Just about everyone has heard Metallica’s Black Album. It is one of the best-selling metal albums of all time. Despite the opinions of thrash metal purists, it is the record that truly put the Bay Area rockers on the map. They announced The Metallica Blacklist earlier this year. The new project features over fifty covers of songs from The Black Album. Since then, artists have been slowly rolling out their covers. Today, on the thirtieth anniversary of the record’s original release, Chris Stapleton released his cover of “Nothing Else Matters.”
Like all of the other artists on Blacklist, the profits from Chris Stapleton’s contribution will go to a charity of his choosing as well as Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation. That charity is Outlaw State of Kind. So, if you purchase this single or the upcoming album, your money is going to a good cause.
Now, with all of that out of the way, let’s look at Stapleton’s cover of “Nothing Else Matters.”
Chris Stapleton Takes Metallica to the Country
Good covers aren’t easy to pull off. In my opinion, it is a balancing act. The artist has to bring something new to the song to make it interesting. At the same time, they have to stay true to the spirit of the original. A note-for-note cover is boring. You could just listen to the original. On the other hand, a cover that is unrecognizable from the original has to be something really special. Chris Stapleton walked the tightrope on this cover like an absolute pro.
“Nothing Else Matters,” is all about putting your real feelings on display. It’s about taking the big risk of opening up to someone and letting them see who truly are. “Never opened myself this way…” In short, it’s a Metallica track about vulnerability. At the same time, you could see it as a kind of long-distance love song. “So close, no matter how far / Couldn’t be much more from the heart / Forever trust in who we are / And nothing else matters.” Chris Stapleton flawlessly nails the emotion of the song.
However, Chris Stapleton didn’t just put his voice on the track. He made it his own. At the same time, the musical themes of the original are still present. Stapleton infused then with a dark country blues feel that fits his voice like a glove.
One of the cornerstones of Metallica’s sound from its inception until the Black Album was Kirk Hammet’s wah-heavy guitar solos. Chris Stapleton doesn’t skimp on the string-slinging in his cover. In fact, it closes with a nearly 3-minute long guitar solo that is just as bluesy as the rest of the track.
Overall, Chris Stapleton took a classic Metallica tune and turned it into the kind of song that makes you want to close your eyes and let it take you on a journey.
The Metallica Blacklist hits streaming services in September and store shelves in October.