an all-time high. The economy pretty much sucks.

Can Metallica’s record release help the country rise out of this economic crisis like the band has in the past? With all of the speculation going around and bailout plans in the works, I put my money on the power of Metallica’s music.

Rock on.

Crystal Kirk can be reached at [email protected]