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Music Monday Major Key — “Nothing Else Majeur” By Metallica (Sorta)

Posted by KingShamus on January 28, 2013

If you know the original version of the song, be prepared to get mildly weirded out.

Played in a minor key, “Nothing Else Matters” is a brooding ‘us against the world’  manifesto.  “Nothing Else Majeur” is relentlessly cheerful.  James Hetfield isn’t a grizzled road dog but a giddy school boy joyously expressing how much he digs his chick.

Metallica’s self-titled black album, where “Nothing Else Matters” first appeared, was a polarizing affair back in the day.  The dedicated metal-heads who made Metallica a platinum-selling act despite a complete lack of media exposure were annoyed by the group’s bid for mainstream success.  Outside of the thrash underground, millions of fans were stoked by the Black Album’s straight-ahead riffs and Hetfield’s arena-god menace.  Depending on musical taste, Metallica’s self-titled disc was either the end of a great band or the beginning of a string of successful grunge albums.

“Nothing Else Majeur” makes that fan dichotomy even more pronounced, which is kinda hard to believe.

I don’t understand the process of changing the key of a song, but no matter how it’s done this is pretty wild.  Even though I’m not a fan of “Matters”, “Majeur” throws off listener expectations in a goofy yet satisfyingly mind-warping way.  You’ve heard the song a million times, but throw in a key change and it goes from an old radio chestnut into something else entirely.  It’s kinda like taking a longer slightly more complicated ride home from work.  You still arrive at your destination, but you can’t just put your brain on auto-pilot to get there.

I snagged this from the Metal Sucks site.

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One Response to “Music Monday Major Key — “Nothing Else Majeur” By Metallica (Sorta)”

  1. I admit: the video is pretty cool.

    I’m not good enough to describe key changes easily without getting into tonic notes, accidentals, triads and the like. Whether you meant to or not, you already pretty much nailed it in your post when you highlighted the difference between the original piece and this one.

    Basically, minor keys usually give more of a sense of foreboding, which is why most of your horror movie music is in minor keys. Major keys are usually happier-sounding and feel more upbeat.

    Was a huge fan of most groups back in the day (you’d need me on your “80’s-rock-trivia” team, I promise), but never really cared for Metallica. They were always talented, though.
    I just preferred a singer who could actually, well, …sing, rather than Hetfield’s growly rasping.

    Good stuff, King; thanks for posting…

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